About Us

Discover the power of plants for health, medicine, and for the mind.  Wander up a country lane in a panoramic stretch of Northumberland to find a uniquely peaceful garden nestled on the banks of a winding river.  Not only do visitors say its natural design has a remarkably soothing effect on the mind, but science is showing that certain plants clinically calm, relieve pain, insomnia and depression and boost mood and memory.

Dilston Physic Garden has a distinct 21st century character, a physic garden steeped in the history of medicinal plants , but also in the modern science of how they work as medicines today. Wander winding pathways to discover over 800 medicinal plants with a focus on those for the brain – Dilston was established in the 1990’s because of the team’s scientific research showing sage and other European herbs enhance memory. Beside each plant read the traditional herbal medical use, morsels of folklore and magic, the science of what they do, the clinical evidence and discover medical drugs from plants.  Many visitors, especially children, like the folklore and magic better than the science.

Dilston Physic Garden also embraces the beauty and importance of medicinal plants and embraces organic growing methods.  Many plants contain a host of chemicals that can have a powerful effects when introduced into the body. Cutting edge drugs derived from plants are used by doctors, and whole plant extracts are used by medical herbalists worldwide to treat human ailments. Plant ingredients also promote health and act as preventative medicines – many are antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting and anti-cancer. To take part in our next ‘Plants For Memory’ trial email info@dilstonphysicgarden.com.

Opening Times

RE-OPENS WEDNESDAY 7th MARCH for 2018 season

Winter Season Opening – October to March

(Note: we are not open when the temperature is on or below zero oC and please bring suitable footwear for the muddy lane!)

Wednesdays & Saturdays 12 to 3pm

Scroll down for summer opening times.

Groups are welcome any day of the year by appointment and with a tour – book a guided tour or talk on medicinal plants.

Dogs are welcome on a lead.

Payment Please note we take cash, cheque and online payments but do not currently have a card machine.

Takeaway Drinks – enjoy our soothing & uplifting House Blend Botanical Tea, Botanical Tea of the day, Botanical Hot Hot Chocolate, cold drinks and biscuits/brownies (please note we do not have a cafe).

Explore Trails including trails on plants proven by science to enhance memory, mood and mind and a children’s Explorer Trail.

Workshops We’re open all year for workshops and events – visit our workshop page for the latest courses or for our 10 day Foundation in Plant Medicine course click here.

Herbal Dispensary The Dilston Dispensary of Herbal Medicine returns in 2018 with medical herbalists every first and third Wednesday of the month 12-3pm May to August and every Thursday 2-3pm June and July with herbal pharmacist – just drop in to The Physic Shop.

SUMMER SEASON OPENING April to September: Wednesday and Saturday 11am-4pm and Thursdays 12-3pm (Thursdays are until further notice).

Lots to See & Do

Relax, take 2 minutes out, watch a snap shot of Dilston Physic Garden.  Come to unwind and take it easy, away from life’s hustle and bustle.  Relax on our aromatic Chamomile Lawn, wander the 100 Willow Coppice (dedicated to the commonest plant derived drug available) or our Medicinal Meadow.  Follow the Labyrinth,take a break at the AromaSeat and sit by the Tranquility Pool.

Make a wish at the Cloutie Tree or watch the Wind Sculpture.  Stop by the Time Space Zone (and see medicinal plants from round the world and through history).  Soak up the sun at the SunDial Seat.  Browse The Physic Shop with locally produced plant based medicinal tinctures, creams, soaps, dried teas & much more.  Grow your own physic garden – find potted plants good for the brain.  Visit our summertime Dilston Dispensary of Herbal Medicine (click here for opening times) with registered medical herbalists.

Children can enjoy the Witches Den, Drawing Hut, Croquet, Giant Chess, the Explorer Trail, Potion Club and Potion Club Extra.  Follow our other developing trails and activities – at Dilston we focus on plants that are good for mind and brain. In collaboration with the Bodyworks Centre we have just completed our first pilot trial testing a combination of 3 European plant extracts on word recall on volunteers – with results showing the group aged under 62 years, who took the extract improved in their ability to remember correctly by over 50%, compared to those who didn’t take it in the same age group. To take part in our next trial email info@dilstonphysicgarden.com.

Plants & Modern Medicine

Dilston Physic Garden is a Registered Charity for education.

With links to the University of Newcastle in several ways, including interactions with Northeast Universities Medicinal Plant Research Group (MPRG), educational visits from North East university medical students, groups from other university departments.

As well as taking interactive educational visits from schools, college and other groups, Dilston has research links to Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and other research bodies.


Our volunteers are central in caring for the plants at Dilston Physic Garden and say they experience many rewarding opportunities and in a number of different and exciting ways.
As well as keeping all of the physic garden herbs healthy and happy and harvesting them to make tea or to dry and package them, volunteers also show visitors around and answer questions.

We provide any training needed and volunteers pick up herbal tip bits, enjoy good company and the odd healthy herbal lunch!

Volunteers can be reimbursed for traveling expenses and also have the chance to join a workshop of their choice, free of charge. Just contact us to start your experience !

DilstonPhysicGarden @MedicalBotany

What others say about us

A. Robson

“The most exquisite magical garden you could find”

A. Robson
L.S., Salford

“What a fantastic find! Thank you.”

L.S., Salford
M.R., Newcastle

“A beautiful and peaceful garden and a real source of inspiration.”

M.R., Newcastle
P.N, Sheffield

“Absolutely fabulous. Thank you.”

P.N, Sheffield

Foundation in Plant Medicine

The physic garden’s 10 Day Foundation in Plant Medicine is a unique, hands on course which demonstrates how plants can maintain and boost your health. You’ll also discover how to make your own, safe plant remedies. Running over 5 seasonal weekends in 2016, this is your time to immerse yourself in the tranquil Physic Garden […]

Botanist in Residence

We are honoured to welcome Dr. Anne Pickering as our Botanist in Residence. Anne is one of the Friends of the Garden, and her extensive skills are very much in tune with its ethos – a researcher, artist, tutor, hen house builder and motorcycle mechanic, we can call on Anne in almost any eventuality! Anne studied Botany […]

  Following a successful Imbolc gathering, the Northumbrian Grove of Bards, Ovates and Druids invite you to join them in their Spring Equinox ceremony in the Physic Garden on Sunday 10th March 10:30am – 1:30pm. At the Spring Equinox, day and night are once again equal and balanced. The sun rises due east, symbolising renewal. […]