About Us

Wander up a country lane in a panoramic stretch of Northumberland to find a unique and tranquil garden nestled on the banks of a winding river.  Not only do visitors say its natural design has a soothing effect on the mind, but science shows that medicinal plants boost our brain. There are plants with clinical research to show they calm, lower stress and anxiety, enhance sleep and boost memory and mood.

Plants contain a wondrous array of chemical ingredients and many have powerful effects in the body. Cutting edge medical drugs derived from plants are used by doctors like pain-killing morphine from opium poppy and anti-cancer taxol from yew and medicinal plants are essential to the discovery of new medical drugs. Whole plant extracts are used by medical herbalists worldwide to effectively treat many common human ailments.

Plant chemical ingredients also promote health and even act as preventative medicines – many are antibacterial, anti-viral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting and anti-cancer. Making plants part of your life could be the best thing you have ever done to help maintain good health! There is science to show exactly how they work. Come and visit us, bring your school or group. Discover the power of plants.

Beside each plant read the traditional medical herbal use, the science of how they work including clinical trials, medical drugs, as well as the folklore and magic! Many visitors, especially children, like the folklore better than the science.

Dilston Physic Garden has a distinct character. A physic garden steeped in the history and folklore of medicinal plants, but also in the modern science of how they work as medicines today. Follow winding paths to discover over 800 medicinal plants, with a focus on those for the mind and brain. Dilston began in the 1990’s because of the team’s pioneering scientific research showing that sage and other European herbs boost memory and are active in the brain. To take part in our next clinical trial – looking at 4 plants to boost and maintain memory – email info@dilstonphysicgarden.com.

The Dilston Physic Garden charity’s mission is education and research on plants for health and medicine. It embraces the importance of medicinal plants, natural organic growing methods and also the benefits of being in a tranquil outdoor space.

Opening Times

SUMMER OPENING May to September

Wednesday and Saturday 11am-4pm

Thursday 12-3pm

NOTE: Please bring suitable footwear for a muddy lane!

WINTER OPENING October to March

Wednesdays and Saturdays 12-3pm.

(we are closed December – February but open for workshops & events)


Wednesdays & Saturdays 11am to 4pm

NOTE: We’re not open when temperature is on or below zero oC. Please bring suitable footwear for the muddy lane!

Parking For workshops & events please only park in our Top-up Car Park (directions) and enjoy the 5-7 minute flat walk to the physic garden.

Bring your Group or School we are open any day of the year by appointment.

Dogs are welcome on a lead but please do not let them relieve themselves on any plant or leave any waste.

Payment Please note we take cash, transfer and cheque but do not currently have a card machine. Please bring change if you can.

Takeaway Drinks – enjoy our our new range of aromatic Botanical Tea rooted in science (Calm, Happy, Sleep, Uplift, Memory, Pain or Digest), Botanical Hot Hot Chocolate, cold drinks or Oaties. (Please note that we do not have a cafe).

Explore Trails that are good for the brain – trails on plants shown by science to calm or boost memory and mood, or children can join the Explorer Trail.

Workshops We’re open all year round for school and group visits and also for workshops & events – visit our workshop page for the latest courses or for our 10-day Foundation in Plant Medicine course click here. Hire the physic garden and Herbology House.

Herbal Dispensary The Dilston Dispensary of Herbal Medicine in 2019 is open every Wednesday (excl. 12+18 Jun) until 18th September with NIMH affiliated medical herbalists in The Physic Hut Dispensary.

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 enjoy our SilentSpace by the Tranquility Pool.

Make a wish at the Cloutie Tree or watch the Wind Sculpture.  Stop by the Time Space Zone, to see medicinal plants from round the world and through history, and soak up the sun at the SunDial Seat. Browse The Physic Shop with physic garden and locally produced botanical products including our new book Botanical Brain Balms.  Why not grow your own physic garden – new book coming out soon – find a small collection of potted plants which good for the brain.  In the summer visit our Dilston Dispensary of Herbal Medicine (click here for opening times) with registered medical herbalists.

Children enjoy the Witches Den, Drawing Hut, Croquet, Giant Chess, Explorer Trail and can discover more by booking on Potion Club.  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 completed our first pilot clinical 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. We have nearly reached our target to fund our next trials – to take part 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 !

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What others say about us

I have had the good fortune to visit this beautiful garden over a number of years and so have seen it grow and develop. Each visit is a new and thrilling experience.

Lucy Carty, London

It’s a nice and interesting garden to be visited. I use it for benchmarking, cause I build the same garden “spice garden” in tropical country Indonesia containing more 400 species of medicinal plants. Thank you

Heru D. Wardana, Indonesia

“What a fantastic find! Thank you.”

L.S., Salford

I found your site by accident while looking for something else. It looks wonderful! I am involved in a small garden of health behind one of the departments in Glasgow University so I am very interested. I hope to be able to pay you a visit before too long and will be in touch.

Susie Stewart, Glasgow

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

M.R., Newcastle

“Absolutely fabulous. Thank you.”

P.N, Sheffield

“The most exquisite magical garden you could find”

A. Robson

What is it about Liquorice?

Love it or hate it liquorice has a range of health benefits. The ingredient of one of the world’s favourite sweets, including the North’s famous Pontefract Cakes, it is used in plant medicine for fatigue, particularly adrenal stress, but it also has memory boosting and protective effects on brain cells. Scroll down to find liquorice […]

Want to see a medical herbalist outside of Dilston Dispensary hours?

Here is a list of Medical Herbalists and a Herbal Pharmacist who are affiliated with Dilston Physic Garden. Davina Hopkinson Medical Herbalist BSc MNIMH. davinaherbalist@gmail.com. Davina gained her degree in Herbal Medicine at Lincoln University, having also completed a 2-year course in complementary therapies. Davina has her own herbal practice she runs from home or […]

Memory Test Study

Want to see if plants can boost your memory ? And receive a free pass to the North’s best kept secret garden? Dilston Physic Garden, local medical herbalists Ross Menzies and Davina Hopkinson and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew offers an exciting opportunity to take part in a second natural Memory Test Study in West and […]