Sheffield Botanical Gardens are situated approximately 1 mile south west of Sheffield City Centre. The site is set on a south - west sloping aspect within a residential area close to local businesses, major hospitals and Sheffield University. The Gardens are located at 120m altitude. The soil is a slightly acid clay loam. These 7.9 hectare (19 acre) gardens were originally designed by Robert Marnock (1800-1889) in the “Gardenesque” style. The Gardens date from 1833 and are grade 2 listed by English Heritage due to the preservation of much of the original design, and the concentration of historical listed buildings and structures. These include the Glass Pavilions that are some of the earliest curvilinear glass structures ever built. The Gardens are also a popular public park, with strong botanical and horticultural interest and open to the public, with free entry, 364 days a year.
A central feature of the Gardens are the sweeping lawns with mature trees which create a setting for the restored linear glass Pavilions. The grand central Broadwalk leading up to the glass Pavilions is framed by colourful herbaceous borders. The splendid Gatehouse entrance arch and Tearooms are complemented by formal Victorian bedding displays.
Initiated in 1833, the Gardens were designed by Robert Marnock for the recreation and education of members of the original Sheffield Botanical & Horticultural Society. The Gardens opened to a paying public in 1836 but by the turn of the century Sheffield Town Trust owned them. The Trust instituted free public access, which still remains today.
A seven-year, £6.69 million, restoration project funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Urban Parks Programme was completed in December 2005. The project has restored the built heritage of the Gardens, regenerated the landscape infrastructure and developed the plant collections
• Curator’s House Restaurant & Tea rooms
• Gatehouse Shop & Information point
• Public Toilets: at the top & bottom of the Gardens
• Class room & demonstration greenhouse: access by appointment: no open public access
• Gatehouse and Main Entrance
• Curators House
• Curvilinear Glass Pavilions
• Fossil Tree
• Bear Pit
• Pan Statue
• Fountain and water features
• Riddle Trail Structures
The key features of the Gardens are surrounded by winding paths and informal plantings which create distinct character zones. The ethos of the regeneration project was the restoration of the key features and the reinstatement of the main open spaces, views and vistas from the late 19th century layout. 15 distinct character areas have been developed. Each of these is unique, and is based on a geographical or botanical theme. Three national collections are hosted by the gardens: Weigela, Diervilla and Sarcococca.
The Gardens are Grade II on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. They contain the highest concentration of, and perhaps the most significant grouping of listed buildings in Sheffield. They are:
Grade II* listed: The Glass Pavilions
Grade II listed: Clarkhouse Road Gatehouse and railings
The Bear Pit
The boundary gates and railings
The gardens has an extensive programme of events which include music, theatre, art shows and Christmas illuminations.
The Friends of the Botanical Gardens also run a programme of talks and lectures throughout the year (see www.fobssheffield.co.uk for details). Please note that the closing time in winter months is 4pm.