Top 5 Botanical Gardens in Europe by Rail

A botanical garden can capture your imagination and provide a welcome respite from the bustle of daily life. Whether you’re looking for an Instagram-worthy view or simply want to relax, here are the best ones in Europe.

Founded in 1994, the Tucson Garden Railway Society promotes model railroading and supports community displays. The group’s Western Victorian-era scene has a track length capable of five trains running simultaneously.

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens is an enchanting botanical garden located in south-west London. It is a must-visit for flower lovers and plant enthusiasts. Aside from its eye-catching flora collections, this green sanctuary offers tranquility as you walk through its sprawling grounds.

The park’s main attractions include the Palm House, Princess of Wales Conservatory, and Davies Alpine House. In addition, visitors can learn about the plants of different regions by visiting the various exhibitions in the library and museums.

Some of the exhibits are dedicated to the botanical history of the region, while others showcase the scientific work done in the gardens. For instance, the Herbarium at Kew is home to 7.4 million plant samples from all over the world, and it serves as a vital tool for botanical research and conservation.

The gardens also feature an ancient cycad named Euphorbia charlesii, which was discovered in 1775 and brought to the gardens by plant-hunter Frances Masson during one of Captain Cook’s voyages. The cycad is currently in the Palm House and is considered to be the oldest living plant.

The gardens are best visited in spring and summer when flowers and trees are in their full bloom. Aside from the colorful flora, other attractions at the gardens include the botanical art galleries and a slew of restaurants and cafes. In the Shirley Sherwood Gallery, you can see new wall-mounted works based on 19th century botanical illustrations and a series of genre-pushing artworks by independent artists.


As one of the most famous gardens in Europe, Keukenhof is known for its tulips. The gardens are open between March and May, allowing visitors to stroll through swathes of tulips in every color of the rainbow. Located in the Dutch province of South Holland, it is also home to roses, lilies, and hyacinths.

Founded in 1949, the garden was established to showcase the beauty of spring flowering bulbs and promote the export of Dutch flowers. Today, the gardens attract visitors from all over the world and are considered one of Europe’s most beautiful floral displays.

The park has a variety of different garden styles and features a variety of restaurants with outdoor seating. It is best to visit during the week as it can get quite crowded on the weekends. It is also a good idea to bring plenty of water and snacks as the gardens can be a long day out for children and adults alike.

Getting to Keukenhof is easy as it is easily accessible by public transportation. You can purchase a combination ticket that includes your transportation from Amsterdam and admission to the garden. It is recommended to take this option if you’re traveling with children as it will save you time and money. Also, make sure to bring a good camera as there are many wonderful photo-op spots throughout the park. A tulip bouquet from Annemieke’s Pluktuin is the perfect way to end your trip.

Petrin Gardens

Located on Petrin Hill, just next to Prague Castle, the gardens have been around for centuries and have several different attractions. To get there take a funicular from the street level and when you arrive, you can see the magnificent lookout tower and the Stefanik Observatory as well as other sites such as the Rose Garden and Mirror Maze.

The main feature is the Rose Garden which has over 12,000 blooming roses during the summer, but there are also fruit trees and water plants that add to its beauty. You can see the statues of Rusalka and a water goblin in a pond and enjoy the secluded atmosphere. The pond is surrounded by fortifications and the Petrin Lookout Tower.

This is a beautiful garden in any season and there are many ways to explore it. If you want a challenge, try the Mirror Maze which is an attraction that lets you let your imagination run wild!

You can also walk around and admire the beauty of the gardens – it is a lovely place for a stroll and to relax away from car klaxons. It is usually at its busiest in early May when you can visit the famous statue of Karel Hynek Macha where amorous couples pay tribute to this great Czech romantic poet. There are also other freestanding statues and a few fountains. Other attractions include the Observation Tower, the Seminary Garden and the park at the lookout tower.

Chelsea Physic Garden

Founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries as a place to teach their apprentices about medicinal plants, Chelsea Physic Garden became one of the most important botanical gardens in the world. Today it demonstrates the medicinal, economic and cultural value of plants and offers visitors a glimpse into a plant-based past.

Its location on land formerly used as market gardens explains why the garden still specializes in growing edible plants today. A new ‘Food is Medicine’ trail allows you to discover twenty different plants that can support health and well-being. You can also visit the garden’s cool fern house with exotic tree ferns, or take in the sight of the oldest man-made rock garden in Europe.

A number of the apothecaries who were based at the garden travelled widely collecting plants and information about their healing properties. Sadly, the original owners of this knowledge were often never credited and the garden is dedicated to uncovering more of the hidden histories that lie behind its collections. The garden supports the Nagoya Protocol to ensure that when plant knowledge is used, it is shared with local communities and credited. It is also committed to demonstrating how small changes in soil can have significant effects.

Flanders Fields

There are few train journeys in Europe more powerful than through Flanders Fields, the western corner of Belgium where World War I battles raged on and destroyed villages and cities. Remembrance lives on here in sites like the Menin Gate where the Last Post sounds each evening and the Tyne Cot Memorial and Cemetery (the largest Commonwealth military cemetery in the world). It also lives on in a poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’, written by Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae after his friend was killed at Ypres during the Second Battle of Ypres. The poppies that grow in the region — and around the world — have become an international symbol of remembrance.

The Ypres Salient bore the brunt of the First World War front line between 1914 and 1918. Its trenches and No Man’s Land drew more than a million soldiers from 70 different countries. Many were injured, missing or dead, and the region’s destruction left a lasting indelible scar.

The area has been rebuilt in a style that emphasizes greenery over ruins. The town of Ypres itself is lovely, a medieval center with winding streets lined with boutiques and cafés. It also has an art museum housed in a restored neo-Gothic structure on the market square. Outside Ypres, the eerie landscapes of the Ypres battlefields and the cemeteries evoke the horrors of that conflict.

Montreal Botanical Garden

The Montreal Botanical Garden is a green oasis with more than 22,000 trees and plants. It is a place where locals go to escape city life and enjoy the flowers, swaying treetops, and sounds of birds and insects.

The gardens are broken into sections, including an arboretum, rose garden, pond garden, flowery brook, and more. Some are also devoted to specific cultures, such as the Japanese garden and the First Nations garden, which is the first of its kind in Canada and features native plants that evoke indigenous culture and tradition. Other gardens are a little more quirky, such as the poisonous plant garden that features samples of plants that can kill you, and the economic plants garden that highlights the different uses for the same plant.

Each year, the garden hosts an international horticultural competition called Mosaicultures, where more than 200 talented artists create living sculptures out of flowers and plants. The current exhibit, running until September 29, showcases 48 creations, from a chameleon in motion and orangutans swinging from the trees to a sweeping landscape of Mother Nature at her most serene.

The garden is part of Montreal’s Space for Life museum district, so you can combine a visit with other attractions like watching ants at work at the Insectarium or learning about the universe at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. Tickets to the botanical garden are available with package deals that include admission to these other attractions or can be purchased separately.

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