Did you know that England has a garden that houses over 1000 deadly plants? It may sound like science fiction, but the Alnwick Poison Garden is exactly that; a garden of plants with the ability to kill you.
Situated at Alnwick Castle, in Northumberland, is the Poison Garden. The plants within are beautifully kept and marked with warning signs, adding to their allure.
Despite the dangers, this poisonous garden is a popular tourist attraction. Visitors are able to get up close to the plants but are not allowed to touch them. The garden is open from April to October, and entry is included in the price of admission to the castle.
Here’s a guide on how you can visit the Poison Garden.
The Poison Garden at Alnwick Castle is one of the most unique and intriguing gardens in all of England. This garden is filled with over 100 species of poisonous plants from all over the world.
It’s a stunning region with stretches of coastline and gorgeous green landscapes. From London, it’s about a 5-hour drive north.
Admission to the garden is included in the price of a ticket to Alnwick Castle. A standard adult ticket costs £19.50 (about $25). This ticket allows you to visit the castle and its grounds anytime from 10 am to 3:45 pm, and you won’t have to leave until 5 pm.
Included in the ±100 plant types that grow in this garden are some that will instantly kill anyone who ingests them.
Others may just cause discomfort if ingested, and some are dangerous even to touch. But there are a small few that release dangerous fumes as well, so you really need to be alert here.
Not to scare you, but many of these plants grow freely across the UK, in the wild, and even in some home gardens. People aren’t always aware of the dangers of these plants, which is why the Poison Garden is actually a fascinating, educational landmark.
Some of the most noteworthy plants in the garden include:
- Monkshood – Also known as wolfsbane, this plant is incredibly dangerous, becoming fatal to those who simply touch it. It’s beautiful, but don’t be tempted to cradle those dainty blue flowers.
- Laburnum tree – This is one of those poisonous plants that is often seen in gardens around the UK. The golden chain, as it is also known, can cause nausea, vomiting, and death if the seeds are ingested. Dogs should not be allowed to play with the branches from this tree either.
- Castor oil plant – Even though we use parts of this plant for castor oil, there are parts that can make you really sick — or even kill you — if they enter your body. The plant contains the toxin ricin, and if it gets into your mouth or eyes it can cause a whole bunch of horrible effects.
- Angel’s Trumpet – Not only can this plant cause hallucinations, paralysis, and memory loss when ingested, but it can be fatal in large doses as well.
So with all those deadly plants just hanging around, is it wise to visit this garden? Will you come out alive?
This fascinating garden full of poisonous plants is safe to visit as long as you follow the rules. There are signs throughout the garden that explain which plants are poisonous and how to stay safe.
There have been reports of people fainting from the fumes of some plants, so just follow the guides’ instructions.
The poisonous plant garden was created as a way of highlighting the dangers of some plants. Many of the plants within the garden are lethal if ingested, and some can kill with just a touch.
As you approach the garden, you’re greeted by two large black steel gates bearing the warning “These Plants Can Kill.”
Its lethal nature is emphasized by the skull and crossbones in between the words. It seems dramatic, but this garden is no place to let your guard down.
However, the garden is run by well-informed people who are able to take you through the collection of plants safely. You’ll get to learn about the plants and their histories, as well as how to identify them.
The Poison Garden is located at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England. The best way to get there is by car. From London, it’s about a 5-hour drive north.
Public transport options are limited, but there are a few trains that go from London to Alnmouth, which is about 3 miles from the castle. From there, you can take a taxi or walk to the castle.
If you’re driving, be aware that parking at the castle is limited. There is a pay-and-display car park near the entrance, but it fills up quickly. You may have to park in one of the town’s public car parks and walk to the castle.
While you could visit the garden in just a day, there’s so much to explore in and around Alnwick that you may just want to make it a weekend trip (or longer). Here are three accommodation options that range in budget types but are all close to the castle.
Alnwick Youth Hostel – This hostel is clean, cozy, and just 600m from Alnwick Castle. It’s a great option if you’re traveling on a budget and also if you’re traveling solo. The hostel used to be a police HQ and jail, so it’s got some interesting history too.
Greycroft B&B – For a more homely stay that’s still within a reasonable budget bracket, try this B&B. Enjoy a hearty breakfast in the morning and come back to your warm private room at night. The gardens here are also amazing, and if you have some time to relax in them, you should.
The Cookie Jar – If you’re all about the splurge for this trip, The Cookie Jar is where you need to stay. Boasting plush beds, rainfall showers, and a resident lounge, this pet-friendly hotel is a noteworthy accommodation. And to seal the hospitable stay, each guest receives a complimentary jar of cookies.
In addition to the Poison Garden, Alnwick Castle has a number of other attractions. There’s plenty to see here, so plan your time well to ensure that you don’t miss out on any of it.
- Bamboo Maze
- Rose Garden
- Grand Cascade
- Serpent’s Garden
- The Treehouse Restaurant & Coffee Shop
- Forgotten Garden Adventure Golf
It’s a good idea to give yourself plenty of time to see the actual castle as well. This castle has stood in the Northumberland landscape for many years and holds a lot of England’s history within its walls.
Harry Potter fans may recognize this as one of the top Harry Potter filming locations. Some activities offered at the castle include broomstick training, Dragon Quest, and archery.
There are also museum rooms and staterooms, as well as trails and talks to keep you entertained for hours.
The best time to visit the Poison Garden is from April to October. The garden is open during castle opening hours, which vary depending on the time of year. Check the castle’s website for exact dates and times.
Be sure to dress for the weather, as the garden is outdoors. Comfortable walking shoes are also a good idea. Cameras are allowed, but tripods are not.
There are a few rules you need to follow when visiting the Poison Garden.
- Don’t touch the plants
- Don’t eat anything in the garden
- Stay on the paths
- Keep an eye on your children
Thankfully, you don’t have to remember all of these rules now, as everyone must go through a safety briefing before entering the poison garden.
England isn’t the only place that boasts a spooky garden full of deadly plants. There is a similar spot in Ireland as well. This is located near Blarney castle and is known as Ireland’s Poison Garden.
Just like Alnwick Poison Garden, this one is full of dangerous and deadly plants. But, it also has a few friendly (and not so deadly) animals like lizards and ducks.
The Alnwick Castle garden is a fascinating place to visit, but it’s important to be respectful of the plants and follow the rules. Here you can learn all about the dangerous plants out in the wild and get some magnificent photos of them too.
Whether you’re an avid botany photographer or simply want to get up close and personal with a few dangerous plants, this garden is definitely worth a visit. Be sure to bring along your best travel gear to help you capture these interesting plants.
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