1 Brookside, Cambridge
01223 336265 / www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
Open: daily, 10:00–18:00 in the summer months
Admission charge: £4 for adults aged 17–60 years; £3.50 for over 60s and students with a recognized student card.
This heritage-listed Botanic Garden was originally conceived by John Henslow, Professor of Botany in the University of Cambridge and mentor of Charles Darwin, whose recommendation secured Darwin’s position on the voyage of the Beagle.
An exhibition entitled ‘Henslow’s Legacy, Darwin’s Inheritance’ explores Henslow’s research on populations and variation here, and how this influenced the intellectual development of Darwin during his Cambridge days. It is on display in the Syndicate Room in Brookside, adjacent to the Main Gate of the Botanic Garden, during opening hours. The Glasshouse Range houses a major display of the plants whose carnivorous habits Darwin so clearly demonstrated in his important 1875 publication Insectivorous Plants. The Botanic Garden still has many of Henslow’s original tree plantings, which display his research concerns with variation, monstrosity, hybridization and the nature of species. An audiotour with the Director, Professor John Parker, is available on the Botanic Garden web site and this can also be downloaded onto MP3 players and iPods.
The plant collection of the Botanic Garden today numbers over 8000 species, with about 3000 under glass. The Garden has a superb collection of trees, many dating from Henslow’s time, across 13 hectares of public displays.