The Bald Hiker, takes a trip to Durham University’s Botanic Garden where he finds beauty, nature and escapism – right in the heart of Durham city.

Botanic Gardens Durham

A feast for the eyes, a feast for the mind. Exactly how I felt taking in the Durham University Botanic Gardens during my weekend break in the City. I took it in as part of a much bigger walk that I shall talk about separately but this place made me pause and slow down and enjoy walking amongst colour and scenery.

Botanic Gardens Durham

Situated near Greys College as part of Durham University it is located away from any hustle and bustle yet not far from the centre at all. An Oasis on the edge of the City of Durham that has lots going for the whole family, young and old. That was truly evident by seeing people of many demographics enjoying the gardens in many differing ways. To learn, to wander, to escape, to play, to socialise.

Bee in the Botanic Gardens Durham

Trees in the Botanic Garden Durham

I took one of the maps on entry and saw the vast array of little gardens to walk through that makes up this Botanic Garden as a whole! Where to go first? I am not the biggest gardener in the world but being as travelled as I have I appreciate the variety and learning. This was like travelling the world of fauna in just a couple of hours. Remarkably done.

Arch in the Botanic Garden Durham

Areas separated by collections, too numerous to list but to give you an idea I started in New Zealand, passed through Australia, then suddenly transported into South Africa and then the Alpines. I was there in September, not the height of Summer by any means but still the vast variety and colour was on offer.

Red flower in the Botanic Garden Durham

For all ages you also have nature trails galore! Bird Hides, Bee hives, monkey puzzles tree and a bug hotel. The gardens are surrounded by a glorious woodland that for those that like to walk a bit further can enjoy in tranquility. In fact throughout the whole garden I found there were so many hidden pathways to take that you were never far away from tranquility to be honest.

Botanic Garden Durham

Botanic Garden Durham

I could not go without mentioning also the Botanic Garden is teeming with artwork of all kinds, that all just fit with their surroundings perfectly. Straight away I was greeted by the Millennium Bug, created by 2 local artists, the kids around were naturally awed by this.

Ant Sculpture Botanic Garden Durham

There are many more pieces all around the garden, you need to go and learn about the backstories, for example  The Vessels of Life, with a huge Indian influence and the importance of water……

Rock sculpture Botanic Garden Durham

Plus this one caught my eye in intrigue and simplicity. An art piece made of oak with numbers displayed all down it?

Botanic Garden Durham

It is called.. Foxglove. And the numbers? Well they are actually a ‘method’ used in composition for bell ringers. Each number places a bell in a different place. This is a piece that is said to show the gardens in both their formal and informal variety. The bells? The clue is in the name, this spot is surrounded by many Foxgloves :)

Botanic Garden Durham

Back near the entrance I took the time to have a coffee from the garden cafe in the sunshine. All was peaceful, all was colourful, and another art piece the Heron, for company, keeping watch!

Botanic Garden Durham

it was time to carry on my walk, but not before making a mental note to visit Durham Botanic Garden again, in another season, for definite!


Durham University Botanic Garden
Botanic Garden
Durham University Botanic Garden

Set in countryside and mature woodland. Plant collections from North America, Himalayas and China, glasshouse rainforest and desert plants. Six Colin Wilbourne sculptures in landscaped garden.



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