About Us

Discover the power of plants for health, medicine, and for the brain.  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 the latest scientific research now shows that certain traditionally used plants have significant effects to relieve anxiety, depression, insomnia and pain and to boost mood, memory and protect the brain.

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 boost memory. To take part in our next ‘Plants For Memory’ trial email info@dilstonphysicgarden.com.

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.

Beside each plant at the physic garden read the traditional herbal medical use, the science of what they do, including clinical evidence and medical drugs that come from plants, as well as the folklore and magic! Many visitors, especially children, like the folklore and magic better than the science.

Dilston Physic Garden embraces the natural beauty and importance of medicinal plants and organic growing methods.

Opening Times

WINTER OPENING October to March

Please note we are closed December to February – but open for workshops & events

Wednesdays and Saturdays 12-3pm.


Wednesdays & Saturdays 11am to 4pm

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

SUMMER OPENING May to September

Wednesday and Saturday 11am-4pm

Thursday 12-3pm

Every first Sunday of the month 12-3pm

(Thursdays & 1st Sundays are until further notice)

Parking For workshops & events please only park in our Top-up Car Park (directions) and enjoy the 5-10m flat walk to the physic garden.

Groups & Schools are welcome any day of the year by appointment and with a tour or class.

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

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

Takeaway Drinks – enjoy our house Soothing & Uplifting Botanical Tea (fresh in season), BrainTeas, Botanical Hot Chocolate, cold drinks and Botanical Oaties (please note we do not have a cafe).

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

Workshops We’re open all year for school & group visits and workshops & 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 will return in 2019 with medical herbalists in our new Physic Hut Dispensary – please call back to the website next Spring for more info. In the meantime we can recommend medicals herbalist in the North East area.

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) and soak up the sun at the SunDial Seat. Browse The Physic Shop with physic garden and locally produced botanical spirits, tinctures, creams, dried teas & more including our new book Botanical Brain Balms.  Grow your own physic garden – find select potted plants 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 book on 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 !

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What others say about us

“The most exquisite magical garden you could find”

A. Robson

“What a fantastic find! Thank you.”

L.S., Salford

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

M.R., Newcastle

“Absolutely fabulous. Thank you.”

P.N, Sheffield

BY POPULAR DEMAND ‘Dilston Dispensary of Herbal Medicine’ 2018

Enjoying its 3rd year the ‘Dilston Dispensary of Herbal Medicine’ returns in 2018 to give you easy access to qualified information on the use of plants for health and medicine. Ensuring you’re using the correct herb for your needs is essential since if plant medicines are used inappropriately, just as with drugs, they can be […]

NEW Thursday Talks: Handy Herbs for Everyday Ailments – starting June 7th 2018

This summer the physic garden is delighted to welcome back pharmacist Milena. As a pharmacist trained in Poland, where plant medicines are dispensed alongside drugs, this year Milena is not only offering consultations, but is encouraging learning on medicinal plants for common ailments through a series of workshops. Just drop into the physic garden every […]

Botanical Brain Balms

Dilston Physic Garden’s director and curator are publishing a book on plants for the brain – ‘Botanical Brain Balms: Essential plants for memory, mood and mind’ with Filbert Press UK and publishers in the U.S., France and Germany. ‘The benefits of a plant-based diet to physical health are well-known and scientific research now shows that […]