Discover the wonderful sub-tropics right here in Britain’s hottest garden. Basking in the warmth of the unique micro-climate of Ventnor Undercliff, uncover the wonder and beauty of Ventnor Botanic Garden. This Awe-inspiring place takes you on a Botanical World Adventure with rare and exotic plants collected and curated into geographically themed gardens. With over 200 plants in bloom 365 days a year and something for all the family don’t miss Britain’s Hottest Garden!
Ventnor Botanic Garden lies at the very heart of a unique micro-climate on the beautiful south coast of the Island. Which on average is 5c warmer than the rest of Great Britain; this literally makes VBG Britain’s Hottest Garden!
The Garden was created in 1972 over a vast span of 22 acres; inside you’ll discover an astonishing array of over 30,000 rare and exotic plant species collected from the furthest corners of the earth. The special, naturally sheltered, south facing location allows the sub-tropical plant collections to thrive outdoors, a feat that very few other gardens in the UK have managed to replicate on such a great scale. Strange and beautiful plants from the fertile valleys of New Zealand to the South American Andes and all that lies in between are waiting for you to discover.
What makes the Garden so unique is the innovative way it is curated, the flora and fauna are left to naturalise and create their very own mini ecosystems, just as they would in the natural world.
There is so much to see, learn and discover at Ventnor Botanic Garden. The whole family and even the dog can enjoy this wonder-filled day out. There’s plenty for children to get involved with, including the ‘HUB’ education centre, with a giant colouring wall, to the specially created children’s trial which encourages the whole family to explore the different gardens and hunt for hidden clues. Learn about the dinosaurs which once roamed the land and be surrounded by the same plants as they once were, on our living fossil trail. Keep an eye out for the many wild lizards which call the Garden home. (that’s right it’s warm enough for lizards!)
Take a wonder through the Isle of Wight’s only working hop yard. The Ventnor Botanic Ale range is created using this very crop, which is picked by hand and brewed locally, infused with fresh cut eucalyptus leaves, if craft beer sparks your interest, speak to a member of the team for a free sample, available in bottles to enjoy on your visit, or to take home with you.
For those of you that cannot resist that perfect picture for your social media, VBG is probably the most Instagramable location on the Island, pick up a ‘secret gardens’ flyer at the gate to snap the best shots and be sure to share them online @hottest_Garden.
Definitely make a day of it and visit the edulis restaurant, a one of a kind plant based dining experience. Straight from the garden to your plate, the majority of the food used in edulis restaurant is grown in the Garden and cut fresh that very same day, forget food miles, edulis is all about food metres!
After a great day exploring the botanical world of plants relax with a coffee and a delicious homemade treat in the Plantation Room Café. Gaze through the beautiful and original Victorian glass windows, or pull up a seat on the terrace, overlooking the entire garden. Have your camera ready for the most remarkable views.
If shopping is your thing, peruse the Puya Boutique, luxury gift ideas, sweet keepsakes, gardening essentials and much more. Be sure to take a note of your favourite plants throughout your day, as the garden centre stocks hundreds of rare and exotic seeds collected by hand from the garden and young plants from the nurseries so you can take a little piece of Ventnor Botanic Garden home with you.
- open daily throughout the year
- generally opens at 10:00 - please check the calendar on the left for specific days and times
- 1 hour before closing time
- parking is included in the ticket entry price, please display your ticket.
- parking without garden entry is £5 all day, please display your ticket (for walkers and coastal explorers)
- there is a wheelchair friendly route around the Garden
- there is no lift available from the Entry level to the lower gardens, however please contact the Gardens as special permissions can be granted to drive to lower levels, but this must be pre-arranged as an escort will be required in high season. Restrictions apply
- disabled toilet facilities
- assistance dogs are welcome
- free entry for accompanying careers
- children aged 5 and under are free of charge
- children under 12 will not be admitted without an adult
- baby changing facilities
- outdoor playground
- children’s trails
- HUB Learning centre
- activity packs available
Food and Drink
- The Plantation Room Cafe is situated at entry level of the Garden and serves hot and cold drinks and light snacks
- Garden Tavern Bar offering drinks and food in the setting of the Fountain Court, a stunning open air dining space in the heart of the Garden.
- edulis Restaurant is located in the lower gardens, serving super fresh cuisine sourced locally and picked fresh from the Garden daily. Open for dinner service and fine dining in summer months. Booking is essential.
- Puya Boutique Shopping
- Garden Gift Range
- Gardener’s attire
- How to create your own botanical Garden guides
- Grown your own tree kit
- Children’s books
- Rare plants and seeds collected from the garden for sale to take home
- Produce crated in the garden (Beers, salts, preserves)
We hope you enjoy your visit and don't forget to tweet a pic
( @RedFunnel @hottestgarden )
Tended by a host of volunteers along with the team of gardeners under Head Gardener Chris Kidd, and supported by an army of over 800 'friends', Ventnor Botanic Garden is a verdant riot of plants from all over the globe.
In summer the Puya plants put on an especially good show with their enormous flower spikes – mostly to be seen in the Westgate Arid Garden that was opened by HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall in 2009.
Some of these flower spikes grow over ten feet tall and have emerald green and paler green flowers in between the spikey bracts. Head Gardener Chris Kidd said "It's a bromeliad in the pineapple family and it will flower well into August."
Also in the arid garden are Aloe Polyphylla, a rare and endangered red databook plant, and these too are in flower in summer. Look for their geometric leaf structures and orange flower spikes.
But it is the Echiums, for which Ventnor Botanic Garden is particularly famous. The Mediterranean Garden is absolutely full of their enormous purple, and sometimes pink and blue flower spears that thrust up to forty feet in the air. "These were introduced to the garden in 1988 from Tenerife and have naturalised ever since," said Chris.
You can see smaller versions of the plants in the gardens at the small nursery around the Temperate House or at the shop. Make sure you also pay a visit to the Temperate glass house as it has a unique deserted mine shaft installation and is full of plants that love its humid, hot environment.
Just below here is the olive grove that has been planted over recent years in a program with a Sicilian nursery - one of the trees is thought to be at least 750 years old.
Stairs from the visitor centre descend to the pretty pond terrace. On the ground floor of the building is the lovely Edulis Restaurant, while at the top of the visitor centre is The Plantation Cafe is the perfect place for a barista coffee or loose leaf tea and slice of cake.
To the east of the pond terrace is the Palm Collection: a survivor from the hospital gardens that has at its centre a palm planted by Queen Victoria. Next as you walk eastwards is the New Zealand Garden, which is frequently used for outdoor theatre and functions in the summer months.
The Hydrangea Dell leads east from here and is a sight to behold in late summer. Tree ferns and the scent of eucalyptus now herald the Australian woodland and scrub bush area that was the brainchild of Chris Kidd and a stunning example of what can be created with a creative imagination. An old coach was buried to produce the high bank that is now planted with 17 different varieties of eucalyptus and below sunken pathways, wooden bridges and ropes give the illusion of a deserted mine.
There is far more to explore than the areas described here: the Japanese gardens, the beautiful borders and semi walled gardens, the vast collection of trees around the grassed park and even the hop garden that is picked to produce Botanical ale brewed by Goddard's. Make sure you don't miss it.
Ventnor Botanic Gardens Address: Undercliff Drive, Ventnor, Isle of Wight, PO38 1UL