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Garden of medicinal plants

The Royal College of Physicians' garden contains over 1,100 plants, all with links to medicine. The myriad stories they tell come from diverse cultures, different countries and from every age in recorded history.

The garden has been beautifully designed and is a wonderfully calm space in the centre of London. The real joy of the garden is in its unique and bespoke collections of plants that offer living examples of the history of medicine from the era of the pyramids of Egypt to today’s life-saving prescription drugs.

[The plants] offer an illuminating window into the history, beliefs and culture of medicine through the ages.

There are also plants whose names commemorate physicians such as Rudbeck, Dahl, Fuchs, Kniphof and Zinn and a descendant of the tree under which Hippocrates taught medical students 2,400 years ago. Many of the plants have no current medical use but they offer an illuminating window into the history, beliefs and culture of medicine through the ages.

Available to buy from the RCP shop, A garden of medicinal plants describes 50 plants from the medicinal garden that are sources of ancient and modern medicines.

For a full list of publications produced by the garden team please click here.

Medicinal Garden lecture series 2024

We hold three lecture afternoons each year. The dates for 2024 are:

  • 12 April
  • 25 July
  • 2 September.

Information about the content for 2024 is not yet available. Please keep an eye on our website for further news. For further enquiries email garden@rcplondon.ac.uk heading your email ‘Garden Lectures’. 

Garden Open Days 2024

We open for the London Open Gardens weekend run by London Gardens Trust charity; the 2024 date is Saturday 8 June, 10am–5pm. Guided tours run throughout the day.

Tickets can be pre-booked via the London Historic Parks & Gardens Trust website.

We also open for the National Gardens Scheme charity. The date for 2024 is 15 July, 11am–4pm. Guided tours will be running throughout the day.

Tickets can be pre-booked via the NGS website

Guided tours will be offered throughout the day on both occasions.

Visiting

Visitors who wish to see the Medicinal Garden on their own are welcome to visit 9am – 5pm weekdays as individuals or in small groups of up to five people. Please note that the garden is occasionally booked for private functions and will not be open to the public on these occasions.

Garden location, accessibility and journey planning information (including transport accessibility) is available on our visiting page.

If you would rather discuss visiting arrangements with staff at the RCP please contact us via email at reception@rcplondon.ac.uk, or by telephone on +44 (0)20 3075 1200 or +44 (0)20 3075 1363.

Follow us on Instagram: @rcp_garden.

Guided tours (booking essential)

Open tours of the Medicinal Garden are given by senior physicians from the RCP on the first Wednesday of the month (April – October). They start at 2pm and run until 3.30pm. To book, please call: +44(0)20 3075 1649 (ask for reception).

For organised groups of six people or more, tours can also be arranged on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between the hours of 11am and 3:30pm.

To enquire about bookings, please email garden@rcp.ac.uk with the subject ‘Garden tour’.

No charge is made for any of these tours. However, donations towards the garden’s upkeep are gratefully received.