Birmingham Botanical Gardens: 6 Unmissable Attractions

Since 1832, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens have been one of the prime landmarks in the city – an unmissable one for tourists!

More than a feat of botanical excellence, this West Midland gem holds great memories of Birmingham’s past and continues to serve as a cultural hub where many an event or two takes place. 

Rich with exotic plants and birds, this scenic location is worth visiting if you’re looking for a relaxing day outdoors or just need a quick break during Birmingham museum hopping

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This Article Covers:

6 Must-See Attractions at Birmingham Botanical Gardens

  1. The Glasshouses
  2. The Butterfly House
  3. Famous, Ancient Plants
  4. The Japanese Garden and National Bonsai Collection
  5. Exotic Birds
  6. The Pavilion Tea Room

A Brief History of The Gardens
How to Get To The Gardens
Important Information for Visitors
Other Attractions Nearby

6 Must-See Attractions at Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The 15 acre large botanical garden is situated on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston and has several exciting and whimsical attractions that you won’t want to miss.

1. The Glasshouses

These beautiful transparent structures are home to over a thousand exotic plants. 

Here’s what you’ll see in each glasshouse:

  • Tropical House: Built to replicate the hot and humid climate of lowland equatorial regions, the tropical house features trees, climbers, ferns, herbs, and water plants. 
  • Subtropical House: Also known as the Palm House, this enormous structure houses many large trees, including palms, tree ferns, and a giant bird-of-paradise plant. Here you can also view the only Dicksonia X Lathamii tree fern in the world.  
  • Mediterranean House: Entering this glasshouse is like stepping back in time to a Victorian-era conservatory. Here you’ll see a variety of citrus plants, a Geranium display, colourful hybrids, and wild species from South Africa and Australia. 
  • Arid House: Some of the species you can look forward to seeing in the arid house include high-growing cacti and succulents from Central America, shrubs like mimosa, and bottlebrush.
  • Alpine House: In this glasshouse, you can view a wide range of plants from the world’s mountain ranges, including the award-winning National Cyclamen display.

Opening hours: 

  • Summer:  April-Sept: 10am-6pm
  • Winter: October-March: 10am-5pm

2. The Butterfly House

This exciting attraction is a feast for the senses with bright, beautifully scented, nectar-rich plants and exuberantly coloured butterflies from around the world, including the Philippines and tropical rainforest regions. 

You can watch the butterflies flutter around the glasshouse, between the water feeders and saucers of fruit. If you’re lucky, you may even see butterflies emerging from their cocoons.

It’s no surprise that this attraction is particularly popular among children.

Opening times:

  • Summer months: May-September: 10am-6pm
  • Winter months: Closed 

3. Famous, Ancient Plants

Throughout the year, you can see a wide range of beautiful plants around the flourishing gardens. 

Here are just a few of the most popular and well-known varieties that no plant lover should miss:

  • Cedrus Deodara (Himalayan Cedar): A beautiful exotic tree distinguished by its lively green needles adds a delightful scent to the flourishing gardens. 
  • Dicksonia X Lathamii: This hybrid plant fern species is unique to Birmingham Botanical Gardens and has been a feature at the gardens since 1885.
  • Davidia Involucrata (The Handkerchief Tree): Originating in China, these stunning trees are the highlight of the gardens between May and June when they are in full bloom. 

Opening times: 

  • Summer:  April-Sept: 10am-6pm
  • Winter: October-March: 10am-5pm

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4. The Japanese Garden and National Bonsai Collection

If you’re looking for a place for relaxation and contemplation, look no further than the Japanese garden and national bonsai collection.

The traditional ‘tsubo-niwa’ (garden between buildings) combines several styles and features a bubbling boulder and raked gravel to represent a volcano and the sea.

The Japanese botanic garden leads you to the spectacular collection of 25 bonsai trees. 

Opening times for the Japanese Garden:

  • Summer:  April-Sept: 10am-4pm
  • Winter: October-March: 10am-3pm
  • The botanic garden is closed for prolonged periods during frosty weather. 

5. Exotic Birds

This attraction is perfect for anyone who loves seeing birds in their natural habitat. 

It consists of four domed structures, also known as flight cages. These cages house the following birds:

  • African dome: Here, you’ll see a flock of beautifully coloured Lovebirds. 
  • American dome: Smart and feisty Quaker Parakeets and their enormous communal nest can be seen here. 
  • Asian dome: Bright blue-winged magpies and spectacular Temminckís Tragopans inhabit this dome. 
  • General dome: You’ll see colourful softbill birds flying around, including starlings, white-cheeked turacos, spreo starlings, Himalayan monals, and Mynah birds. 

There’s also a Wetlands area home to a collection of waterfowl and parrots, including the exotic cockatoo and beautiful blue macaw birds.

Opening times:

  • Summer: April-Sept: 10am-4pm 
  • Winter: October-March: 10am-3pm

6. The Pavilion Tea Room 

A day at the historic gardens isn’t complete without a visit to the Pavilion Tea Room, located on the Loudon Terrace. 

Go the extra mile and end your day with a dining experience at this lovely tearoom. Here, you can enjoy a quick afternoon tea or stop for lunch between sightseeing around the massive 15 acre gardens.

During certain times of the year, you may be able to see Wisteria Sinensis in flower, offering a picturesque frame around the main window of the pavilion and around the Loudon Terrace. 

Also, stop at the gift shop, where you’ll find an assortment of plants, seeds, gardening tools, and other souvenirs to remember your trip to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Opening times for the Tearoom:

  • Daily: 10am-4pm 

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A Brief History of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The Birmingham Botanical and Horticultural Society, which manages the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, was founded in 1829.

One of the sites chosen for the botanical garden was Holly Bank Farm, a recreational farm in West Midland, just outside the Birmingham city centre. The farm was managed by a wealthy fire insurance broker on land leased from Lord Calthorpe. 

In June 1832, the garden, designed by J C Loudon, a Scottish garden planner, was opened to members of the horticultural society. This was after three years of planning and construction. 

The current layout is similar to the original plan by J C Loudon, except for the glasshouses. The present range of Terrace Glasshouses replaced the original conservatory in 1884. 

Many plants and seeds were donated by botanic gardens around the United Kingdom and the world. This allowed the gardens to be stocked relatively inexpensively in the beginning. 

Since then, these beautiful gardens have become one of the city’s major social centres hosting flower shows, political meetings, drama festivals, and day trips for children throughout its history. Weddings and special events often take place in the Terrace Suite. 

And the main lawn and bandstand, built in 1873, remain a favourite venue for concerts on most Sundays. 

How to Get There

Here’s how to get to the beautiful gardens from major routes:

  • From the M40: Take M42 West to M5
  • From the M5: Exit at junction 3 and take A456, signposted City Centre. Turn right onto B4129 (Norfolk Road), follow the signposts marked Botanical Gardens.
  • From the M6: Exit at junction 6. Then take A38(M) to Birmingham City Centre. Follow underpasses signposted Birmingham West to A456. At Five Ways island, turn left onto B4217 (Calthorpe Road), turn into Westbourne Road, and follow the signposts for Botanical Gardens.
  • Local Traffic: Follow signs for Edgbaston and then the brown and white tourist signs to Botanical Gardens.
  • By Bus: Take the 23, 24, 1, X8, 9, X10, 12, 12A, 13, 13A, 13B, X21 and 126. These either stop close by or right outside the Garden’s entrance.  
  • By Train
    • Five Ways Station: If you take a train to this station, the gardens are 1.2km away and can be reached within 14-20 minutes of walking. Follow the brown tourist signs.  
    • Birmingham New Street Station: From this station, you can take one of the buses mentioned above or a taxi directly to the gardens.

Important Information for Visitors

Before heading to the historic gardens, here are a few things you should know:

1.  Contact Details

2. Birmingham Botanical Gardens Opening Times

The Gardens are open daily from 10 am (except for Christmas Day and Boxing Day).

  • October to March: The gardens close at 5 pm. 
  • April to September: The gardens close at 6 pm on weekdays and 7 pm on weekends. 

3. Admission Costs

  • Adults: £7.50
  • Children: £5.25 (under 5s are free)
  • Family rate: £22
  • Group rate: £6.50 (per adult)
  • Concessions (senior citizens, students, disabled, helpers): £5.25

4. Are Dogs Allowed into The Gardens?

No pets are allowed into the garden except for guide dogs. 

5.   Can I Bring Food into The Gardens?

Yes, you are welcome to take your own food and enjoy a leisurely picnic on the main lawn or at one of the garden’s other serene locations. 

6. Is There Parking Space Available? 

Yes, parking is available in the car park. You’ll need to register your car on arrival and retain your receipt. 

Parking prices:

  • Visitors (non-members): £2 per car
  • Members: Free parking

Note: If there is no parking space available in the car park, you should be able to find street parking nearby. 

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Other Attractions Nearby

From Broad Street to Summer Row, Birmingham is home to several unmissable tourist sights. Whether you’re a chocolate lover, fine arts enthusiast, or just exploring the city, you’re sure to find some exciting attractions. 

Here are a few of our favourites:

  • Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
  • Lapworth Museum of Geology
  • Winterbourne House and Garden
  • Cadbury World
  • Birmingham Symphony Hall

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts