What better way to experience a destination than by appreciation of its flora? The best botanical gardens in the world are treasure troves of natural beauty and wonder and - whether you're a nature enthusiast or a numb thumb - they have the capacity to entertain and educate for hours on end. Want to know where to find some the best on the planet? Read on for our top picks!
Kew Gardens, London
This botanic garden in southwest London houses the largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collection in the world - it would be amiss of us not include it! It's been tended from as early as the 16th century as it slowly developed to its present size of 300 acres with specimens from all over the world. You can discover rare and threatened plants in the world's largest Victorian glasshouse, admire the collections of tropical orchids and ferns or marvel at the giant Amazon water lilies - there's something to see in every corner.
The 'moss garden' of nearby Saiho-ji Temple in Kyoto is famed for its 120 plus different species of moss that carpet the grounds around a large heart-shaped pond. Wander through and take in the subtle changes in colour, the varied textures and the way nature and human landscaping have achieved harmony over 1,200 years. You will have to plan ahead for this one, Saihō-ji strictly limits the number of visitors to maintain the religious atmosphere of the temple and visitors must obtain a reservation by mailing a request at least three weeks in advance - only adding to the mystique of the place!
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town
Nestled against the eastern slopes of Cape Town's Table Mountain you'll find one of the most magical gardens on the planet. Containing over 7,000 species of plants, Kirstenbosch is rich in endemic and indigenous South African flowers, trees and shrubs that will make any plantsman drool. While the garden is spectacular all year round, you’ll see the 'fynbos' at its best from August to November. However, summer has its own charm in the form of the Summer Sunset Concerts every Sunday evening and the open air Galileo Cinema on Wednesday evenings.
Arid Lands Botanic Garden, South Australia
It's only right to include an Aussie garden in this list. To the uninitiated, Australia’s arid heart might seem barren and lifeless when in fact the opposite is true. Our backyard is home to thousands of highly-evolved plant communities that have adapted to thrive in an environment of such extreme temperatures. Located on the shores of Upper Spencer Gulf with spectacular views to the ancient Flinders Ranges, the Arid Lands Botanic Garden showcases the diverse collection of stunning arid zone flora and the birds, reptiles, mammals and insects that call it home. Head to their garden shop and you can purchase plants that are bound to reduce the water bill!
Inspired to visit one of these gorgeous gardens on your next holiday? Get in touch with your local Travellers Choice agent
for booking assistance.