Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Gardens During Lockdown 2

Published on November 16th 2020
Visitors at Chelsea Physic Garden
As the UK headed into lockdown for a second time, life once again changed for a lot of us and we can’t do the things we would ‘normally’ do. But, one thing we can still do is enjoy and connect with nature and great news – certain gardens are remaining open during the four-week lockdown period.
If you’re looking to get outside, here’s everything you need to know about visiting gardens in the UK during lockdown and which ones are still open.
Chelsea Physic Garden
Image credit: Chelsea Physic Garden

What are the rules for visiting gardens during lockdown?

In line with current Government COVID-19 UK restrictions, outdoor public spaces such as public gardens and grounds are permitted to remain open (whether or not you pay to enter them); however, indoor attractions at botanical gardens and landmarks will be closed. These rules are in place until Wednesday 2nd December. Regional restrictions will still apply thereafter.
It’s important to note that you can only meet one other person in a private garden unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble. While you are still able to visit outdoor public spaces and gardens, it is recommended that you reduce the number of journeys you make and minimise the time spent outside your home.
For further information about current restrictions, view the official Government guidance.
Please check each garden’s policy before planning your visit. If you are planning a visit, here are a few gardens that are still open, and a bit of detail into the safety measures they've put in place.

Tatton Park

Japanese Garden, Tatton Park
Image credit: Tatton Park
Set within 1,000 acres of picturesque parkland, Tatton Park offers 50-acres of beautiful award-winning gardens. One of Cheshire’s Gardens of Distinction and the product of almost 300 years of cultivation, the landscaped gardens include the Walled Kitchen Garden, the 100-year-old Japanese Garden and fabulous Pleasure Grounds.
However, things may appear a little different to usual due to the new safety measures implemented at the site; one-way queuing systems and hand sanitising stations have been introduced in addition to pre-bookable entry time slots and increased cleaning regimes. Visitors (unless exempt) are also asked to wear face coverings where appropriate.
Parkland, Tatton Park
Image credit: Tatton Park
Another new addition for 2020 at Tatton are several sites that have been set up to enable visitors to enjoy the Japanese art of Forest Bathing, otherwise known as Shinrin-yoku. Essentially, this is the process of taking in nature through our senses which has been proven to boost our health and wellbeing.
Forest Bathing, Tatton Park
Image credit: Tatton Park
While Father Christmas won’t be making an appearance in late November, Holly’s Festive Feast – a Christmas trail around the Gardens – will go ahead as planned from Saturday 28th November. Families can follow the trail of clues to help Holly the Hare join her woodland friends at the festive feast.
‘Being outdoors and connecting with nature can really help improve people’s mental and physical wellbeing,’ says business development manager at Tatton Park, Carole Hyde, ‘with the Gardens, Parkland and children’s playground remaining open, we’re hoping visitors will make the most of our beautiful outdoor spaces in the next few weeks.’
But, if you can’t make it to the Garden, check out our audio tour of Tatton Park.
Italian Garden in snow, Tatton Park
Image credit: Tatton Park
  • Location: Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6QN (Sat Nav WA16 6SG)
  • Opening times: Gardens are open 10am – 4pm, Tuesday-Sunday; Parkland is open 10am – 5pm, Tuesday-Sunday 26 October 2020 - 27 March 2021
  • Price: Entry to Gardens Adult £8, Child £6, Family £21
  • Facebook & Instagram: @TattonPark
  • Twitter: @tatton_park

Sculpture by the Lakes

Sculpture by the Lakes
Image credit: Simon Gudgeon
Described as ‘an oasis for art lovers and collectors alike,’ this is a Garden with a difference. The serene space, nestled in Dorset’s glorious countryside, offers 26 acres of botanical gardens dotted with inspiring contemporary sculptures. Created by renowned sculptor Simon Gudgeon and his wife Monique on a wintry 2007 day, the Garden is now home to over 30 of Simon’s large sculptures.
As well as impressive sculptures, there are also tremendous Acers, wonderful lakes and around 112 species of birds to see.
The ‘haven of peace and tranquillity’ was created to instil a sense of wellbeing; assisting the mental health of their guests and employees has always been key to Simon and Monique, but even more-so now.
‘People being [indoors all the time] and not seeing anybody can be devastating [for their mental health],’ says Simon.
‘Our lives are very busy all the time and it’s very stressful for a lot of people at the moment, so it’s just nice to find somewhere to relax. We provide the perfect place to do that,’ he adds.
Sculpture by the Lakes
Image credit: Simon Gudgeon
While visitors’ experiences might be slightly different to usual, the Garden is implementing stringent measures to keep the environment safe for guests.
Simon explains: ‘We have a full-time cleaner who regularly cleans the toilets and all of the furniture around the Park.’
Visitor numbers have further been reduced and tickets are pre-bookable online only to ensure social distancing can be maintained.
On arrival, visitors simply have to state their name and don’t even have to come inside, says Simon.
Sculpture by the Lakes
Image credit: Simon Gudgeon
Hoping to buy a unique Christmas present from the huge range of makers and producers showcased in the Artisans’ Bazaar? You still can. While the physical event at The Gallery by the Lakes has been put on hold, it has moved online. A wealth of artefacts and artworks are on sale via their online shop.
During your visit, the team request that you have hand sanitiser with you.
Sculpture by the Lakes
Image credit: Simon Gudgeon
Listen to our audio tour of Sculpture by the Lakes, and book tickets here.
  • Location: Pallington, Dorchester, Dorset DT2 8QU
  • Opening times: 10am-5pm, Tuesday – Saturday
  • Price: Admission is £12.50; due to deep and fast-flowing water, dogs and children under 14 are not permitted
  • Facebook & Instagram: @SculpturebytheLakes
  • Twitter: @SculptureLakes

Ventnor Botanic Garden

Ventnor Botanic Garden
Image credit: Ventnor Botanic Garden
As Britain’s hottest Garden, Ventnor Botanic Garden will certainly offer you a warm welcome. Situated at the heart of the famous ‘Undercliff’ on the Isle of Wight, the 22-acre Garden is protected from the cold northerly winds by chalk downs and sees an average rainfall of 28 inches, meaning its unique microclimate is more akin to the Mediterranean. This enables their collection of over 30,000 rare and sub-tropical plants and trees to thrive, many of which are considered too tender to be grown in much of mainland Britain.
Ventnor Botanic Garden
Image credit: Ventnor Botanic Garden
The plantings are based on geographical regions of the world. Highlights include the Japanese Garden which features the Rice-Paper Plant Tetrapanax papyrifer, the Australian Terraces which are home to Eucalyptus Trees, Bottle Brushes and Tea Trees and the South African Terrace which provides a colourful display that lasts into the very depths of winter. The Tropical House and Heritage Centre are closed throughout lockdown.
Eucalyptus Tree, Ventnor Botanic Garden
Image credit: Ventnor Botanic Garden
The Garden claim wellbeing is at its heart and they offer a unique wellbeing experience such as Tai Chi against the stunning Garden backdrop and outdoor Yoga among the trees in the ‘hope that with every visit you leave feeling inspired, peaceful and centred.’ While these classes are currently cancelled, keep an eye on their wellbeing schedule for events after lockdown.
There is still a variety of unusual activities to do. Follow the Secret Garden Trail or Dinosaur Plant Trail. And, why not return in the summer to follow the Lizard Safari Trail and meet some Wall Lizards in the Arid Garden?
Rice-paper Plant, Ventnor Botanic Garden
Image credit: Ventnor Botanic Garden
Pre-booking your garden entry is not required but is recommended to avoid queues.
  • Location: Undercliff Drive, Ventnor, Isle of Wight, PO38 1UL
  • Opening times: 10am-4pm, daily
  • Price: Adult £9.50, Child £6, Family £25
  • Facebook & Twitter: @HottestGarden
  • Twitter: @hottest_garden

Chelsea Physic Garden

Chelsea Physic Garden
Image credit: Chelsea Physic Garden
Tucked away beside the Thames, Chelsea Physic Garden’s location feels special and secret, offering a retreat from the buzz of the City. Established by 17th Century apothecaries, it is the oldest Botanic Garden in London and is home to roughly 5,000 different medicinal, herbal, edible and useful plants.
Forced to close during the first lockdown, the team are thrilled that they can still welcome guests during the second lockdown and they are doing everything they can to keep everyone safe.
Chelsea Physic Garden
Image credit: Chelsea Physic Garden
Visitor services manager Yvonne Honeyball says: ‘It’s great because there are not many green spaces in our area. People have been really appreciative that we have remained open.’
We are doing regular cleaning of all the public areas and there’s plenty of room for social distancing in the Garden. Everyone is required to wear a mask when they’re inside, she adds.
Chelsea Physic Garden
Image credit: Chelsea Physic Garden
The Glasshouses are shut to the public, but the cafe is still operating a minimal takeaway service.
While the Glasshouses may be closed, there’s still lots to see. The Rosa × odorata 'Bengal Crimson’ flowers almost all year round. Meanwhile, the Gingko is fruiting and producing a powerful scent among the autumn leaves. The Garden is also home to a toxic exploding plant – the Squirting Cucumber Ecballium; the cucumbers grow during the summer and eventually the fruit shoots off the plant to disperse its seeds.
Bengal Crimson, Chelsea Physic Garden
Image credit: Chelsea Physic Garden
Throughout the year, Chelsea Physic Garden has been celebrating the power of plants and food as medicine to help support wellbeing and health.
Yvonne claims realising the benefits of nature and the outdoors is more important than ever right now.
But, you don’t have to go far to reap these benefits. Check out the Garden’s immersive 360-degree images or have a go at their fun quizzes.
  • Location: 66 Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 4HS
  • Opening times: 10am-3pm, Monday to Friday and Sunday
  • Price: Adult £8.50, Concessions £6.50, Family £26
  • Facebook: @chelseaphysicgarden
  • Twitter: @ChelsPhysicGdn
  • Instagram: @chelsea_physic_garden
Chelsea Physic Garden
Image credit: Chelsea Physic Garden

More gardens you can visit

Other gardens that are open during lockdown include:

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