20 of the World’s Most Unforgettable Gardens

Whether you love a good dose of the outdoors or are just looking to escape the city, make time for these spectacular works of man and nature.

From ancient palaces with sprawling gardens to modern day futuristic conservatories, the symbiosis of man and nature have undoubtedly created beautiful landscapes and retreats for centuries now. Here’s our round-up of 20 gardens around the world that you will never forget.

1. Perdana Botanical Gardens

Also known as Lake Gardens, this is a lush, green lung in the heart of metropolitan Kuala Lumpur. From an orchid garden to a smattering of Stonehenge replicas, there’s plenty to see here.

Visit the exhibits or watch a show at the National Planetarium. There is also a deer park complete with a lake and a jogging trail. And if you have time to spare, check out the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, the world’s largest covered bird park with over 3,000 birds. Don’t be surprised if you spot some monkeys or reptiles even!

Where: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Admission: Free. Additional fees apply to some attractions. Opens 7am – 8pm daily.
How to get there: The garden is a 15-minute drive away from Fraser Residence Kuala Lumpur. Alternatively, buses B115, B112 and B101 stop a 5-minute walk away.

2. The Butchart Gardens

The Butchart Gardens in British Columbia, Canada
Courtesy of The Butchart Gardens Ltd., Victoria, BC, Canada 

Who knew that a retired limestone quarry would one day become one of the world’s most beautiful and visited gardens? Soon after limestone deposits were exhausted by the Butchart’s cement manufacturing business, Mrs Jennie Butchart started a passion project to transform the quarry. Nine years later, the first of five gardens – the Sunken Garden – was complete.

No two visits here are the same. As the seasons change, so do the activities. In the warmer months, one can enjoy music concerts and fireworks. During Christmas, visitors can look forward to outdoor ice skating.

Where: Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, Canada
Admission: Tickets from C$18.35 (US$14) for adults, varies with season. Opens 9am daily, hours vary with season.
How to get there: The Gardens is 30-minutes away by car, boat or even seaplane from nearby central Victoria.

3. Saiho-ji Temple (Koke-dera)

The idea of a moss-filled temple might bring to mind a derelict, abandoned structure, but the UNESCO World Heritage site is far from neglected – over 120 varieties of moss grow beautifully here, washing the temple grounds in varying shades of green.

Start your journey by sending a snail mail to the temple at least 2 months ahead to secure an entry pass. Once inside, you will be invited to participate in kito, a traditional Buddhist practice of chanting and copying scripture before you explore the gardens.

Where: Kyoto, Japan
Admission: ¥3,000 (US$27). Opening dates and hours vary depending on reservation given.
How to get there: Buses 73 and 83 will take you to Koke-dera/Suzumushi stop. Or hop on the Hankyu Arashiyama subway line to Matsuo Taisha station. Kyoto is easily accessible from Osaka with a 15-minute ride on the Shinkansen high-speedrail.  

4. Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay in Singapore

The widely photographed, futuristic Supertrees are just one of many stunning attractions here. The Gardens is also home to two record-breaking conservatories – the world’s tallest indoor waterfall sits in the Cloud Forest while the Flower Dome is the world’s largest columnless glasshouse – and an aerial skywalk offering stunning views of the Marina Bay skyline amid the Supertrees.

Just before you go, catch the Garden Rhapsody, a nightly 15-minute light and sound show at the Supertree Grove. New themes and choreography are introduced throughout the year so you can be sure each visit will be different.

Where: Singapore
Admission: Entry to the grounds is free. Conservatories at S$15 (US$11) for children, S$28 (US$20) for adults. Additional fees apply for the skywalk. Opens 5am – 2am daily, conservatories operate 9am – 9pm daily.
How to get there: Take the Circle Line on the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) to Bayfront station, or hop onto bus 400 from the CBD. By car, it only takes 10 minutes from Fraser Place Robertson Walk, Singapore.

5. Atatürk Arboretum

Though only a short drive away from central Istanbul, Atatürk Arboretum remains relatively unknown even among locals. Home to over 2,000 plant species from all over the world, it functions as a living laboratory for researchers, scientists, architects and landscapers alike.

Visit in autumn and you’ll be greeted by a stunning landscape of fiery reds, yellows and browns from the oak trees – this will be a view you’ll find hard to forget.

Where: Istanbul, Turkey
Admission: Tickets from 7.5 TL (US$2). Opens 8.30am – 5.30pm daily. Closed Mondays.
How to get there: It takes 30 minutes by car from central Istanbul. Alternatively, buses 42T, 42M and 153 will take you to Bahçeköy, a 10-minute walk away.

6. Dubai Miracle Garden

Dubai Miracle Garden in Dubai, UAE
Image Credit: @hany.rabah

Be awed by extravagant gardening and landscaping at the Dubai Miracle Garden, the world’s largest natural flower garden. It features over 100 million flowers planted into various structures like a giant clock, Rapunzel’s Tower and even an Emirates A380 aircraft – truly a miraculous sight in the middle of the desert!

Where: Dubai, UAE
Admission: AED 30 (US$8) for children, AED 40 (US$11) for adults. The Garden closes in summer (June–Aug) in preparation for the next season.
How to get there: Best accessed by car, the garden is under a 20-minute drive from Fraser Suites Dubai.

7. The Alnwick Garden

In the centre of the Alnwick Garden sits the peculiar Poison Garden. Beyond its black iron gates is an exotic collection of 100 toxic plants specially commissioned by the Duchess of Northumberland for plant and drug education. You’ll want to avoid going too near to any of the plants here – some visitors have reportedly fainted after ignoring the no touching or smelling rule.

Don’t leave without exploring The Treehouse, one of the largest wooden tree houses in the world. It comprises a café, a function room and a bar and restaurant serving up local dishes and innovative cocktails.

Where: Northumberland, England, UK
Admission: £4.72 (US$6) for children, £13.20 (US$17) for adults. Opens 10am – 6pm (29th Mar–31st Oct), 10am – 4pm (5th Nov–28th Mar).
How to get there: Buses from nearby towns and Newcastle are available. Trains also run from Newcastle to Alnmouth in 30 minutes. The garden is then a 20-minute drive away.

8. Lodhi Gardens

Lodhi Gardens in New Delhi, India
Image Credit: @bridget_bale

The two villages here were relocated in 1936, creating the popular garden New Delhi enjoys today. Scattered around the garden are several 15th century monuments like the Shisha Gumbad and the Tomb of Sikandar Lodi, the few remaining well-preserved examples of Hindu and Islamic architecture in India.

Word has it that the Gardens is not only popular with students and yoga enthusiasts, but also politicians and the elite!

Where: New Delhi, India
Admission: Entry is free. Opens 5am – 8pm (Apr–Sep), 6am – 8pm (Oct–Mar).
How to get there: The Gardens is just over 20 minutes away by car from Fraser Suites New Delhi. Alternatively, hop on the metro to Jor Bagh station and take a 15-minute stroll.

9. Dr Neil’s Garden

Also known as Edinburgh’s secret garden, this secluded retreat created by Drs Andrew and Nancy Neil in 1963 gave their patients a tranquil spot to enjoy and keep fit as they were encouraged to tend to the garden. Here you’ll find a large variety of plants, including a mixture of conifers, alpines, magnolias and azaleas.

Be sure to check out the Physic Garden, specially constructed as a memorial to the late couple in 2013. The plants here represent the couple’s various medical interests and areas of expertise.

Where: Edinburgh, Scotland
Admission: Entry is free but donations are welcome. Opens 10am – dusk daily.
How to get there: The garden is a 15-minute drive from Fraser Suites Edinburgh. Alternatively, hop on bus 42 to Duddingston.

10. Villa d’Este

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Villa d’Este is most known for its Italian Renaissance gardens. Don’t be fooled by the humble, nondescript entrance to the 16th-century villa – its gardens feature over 50 fountains and 60 waterfalls!

If you only have time for one fountain, let it be The Fountain of the Organ. First installed in 1571, the 144-pipe organ can play four late-Renaissance music pieces operated entirely by hydraulics.

Where: Tivoli, Italy
Admission: Tickets from €10 (US$12). Opens 8.30am – 7.45pm daily. Closed Mondays.
How to get there: Trains run from Rome’s Tiburtina station to Tivoli in 30 minutes.

11. Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden

Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden in Pattaya, Thailand

Originally intended as a fruit plantation, the founding couple decided to focus on tropical, ornamental plants as a conservation project after purchasing the land in 1954. Today, the Gardens is well-known for its beautifully landscaped gardens inspired by designs from France, Italy and the Stonehenge using a diverse array of plants and flowers, while larger-than-life animal sculptures and pagoda structures dot the landscapes. Daily cultural and elephant performances are also available for visitors.

Where: Pattaya, Thailand
Admission:  ฿300 (US$9) for children, ฿500 (US$15) for adults. Additional fees apply for shows. Opens 8am – 6pm daily.
How to get there: Several trains and buses run from Bangkok to Pattaya central daily.

12. Spirited Garden

Though owner Bum Young Sung started developing the garden from rocky wasteland in 1968, it was not until 27 years later that his garden suddenly gained international popularity after then-president of the People’s Republic of China Jiang Zemin paid the garden a visit.

Today, the garden is home to over 2,000 bonsai trees peppered with artificial waterfalls and several stone structures like ponds, walls and bridges all hand-built by Bum. You might just bump into the man himself as he continues to tend to his garden daily.

Where: Jeju Island, South Korea
Admission: ₩6,000 (US$5) for children, ₩10,000 (US$9) for adults. Opens 8.30am – 6pm (Nov –Mar), 8.30am – 7pm (Apr–Oct).
How to get there: Best accessed by car within Jeju. Flights operate several times daily from Seoul.

13. Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew

Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, London, England
Image Credit: @zegerman1942

One of the most well-loved gardens in Britain, the UNESCO World Heritage Site sees more than 1.35 million visitors every year. It’s easy to see why: From housing over 7 million preserved plant specimens to the recently restored Temperate House, the largest surviving Victorian glass structure in the world, Kew Gardens is a royal record-breaker not to be missed.

You might spot officers from the Kew Constabulary patrolling the gardens. First introduced in 1845 when visitors started swelling in numbers, the Gardens’ own police force continue to possess the same powers and immunities as the main police force of Greater London within the Gardens.

Where: London, England, UK
Admission: £5 (US$7) for children, £17 (US$22) for adults. Opens 10am – 7pm daily.
How to get there: The Gardens is a 5-minute walk from Kew Gardens station, which can be accessed via the District Line on the Tube. Alternatively, take a 15-minute drive from Fraser Suites Queens Gate.

14. Westerpark

Wander west of the urban park and you’ll come across Volkstuinvereniging Sloterdijkermeer and Tuinpark Nut en Genogen, two community gardens with over 600 garden plots in the heart of Amsterdam!

The gardens open to the public from April to October, with a wide variety of lectures, tours, workshops and exhibitions lined up every year. It is also during this time many plot owners retreat to their little summerhouses and cottages here amidst the many plants, trees and flowers they have lovingly cultivated.

Where: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Admission: Free. Open to public every Apr–Oct.
How to get there: Bus 21 from Amsterdam Centraal will take you to Haarlemmerplein stop near the park entrance.

15. Titanic Memorial Garden

Opened on the 100th anniversary of the disaster, this is the only memorial in the world commemorating all 1,512 victims of the RMS Titanic, with each name inscribed on a 9m-long plinth.

The plants here have been carefully selected to reflect related elements to the disaster: white, silver and blues are used to mirror water and ice, while plants that do well in springtime were chosen to reflect the period of the disaster.

Where: Belfast, Ireland
Admission: Free. Opens 7.30am – 7pm daily.
How to get there: The memorial garden is 10-minutes away by foot from Malmaison Belfast.

16. Sanssouci Park

Sanssouci Park in Potsdam, Germany
Image Credit: @agentchampagne

If you need a break from city life, just over an hour away from Berlin is Sanssouci Park. The sprawling grounds surrounds the Sanssouci Palace, the favourite retreat of King Frederick the Great and designed by the King himself.

A focal point of the park is the stunning terraced vineyard that cascades from the palace, where the king has been laid to rest at the top terrace. Don’t be surprised to find potatoes on his grave – he was widely known as the Potato King for his introduction of the crop to Germany.

Where: Potsdam, Germany
Admission: Entry into the park grounds is free. Unlimited day-pass to all palaces and buildings at €19 (US$22). Opens 10am – 6pm (Apr–Oct), 10am – 5pm (Nov–Mar). Closed Mondays.
How to get there: The S-Bahn 7 connects Berlin to Potsdam in 40 minutes. Alternatively, buses 695 or 606 will drop you off at Luisenplatz or Schloss Sanssouci. Alight at the former if you prefer to approach the palace by the front via the terraced vineyards.

17. Claude Monet’s Garden

A visit to Claude Monet’s garden is like walking through a living painting – exactly how Monet envisioned his garden to be. The French painter spent most of his days by the Water Garden, which along with its iconic lilies, is the main subject of his most famous paintings, the Nymphéas.

Over time, Monet developed a unique style of painting with light and mirror reflections from the water being a central element of his works.

Where: Giverny, France
Admission: €10.20 (US$12) for adults. Opens 10am – 6pm daily (Apr–Nov)
How to get there: A 45-minute train ride will take you from Paris into Vernon-Giverny station, a 10-minute car ride away from the garden. Alternatively, 90-minute bus tours are available from Paris.

18. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria at Cranbourne

Have a picnic, go on a trek and even enjoy a barbecue in the suburbs of Melbourne. Native Australian plants are the highlight of the gardens, and a variety of animals including rare and endangered species such as the Australasian Bittern can also be spotted here.

A must visit is the Red Sand Garden, reminiscent of the Australian outback. Best viewed from a height such as the Trig Point Lookout.

Where: Cranbourne, Australia
Admission: Free. Opens 9am – 5pm daily except on Christmas Day.
How to get there: Best accessed by a 55-minute drive from central Melbourne. Trains also run to Cranbourne Station on the Cranbourne line, after which the Gardens is a 10-minute drive away.

19. Summer Palace

Summer Palace in Beijing, China

The largest surviving imperial garden in China, nearly all of the original design and landscaping of the 268-year-old gardens has been completely preserved, so you can be sure you are experiencing the same gardens the royal families from the Qing Dynasty did back in the 18th century.

Take a boat tour to maximise your day on the sprawling grounds. Travel across the magnificent Kunming lake to the front of Longevity Hill, a symmetrically-designed area with many intricate buildings and peaceful gardens to explore.

Where: Beijing, China
Admission: Entry from CN¥20 (US$3), varies with season. Additional fees may apply. Opens 6.30am – 8pm (Apr–Oct), 7am – 7pm (Nov–Mar).
How to get there: Take the Line 4 subway to Beigongmen Station. The palace is a 15-minute walk from there. By car, the palace is about 25-minutes away from Fraser Suites CBD Beijing.

20. Umm Al Emarat Park

One of the largest and oldest parks in the city, the recently renovated park (formerly known as Mushrif Central Park) it is home to a children’s garden complete with wading pools, playgrounds and a petting zoo. Take time to admire the palm trees lining the promenades – over 200 of them were carefully preserved and replanted during the park’s refurbishment.

Aside from enjoying the spacious grounds and greenery, visitors can also look forward to the occasional open-air movie screening, weekend markets and even free yoga sessions.

Where: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Admission: Entry at AED 5 (US$2). Opens 8am – 12am daily.
How to get there: The park is within a 15-minute drive from major attractions like the Abu Dhabi Mall and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Buses run between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in two hours.

Do you enjoy admiring nature’s handiwork? Don’t miss these beautiful flowery destinations that come alive during spring.

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