Bristol Botanical Gardens

Bristol Botanical Gardens

Today we visited Bristol University Botanical Gardens with both boys. I really enjoy visiting Botanical gardens with my kids. They often tend to be pushchair friendly and they’re full of interesting things for young children (even if that happens to be the stones, mud and water as much as the plants themselves).

The gardens are located in the Bristol Downs. You can either drive and park there, or walk through the beautiful wide open fields to get there. Entry is £6 for adults. Students and children are free.

The trees, plants and flowers feel full, lively and wild. They have a good mix of foliage – it’s certainly not one of those gardens with a few beds of pretty little flowers.

In one section the plants are separated and labelled according to pollination method. So you can see plants that are pollinated by bee, insect, hummingbird, rodent and even possum!

We went during the bee and pollination festival, so as well as the normal gardens there were lots of activities and stalls around.

We stopped briefly at the wood weaving tent. The staff were there to show you how it was done, but the stall was quite popular, so we didn’t manage to get any instruction. And yes, that was a bit of a disclaimer for the photo I’m about to show you of my terrible, terrible woven bee.

Image of a bee, made out of woven wood. It's not very good!
Well, at least Jack likes it!

In my defence, I had baby in the carrier and a two year old jumping up and down, tugging on my jumper, begging for a bee. On the way out I walked past a very well behaved little girl holding the perfectly crafted bee her dad had made. You can make woven bees with kids? Well, as long as you’re not too picky about the results. Bah.

Another highlight for us was the ‘Evolutionary Dell’ which had plants from the Ordovician Period (488-443 million years ago) through to the Paleogene period (65 million years ago). As you walked through, there were signs with descriptions of the plant and animal life in each period.

Image of foliage, with a man standing in the centre
The Evolutionary dell

There was also a Chinese medicine garden and a glasshouse (it looked like a greenhouse to me, but everyone was calling it a glasshouse).

Image of a circular doorway leading into some gardens
Chinese medicine garden

Inside the glasshouse there were various tropical plants including some fantastic carnivorous plants. These ones were tubes filled with digestive juices with petal-like sections outside to make them look like flowers. Insects would fly in and be caught in the bulb and eaten.

Image of a carnivorous plant. There is a green bulb with what looks like purple fabric spreading out from it.
Carnivorous plant

They also have a pond with Victoria lillies (those are the huge ones that can apparently bear the weight of a newborn baby). Not that I’d ever dare try with one of mine, but it would certainly make a good photo!

Image of lily pads that are around 1 meter across each, in a greenhouse
Victoria lillies

All in all in was one of the better Botanical gardens I’ve been too and well worth a visit.

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