8 Reasons to Visit the National Botanic Garden
The national botanical garden is a thing of beauty. The perfect combination of science and scenery, they each offer something different for everyone. And perhaps none more so than the National Botanic Garden of Wales, the most visited garden in the country. With wildlife, scientific exploration and over 500 acres to explore, here are our top eight reasons to visit the National Botanic Garden.
1. The Butterfly House
Within the tropical house lies a treasure-trove of exotic butterflies. Housing over 500 species, this steamy glass house is part of the botanical garden’s movement to help conserve natural wildlife. A must-see for any budding lepidopterists – look it up!
2. The Bee Garden
From behind the safety of viewing screens, you can see the approximately half a million bees housed at the impressive bee garden. Honeybees are deeply important to the British countryside, as they are a major pollinator, helping plants to grow and produce food.
If you’re interested in the science behind it all, you can also learn how and why scientists at the National Botanic Garden of Wales are studying the foraging of honeybees.
3. Waun Las National Nature Reserve
Waun Las National Nature Reserve was created with the aim of preserving and reintroducing species native to this area of Wales, and to Britain as a whole. A uniquely submersive experience, you can step back in time and enjoy the diverse plant life that has grown in this area for hundreds of years.
Located adjacent to the Formal Garden, this organic farm with wildflower meadows occupies over 150 hectares of Camarthenshire, and is managed to encourage biodiversity (while being commercially viable). It’s also really beautiful to explore!
4. The British Bird of Prey Centre
With three daily flying displays and an afternoon talk about conservation each day, the British Bird of Prey Centre is not something you want to miss.
Housed within the botanical gardens, visitors get to see the wide variety of British birds of prey and learn about the amazing raptors that make up the natural wildlife of Britain. Some of the stand out birds are the Golden eagles, Red kites and Peregrine falcons. You can even fly the birds yourself at one of their award-winning experience days!
5. Botanical Garden Events
Because the National Botanic Garden of Wales is so focused on conservation of natural wildlife, dogs are not generally allowed in the park. However, if you do want to bring man’s best friend along, they dedicated offer doggy days on the first weekend of the month, as well as every Monday and Friday.
For those of you with young children – why not bring your pre-schoolers to check out Welly Wednesday? Welly Wednesday features an hour of exploring, stories and fun outdoor activities for toddlers. Check the website for dates and times.
Also look out for the Wildlife Wonders in the Garden event. At this event, you’ll spend a day exploring the birds and other wildlife around the botanical garden’s newly opened Llyn Mawr (big lake).
There’s also an upcoming five week beekeeping course, where for five consecutive weeks starting on June 30th, you can learn all about how to look after your very own bees. Visit the botanical garden’s event page to learn more.
6. The Great Glasshouse
The heart of the Wales’ signature botanical garden is The Great Glasshouse – the largest glasshouse in Europe. Within this glass dome, you’ll be transported to different continents without ever having to leave the country.
Its stunning features include a six-metre deep ravine, rock terraces and even indoor waterfalls. Visitors get to see wildlife native to the Mediterranean, Chile and even the Australian bush.
7. Night sky views
The garden as a whole is a designated Dark Sky Discovery Site. This means that it’s part of a nationwide network of accessible places with amazing views of the night sky. Local groups nominate locations as their top local spot to see the stars. That’s right: the views here are so good, they’re literally certified as such!
8. Become a member
With annual passes starting at just £50, why not become a member? Members get free entry.as well as access to coffee mornings, an annual garden party and many varied events throughout the year. You’ll also get the satisfaction of knowing your membership fees go to supporting the charitable fund that helps Wales’ National Botanic Garden to carry out vital research.
If all that wasn’t enough, members get free access to many gardens throughout the UK too! These include: the Living Rainforest in Berkshire, the University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum, The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh and more.
Fancy visiting a different nature-based attraction? Browse our list of must-see country parks and gardens in South Wales. Or, for an alternative educational experience, check out our favourite museums and attractions across the country.