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Welcome to the Botanic Garden

Durham University's 10 hectare Botanic Garden is set amongst beautiful mature woodlands on the southern outskirts of Durham city. Open to the public, the Botanic Garden offers a wide variety of landscapes to explore and discover, with guests young and old visiting throughout the year.

Learn more about us

Signs of Autumn

1 October 2019 - 31 October 2019 , 10:00 to 17:00
Botanic Garden

Pick up a leaflet from the Visitor Centre and explore the garden to see what you can discover. This is a self-led activity, and subject to availability of spotter sheets.



Its officially Autumn and the trees are beginning to show their seasonal tints. The summer bedding plants are looking tired now but there is still a good show of colour and its very pleasant sitting on the terrace in front of the visitor center on a sunny afternoon.

Around the garden look out for the Katsura trees, these or on the oriental lawn (map no 37). Lovely golden yellow leaves but it’s the smell that’s the real treat on a warm day, toffee !. Just down past the New Zealand bed (map no 14) the bright red Euonymus alatus is stunning. We have another Euonymus over by the cornfield annual border, this is the European Spindle, Euonymus europaeus, it has good colour too, but it’s the fruits that are particularly interesting. At first the 4 lobed red fruits might look like a flower bud, as they open to reveal orange seeds inside, it’s a really strange combination of colours. Another strange one is a dogwood, Cornus kousa, these have very showy white bracts in summer and have now developed into alien looking fruits, almost like raspberries, you can see some next to the ponds by the woodland garden gazebo (map no 20). There is another interesting dogwood too, Cornus mas, we grow this really for its clusters of green flowers on the bare winter stems, but if you spot the one we have near the steps to the woodland garden you’ll see this year it has some of its fruits, making its common name “Cornelian cherry” obvious. Down in the bamboo grove (map no 30) and towards the entrance of our native woodland (map no 33) you might find some rather odd looking “pop corn” like fruits on the path. These are actually acorns off the Oak trees, the strange shape has been caused by the tiny knopper gall wasp which developed inside the acorn over the summer.

Our Titan Arum (corpse flower) has now died back in the greenhouse (map no8), but already we can see the next new shoot. It takes 7-10 years to flower and ours is only about 6 years old, so this new shoot will be another leaf, bigger than the last, but hopefully not too big for the greenhouse.

The wildflowers around the garden are fading now but there are still lots of insects foraging, especially the single flowered Dahlias by the greenhouse. You can often see hover flies here, at first glance these might look like wasps, but they are totally harmless and just mimic the warning marks that wasps have. We have lots of Salvia flowers around the garden, their tubular flowers often too deep for bees to reach into, but if you look carefully and watch you will see they have made holes at the base of the flower tube and are accessing the nectar that way !

The new 'Fun-gate', the gateway to our native woodland, which was created by local sculptor, Graeme Hopper, and funded by our Friends Of The Garden, waas officially opened by Sir Thomas Allen, Chancellor of the University in September 2019. You can see a video of this opening and more information about it on the Friends of the Garden website here :

The Botanic Garden is open:

10am to 5pm from 1st March to 31st October

10am to 4pm from 1st November to end of February (closed between Christmas and New Year).

We are open on Bank Holidays and Easter Sunday.

Adults £4.00
Concession £3.00
Students/Children (over 5) £1.50
Infants Free


Durham University Campus Card holders Free


From a day out in the fresh air, to Christmas craft activities in our glasshouses, the Botanic Garden offers a variety of activity to keep kids entertained throughout the year.

Find Out More


Book a visit to Durham University Botanic Garden with the 4schools team to explore the Garden and discover more about its fascinating plant-life and natural areas.

View the 4Schools Page