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Monday, 3 June 2013

Glasgow Botanic Gardens

Glasgow Botanic Gardens is located in the West End of Glasgow and set in fantastic parkland and also features several glasshouses, the most notable of which is the stunning Kibble Palace.

This is not the first such Garden located in Glasgow, the first Botanic Garden in the city was founded almost 200 years ago in 1817 by Thomas Hopkirk, a well known Glasgow botanist, and was funded by a number local dignitaries as well as the University of Glasgow. The original garden covered an 8 acre site at Sandyford at the western end of Sauchiehall Street. The first curator and man responsible for laying out the grounds of that original garden was Stewart Murray and the initial collection was started with plants that had been donated by Hopkirk. However space was limited and by 1839 the Garden had grown both in terms of plants and public interest to such a size that a new site was founded to the west of the city on the banks of the River Kelvin. The new Gardens opened in 1842 to members of the Royal Botanic Institution of Glasgow who owned the Botanic Garden.

At the heart of the garden and one of its iconic structures is the Kibble Palace, a fantastic 19th century glasshouse that covers over 2000 square meters built in 1873. This was subject to a major restoration and replanting scheme completed in 2006 to return it to its Victorian grandeur.


You initially see the glasshouse from outside the Botanic Gardens on the road that runs around one edge of the park, even from outside it is a breathtaking building. The main part of the Glasshouse is a large circular structure roughly the size of a football pitch across and is made up of a Victorian cast iron framework of a perfect regular design. The central tower rises up in the middle and a series of evenly distributed spindles splays out, across and down from it. Annexed to this structure are two smaller houses, one contains a fascinating collection of insectivorous plants and the other an interesting collection of Mediterranean plants.

The roof has an amazing, almost organic quality about it. This design really has stood the test of time. It is amazing to thing this was designed way back in the 1860's and 70's.



The central area is full of Dicksonia antartica



Getting There
The Botanic Gardens are located within an easy reach of Glasgow City Centre. With the nearest Underground stop being Hillhead about a five minute walk away.

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From further afield
Glasgow is well connected to the rest of the UK with good road, rail and air connections. As there is lots to do in Glasgow it is well worth considering staying for a long weekend. In which case the Holiday Inn at Glasgow Airport is a convenient base.

Opening Times 
The Gardens are open 7 am to dusk all year, with the glasshouses open 10am – 6pm (4.15 winter) with free entry to all areas of the Gardens and Glasshouses.

For more information see the Glasgow Botanic Gardens website.

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