great places to visit off the beaten path.
The Garden Museum was created to celebrate the design, history and art of gardens. The Museum was initially set up in 1977 in order to rescue from demolition the abandoned ancient church of St Mary-at-Lambeth. The museum’s garden was created in 1980 with a knot design and 17th Century focus since the garden also houses the tomb of the great plant-hunters, gardeners and collectors, John Tradescant the Elder (c.1570-1638) and Younger (1608-1662), the rediscovery of which originally inspired the creation of a museum of garden history in the deconsecrated, and then derelict, church. Garden species planted represent those 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.
In 2008 the interior of the church 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.
The garden and museum is open 10:30-5 daily (4pm Sat). Some mondays closed. Admission charges apply. Check website for more details and exhibition info: http://www.gardenmuseum.org.uk
In addition there is a shop and cafe. The shop offers gifts related to gardening, including tools, preserves, soaps, books and bags. Items related to current and past exhibits are also generally available. Most items are UK sourced.
The Garden Café offers freshly baked produce, some using garden ingredients. A vegetarian (and often vegan) lunch menu is served from 12-3pm and changes daily according to what is in season. Barista style coffee and garden inspired cakes are served from 10.30am-5pm (4pm on Saturday). Wine, beer and cider is also available (all English).
Located at: Lambeth Palace Rd, London SE1 7LB
Closest tube: Lambeth North or Westminster