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“A little gem” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Garden Museum

Garden Museum
Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7LB, England
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Ranked #833 of 2,327 things to do in London
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Owner description: The Museum was set up in 1977 in order to rescue from demolition the abandoned ancient church of St Mary’s which is the burial place of John Tradescant (c1570 – 1638), the first great gardener and plant-hunter in British history. His magnificent and enigmatic tomb is the centrepiece of a knot garden planted with the flowers which grew in his London garden four centuries ago.In 2008 the interior was transformed into a centre for exhibitions and events by the construction of contemporary gallery spaces. Three exhibitions each year explore the making of British gardens, and a programme of over 30 talks and interviews celebrates heroes and heroines from the forgotten plant-hunters and gardeners of the past to the designers and writers in fashion today. Visitors will also see a permanent display of paintings, tools, ephemera and historic artefacts: a glimpse into the uniquely British love affair with gardens.The Museum’s garden was created in 1980. At its heart is a knot garden designed by the Museum’s President, The Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury (who was then also re-making the gardens at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire). The reason for the seventeenth-century spirit of the design is that our garden also houses the tomb of the great plant-hunters, gardeners and collectors, John Tradescant the Elder and Younger, the rediscovery of which originally inspired the creation of a museum of garden history in the deconsecrated, and then derelict, church of St Mary-at-Lambeth. The knot garden and its surrounds are planted with species introduced by the Tradescants - such as the scarlet runner bean, red maple and tulip tree - and many others grown by them in their Lambeth garden. It is not only historically significant but also a lush and beautiful spot in the centre of London, cared for by a small horticultural team of staff and volunteers.
20 reviews 20 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“A little gem”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2013

Well worth a visit a little bit of tranquility in central london. Please don't eat before you go,the cafe is wonderful!

Visited August 2013
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79 reviews from our community

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Top Contributor
255 reviews 255 reviews
117 attraction reviews
Reviews in 73 cities Reviews in 73 cities
107 helpful votes 107 helpful votes
“Fun and off the usual tourist path”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2013

Garden houses the graves of the Tradescants--Sr and Jr--who were famous gardeners. Jr went to America and almost died in Virginia. Both were collectors--which founded the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. So the garden is quaint and the garden tools exhibit is fun. The cafe was a wonderful surprise--and the St. Peter's Bitter Ale--my new favorite.

Visited September 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Great museum. One of London's GEMS”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2013

I had a birthday tea party at the Museum on Saturday. I visit the Museum regularly and love their cakes as well as the Museum's content. We all had a fun time on Saturday, ate lots of cake, scones and tarts. We all left with full bellies and everyone enjoyed the food, and the museum. The staff are lovely and looked after us. All of us will be back for more cake and to explore the museum.

Visited September 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coventry, United Kingdom
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Not really very good at all”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2013

The impression I gained of the place was that is was run by some very well-meaning people that don't know very much about the history of gardening. While the people we met were consistently friendly the museum itself is very small and missing any coherent commentary about the items within it: instead it is just a collection of old tools, magazines, photographs and toys jumbled together in display cases.

It could be made into a good museum with a lot of more items, some planning of the exhibition space and some really directed thought into what the museum is trying to represent or convey - but currently it just isn't good enough for the entry charge.

It also really needs a decent-sized garden outside, and the space there is just too small as well. There is the opportunity in the UK for an excellent museum about gardening techniques and history but this museum isn't it.

Visited August 2013
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17 reviews 17 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“What a shame”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2013

We are keen gardeners and were looking forward to seeing the Garden Museum. We left feeling quite irate at the total waste of a good opportunity.
The historical exhibition was poor.
But, as for the garden, we could not believe that we were being charged to see this untidy mess. There were plenty of volunteer workers milling about and chatting by the reception desk - why did none of them think of doing some gardening? Have any of them ever bothered to walk as far as the garden? It's so small that all it needs is a couple of people working for as little as an hour each week. Knot gardens need to be carefully trimmed. An easy job.
There were labels for plants that were obviously long gone - dead from lack of care we presumed. Other dead plants should have been weeded out but remained there. There were two dying sage bushes in terracotta pots - dying from lack of watering. etc. etc.
How could this have been allowed to happen? Do none of the volunteers care? Don't they feel any shame charging people a lot of money to see a messy garden and a poor exhibition? This is suppose to be a GARDEN museum but no one there seems to like gardening.
Sorry about the rant - but we felt quite strongly about it.
Oh - and while I'm ranting! The loo was FILTHY. Another job the volunteers don't fancy.

Visited August 2013
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