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Garden Museum

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  • Travel to the home of British gardening, and learn all about how gardens as we know them today came to be.
  • Explore the Church of St Mary, and view the resting place of one of the most famous gardeners in the United Kingdom, John Tradescant.
  • Wander around the beautiful Sackler Courtyard Garden, as well as the cutting garden outside the museum.
  • Enjoy a bite to eat at the award winning Garden Cafe, with seasonal produce as well as homemade cakes.

Whether you're green fingered or have little gardeners in the family, a day out at the Garden Museum next to Lambeth Palace is the perfect way to introduce kids to the world of nature. Located right next to some of London's most famous and historical landmarks, a trip to the Garden Museum Lambeth is a fantastic way to carve out a little slice of countryside in the centre of the capital.

Unusually for this type of museum, the Garden Museum itself is housed within the old medieval building of St Mary's church, which was saved from abandonment by Rosemary Nicholson and her husband John in the '70s, and transformed into a gardener's paradise. Since the Museum is the site of the remains of famous 17th century gardener John Tradescant, who is thought to be responsible for British gardens as we know them, the church of St Mary makes a fitting place for the Garden Museum. The Museum itself has seen many refurbishments and expansions through the years, and is some to some truly fascinating artefacts, records and gardening memorabilia from centuries gone by.

Unlike many South London museums, however, the Garden Museum in Lambeth also has a selection of beautiful gardens to explore. While the location of the museum, Lambeth Palace Road, isn't necessarily a place you would expect to find a garden in London, with its fast paced cosmopolitan vibe, simply step inside to explore a selection of idyllic gardens. Some are waiting to be discovered in hidden corners, and others are open to the city, with a brilliant contrast to the London skyline in the background. The Sackler Courtyard Garden, nestled in the centre of the Garden Museum, is home to a variety of plants and is the ideal place to check out some rare plants, enjoy a moment of peace and even have a look at the final resting place of the Tradescants as you learn about their legacy. There is also a 'Silent Space' time here every Friday afternoon, in which visitors are encouraged to switch off their phone and enjoy the garden quietly with no distractions. Head to the front of the Garden Museum to have a look at the Front Gardens, designed by Christopher Bradley-Hole, which look out over some of London's most famous landmarks. From here you can also explore St Mary's garden, which functions as a cutting garden and is maintained by museum volunteers.

Having shown exhibitions of gardens from all across the world, including that of film director Derek Jarman amongst others, the Garden Museum is a place where nature and art go hand in hand. As well as the collections, which feature much of this work, you can also peruse the archives and even catch a film. There are also lots of great things to do as a family, with lots of Garden Museum events on year-round, and plenty of activities aimed at helping kids learn and explore. When you arrive, kids can pick up an activity sheet for free, which they can complete as they explore the museum. There are also lots of interactive exhibits around the museum, as well as a reading area that has special books for kids. You can download some great family activity sheets to complete at home from the website, to keep the gardening adventure going. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for workshops and events at the Garden Museum, which often involve plant and nature themed arts and crafts, as well as DIY and educational sessions.

For some refreshment on your trip to the Garden Museum, the Garden Cafe is a favourite spot for locals and visitors alike, with seasonal restaurant quality lunch options, as well as lovely homemade cakes. The Cafe is so popular you can actually check out the award winning menu for dinner on Fridays too. If you'd prefer to bring a picnic on your trip, you'll find plenty of places to sit and enjoy your lunch nearby, with a view over the River Thames. Alternatively, there are plenty of food options if you want to explore the local area a little more, with pubs, restaurants and cafes nearby.

To continue the London adventure, make sure to check out Lambeth Palace, the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, which is adjacent to the Garden Museum. Just a short walk away up the river you'll also find the Florence Nightingale Museum, which is perfect for those with an interest in history. Or, to carry on with the gardening theme on your day out, just half an hour away on public transport is the beautiful Kensington Gardens.

What to know before you go

  • The Garden Museum opening times are from 10.30am-5pm daily. The Garden Cafe is also open from 10.20am-5pm, and serves lunch between 12pm and 3pm. You can also head there for dinner on Friday evenings from 6pm - 9pm.
  • There are baby changing facilities available, as well as accessible toilets on site.
  • There is a community access scheme which allows some free access to the museum, otherwise ticket prices vary, with children under the age of 6 entering free.
  • Dogs are not allowed in the museum or gardens, but assistance dogs are welcome.

Getting there

  • The easiest way to get to The Garden Museum is via public transport. If travelling by car, you can find parking on Lambeth High Street, which is free on Sundays. You can also check for NCP parking here.
  • The nearest train station is Lambeth North tube station, which sits on the Bakerloo line. From here you can get into central London in a matter of minutes.
  • There are also plenty of buses that travel down Lambeth Palace Road past the Garden Museum, including the C10, 507, 77 and 360.
  • If heading from Southbank and the main tourist spots, the Museum is just a 15 minute walk down the River Thames from the London Eye.
  • You can also get to the Museum by bike, with racks available on site.

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