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Discover the Oldest Garden in London | Westminster Abbey Gardens

The Westminster Abbey gardens are thought to be one of the oldest garden areas in Westminster, dating back to the 12th century. Initially created to grow food, today, the garden is a spread of green, bordered by the abbey, and a place for people to gather and relax. Here's everything you need to know about the stunning gardens at Westminster Abbey.

What are Westminster Abbey gardens?

westminster abbey garden

Quick facts about Westminster Abbey gardens

Official name: College Garden

Address: Great Peter House, Abbey Gardens, 2 Great College St, London SW1P 3SE, United Kingdom

Date of creation: Herbarium was first set up in 1306

Timings: 10am to 4pm from Monday to Friday

Number of visitors per year: Approximately 6 million guests

Function: Peaceful sanctuary and event space

Why visit Westminster Abbey gardens?

  • Stroll in the centuries-old garden: Dating back over 900 years, these gardens are among Westminster's oldest green spaces. You can immerse yourself in the historic tranquility preserved here through the centuries.
  • Learn about the Abbey's horticultural past: Originally cultivated to sustain resident monks with food and medicinal herbs, the Abbey's gardens offer a fascinating insight into their vital agricultural role in monastic life.
  • Appreciate the gardens' architectural features: Explore the historic stone wall built in 1376 and the 18th-century dormitory within the gardens, each adding a layer of architectural intrigue to your visit.
  • Enjoy a peaceful respite from your regular life: Nestled in the heart of bustling London, these gardens provide a serene oasis where you can relax, unwind, and momentarily escape urban life.

Highlights of Westminster Abbey gardens

The College Garden at Westminster Abbey has many different kinds of trees within its walls, the most important of which is the London Plane tree, which was planted in the 1850s near the Westminster School dormitory. There is a high stone wall that was built here in 1376. You can access the 18th-century dormitory that was made for Westminster School on the west side. There are two smaller gardens at Westminster Abbey:

westminster abbey gardens

Little Cloister Garden

This little garden was initially designed as a relaxing area for those in recuperation after illness. It has a Victorian fountain and scented plants that border the garden that allows you to let go and feel connected to nature. From here, you can also see the ruins of the 12th century St Catherine's chapel and its small private garden. 

westminster abbey garden

Garth

Garth is a lawn that surrounds the cloisters. These gardens were preferred by the monks for quiet reflection. With the cloisters being the center for monastic life, the Garth allowed monks to soak in the sun while they remained protected from the winds. 

High stone wall

Constructed in 1376, the high stone wall in Westminster Abbey's gardens is the oldest surviving feature. It marks the historic boundary of Thorney Island and the Abbey Precinct. This robust structure originally delineated and protected the monastic complex, offering a tangible link to the Abbey's medieval origins.

The Crucifixion bronze sculpture

Enzo Plazzotta's bronze sculpture, "The Crucifixion," installed beyond the fountain at Westminster Abbey College Gardens in 1974, captures Christ's poignant sacrifice. Cast posthumously in Tuscany, this life-size depiction shows Christ with outstretched arms between two thieves, symbolizing victory and redemption. 

Events at Westminster Abbey gardens

You can also book the Westminster Abbey gardens for occasions of your own. Every summer, the abbey constructs a glass marquee and a decked porch area that is perfect for galas, receptions or even corporate conferences. During the off-season from August to May, the College Garden can be booked for one event every month and you can also decorate the venue however you like. 

Plan your visit to Westminster Abbey gardens

Timings
Location

Opening hours: 10am to 4 pm from Monday to Friday

Closed on: Weekends

Best time to visit: The months of summer, especially June and July, are the best time to check out the beautiful gardens at Westminster Abbey

Address: Great Peter House, Abbey Gardens, 2 Great College St, London SW1P 3SE, United Kingdom

Find on Maps

The College Gardens at Westminster Abbey are nestled within the Abbey's precincts in central London, offering a tranquil retreat amid the city's bustling environment.

Closest landmark: Jewel Tower (0.16 km)




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Frequently asked questions about Westminster Abbey Gardens

How old are Westminster Abbey Gardens?

Dating back to 12th century, Westminster Abbey's Gardens are more than 900 years old.

How many gardens does Westminster Abbey have?

The College Gardens is the main garden at Westminster Abbey. Apart from that, there are two smaller gardens called the Garth and the Little Cloister Garden.

Can I visit Westminster Abbey Gardens?

Yes, whenever you visit Westminster Abbey, you can explore the gardens as well.

Do I need to buy a ticket to visit Westminster Abbey's Gardens?

You don't have to buy a ticket to view the gardens at Westminster Abbey. You can explore it for free whenever you visit the abbey.

Can I host events at Westminster Abbey Gardens?

Yes, you can book Westminster Abbey Gardens for events, both during the summer and the off-season.

What is the significance of the high stone wall in the College Gardens?

Built in 1376, the high stone wall is the oldest surviving feature of the gardens. It historically secured and delineated the Abbey’s monastic boundaries.

What types of plants can be found in the College Gardens?

The gardens house a variety of plants, including medicinal herbs, ornamental plantings, flowering plants like roses, and several old London plane trees, reflecting the garden's monastic origins.

Are there any sculptures in the College Gardens?

Yes, the College Gardens at Westminster Abbey feature notable sculptures, including four giant statues carved by Arnold Quellin in 1685. Originally part of an altarpiece by Sir Christopher Wren, these statues depicting saints were moved from the high altar to the garden and are preserved in the Abbey's triforium.