This 300-acre garden has been developed over the centuries by many visionary scientists, gardeners and collectors. At this UNESCO World Heritage site, with more than 90 attractions to visit, it’s hard to decide where to start – but the star attractions are the new Board Walk Borders, the Victorian Palm House, the Princess of Wales Conservatory and the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art – the first in the world dedicated to the subject. Open daily, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, 9.30am-4.15pm. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB
This four-and-a-half-acre botanical garden is the first new botanical garden to be created in the UK for nearly 40 years. It is home to 4,500 species of plants, which are arranged into four collections: evolution, Mediterranean, local flora and rare natives, and useful plants. You will find many exotics on display in the large glasshouses, such as cacti and carnivorous plants. Open all year round.
University of Bristol Botanic Garden, Hollybush Lane, Stoke Bishop BS9 1JB
This almost five-acre botanic garden is affiliated with one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Its indoor glasshouses (covering 600m2) – one built more than 300 years ago – are still full of unusual and exotic plants today. With 5,000 different plant species and year-round interest, Oxford Botanic is one not to miss. Open daily, except Christmas Eve and Day. Check website for opening times.
The University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Rose Lane, Oxford OX1 4AZ