The University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum officially reopened to the public on 22nd June following their temporary closure in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Both sites have introduced a pre-booking system through which visitors can book their time slot in advance to prevent overcrowding and allow for social distancing. However, certain groups are exempt from pre-booking, including: Friends, Annual Pass holders, University of Oxford or Oxford Brookes University students or staff members, registered disabled and carers.

The Garden and Arboretum have also introduced new health and safety measures to ensure the safety of staff and visitors. Hand sanitiser will be available upon entry and exit to the garden, and social distancing markings and signage will be present. Whilst the garden itself will be fully accessible, the shop, toilet facilities, Glasshouses and Herbarium Room will remain closed in the interest of public safety.

Social distancing markings and signage will also be present in the Arboretum, however its toilet facilities and shop will also remain closed. 

The Oxford Botanic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in the UK, and will celebrate its 400th anniversary next year. Last year the site welcomed over 175,000 visitors.

Professor Simon Hiscock, Director of the Botanic Garden and Arboretum, said: “We are thrilled to be able to welcome visitors back to the Botanic Garden and Arboretum.

“Thanks to the hard work of our staff over the last few months, both sites are looking glorious so I would encourage visitors to come to enjoy the experience as we enter summer. Measures are in place to ensure the safety of staff and visitors and we ask that all visitors respect the social distancing guidance.” 

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford also commented on the re-opening, saying: “I am delighted to be here to reopen the Botanic Garden. The Garden and Arboretum are two of Oxford’s treasured resources contributing to research, education, conservation and inspiration,  as well as the simple pleasure of walking through the beautiful grounds. It has never been more important to our mental well-being to have a quiet space to relax, to reflect, and to enjoy the positive effects of nature.”

Further information about visiting can be found here.

Image credit to Jonathan Billinger.

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