Pocket Britain
Britain > North England > York > York Museum Gardens

Beautiful gardens containing many historic buildings

Listen to this article


Beautiful Gardens

Photo Thunderchild tm
Yorkshire Museum is surrounded by a 10-acre botanical garden, full of beautiful plantlife, and historical buildings. Since its opening in 1835, it has been a popular retreat from the city, drawing in half a million visitors a year.

Yorkshire Museum
The Museum itself is the largest and most impressive structure here, dominating the space with it's tall columns. But for many years, the entire space belonged to St. Mary's Abbey, which now lies next door to the museum, in ruins. It's hard to tell that this was once home to some of the most powerful and respected monks and abbots in the country. Despite the building's slide into disrepair, the surrounding walls are still the most complete set left in the country. Several of St. Mary's other buildings are still standing too, such as the nearby Hospitium, which is still used for weddings and conferences today.

St Mary's Abbey

The Hospitium
Other buildings in the garden include the museum's observatory, and St. Leonard's hospital, which was once the largest in England. The oldest structures are the Roman walls and towers, which date from around 70AD - nearly two millenia ago! The main section of these remains is the Multangular Tower - named for its unusual 10-sided design. It has three floors, and used to house a giant catapult! The tower and walls were still being used in conflicts as recent as the Civil War in the 1640s - and actually, if you look just past the tower, you can still see a hole made by a 17th century cannonball.

Multangular Tower
Of course, nowadays everything is a lot more peaceful. The calm, quiet gardens were designed by a master landscape architect called Sir John Murray Naysmith, who filled the place up with rare and exotic plants. There are over 4500 different species here, some of which were imported from abroad. There are also many different species of animals living here - although in years past, there were much more. In fact, there was an entire menagerie here, containing all sorts of animals not usually found in Yorkshire. Unfortunately, this had to be removed after a bear escaped, and ran riot through the area.
In modern times, the gardens are endlessly popular with the public, for walks, for picnics, or just for relaxing. There are also regular events held here, such as musical performances, or theatre. Performances such as these have been taking place for decades now - in the 50s Yorkshire's own Dame Judi Dench performed here, and in the 70s the area saw performances from bands such as Roxy Music. More recently, in the 21st century the Museum Gardens have hosted a Viking festival as well as the celebrations for the Chinese New Year.
In fact, it's probably true to say that there's just as much going on outside the Yorkshire Museum as there is inside!
Visitor Information
The Museum Gardens are open daily 8am to 8pm (winter 8am to 5.30pm) . Entry is FREE.

Back ~ Top ~ Home ~ Index

Pocket Britain is optimised for use on a smartphone or tablet with internet access. All content is subject to copyright. All reasonable methods have been used to ensure information supplied is accurate at the time of publication. However, it is advisable to check information before relying on it. Privacy Policy