London Museum Visit: Garden Museum. Celebrating British gardens and gardening, this is a must visit for horticultural enthusiasts. If you’re looking for unusual museums in London or things to do in Lambeth, you should explore the glorious Garden Museum.
Explore The Garden Museum
This delightful Museum was founded by Rosemary and John Nicholson in 1977. It is set within St Mary’s Church which was abandoned, and about to be demolished. The Nicholson’s traced the tombs of two 17th century gardeners and plant hunters to the churchyard – John Tradescant the Elder and the Younger (his son). This inspired the Garden Museum which helped to save the church.
St Mary’s is a Medieval and Victorian church. You can admire the beautiful architecture, stained glass windows and vaulted ceilings as you explore the exhibits. You’ll discover that in the late 19th century private gardens were a place to play games including croquet and lawn tennis. See the gardening tools and implements used in the past and examine garden design plans. Learn how gardening started as a recognised profession. View artist impressions of plants and gardens. There is a mix of permanent and temporary exhibitions within the space.
Make sure you visit the tranquil courtyard garden which was designed by Dan Pearson with planting surrounding the ancient tombs. The courtyard is located towards the back of the museum and to the side of the café.
Courtyard Garden and Tomb
Don’t forget to stop off at the shop. They have some delightful garden orientated gifts. Treat yourself to gardening books, greeting cards, stationery, seed collecting envelopes, botanical tea leaves and branded tote bags.
The ticket price also allows you to walk up the tower. The stair case is narrow with small steep steps and a rope hand rail. It is okay if you take your time and don’t have a rucksack or bag to carry. If people are trying to come down the stairs as you are going up it is a bit tight. Don’t go up if you have any difficulties with walking or your balance. If you do venture up, you will be rewarded with lovely views.
Garden Museum Cafe
After you’ve been to the Museum you can stop off at the Garden Café. You can book lunch from 12-3pm each day except Saturday which is 12-2pm. Or you can stop there for dinner Tuesday to Friday 6-9pm. The menu is concise presenting three courses. Expect something delicious along the lines of Breaded Skate with Tartare Sauce, Lamb Chops with Girolles and Peas followed by a Gooseberry and Raspberry Trifle.
Tea and Cake at the Cafe
A portion of the café is for dining, while another is available for tea and cake. I enjoyed a piece of Banana Bread with a pot of tea. There are a few tables and chairs outside which a lovely place is to sit in the summer.
Garden Museum Information
For more information visit the Garden Museum Website. The address is 5 Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7LB. You will find it next to Lambeth Palace opposite The Houses of Parliament. It is right near the River Thames so you can stroll along the banks afterwards. The closest stations are Vauxhall, Westminster and Lambeth North. The opening hours are 10.30-5pm Sunday to Friday and 10.30am-4pm on Saturday. They are closed the first Monday of every month.
The price is £10 (to view the museum and tower) for adults with concessions for seniors, students and families. It is free for kids under 6 years old. If you just want to walk up the tower it is £3 for adults, free for anyone under the age of 18.
St Mary’s Gardens
St Mary’s Gardens is a pretty green space with trees, shrubs, plants and flowers. There are benches to sit down on and a fountain in the middle. It’s a wonderful spot to stop off at if you are passing by. Enjoy your visit.
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London.