About Us

Discover what plants can do for you, as the key to good health, for cutting edge medicine, to treat chronic ailments and to boost your brain, all rooted in science.

Wander up a country lane in a panoramic stretch of Northumberland to find an unusual and 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 research shows how traditionally used plants have clinical evidence to help keep us happy, lower stress levels, boost sleep and memory and even protect the brain.

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. Wander winding pathways to discover over 800 medicinal plants with a focus on those for the mind and 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.

Plants contain a wondrous array chemicals and many have powerful effects in the body. Cutting edge drugs derived from plants like foxglove are used by doctors, and whole plant extracts are used by medical herbalists worldwide to effectively treat human ailments. Plant chemical 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 better than the science.

Dilston Physic Garden embraces the importance of medicinal plants, organic growing methods and the benefits of being in a tranquil outdoor space amongst beautiful aromatic herbs!

Opening Times

WINTER OPENING October to March Wednesdays and Saturdays 12-3pm.

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


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 relieve themselves 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 soothing & uplifting HouseTea and try our new range of teas to boost the brain rooted in science, our Botanical Hot Chocolate, cold drinks or Botanical Oaties. (Please note that we do not currently have a cafe).

Explore Trails which are good for the brain! Including trails on plants proven by science to boost memory, mood and keep you calm or kid’s can join our 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 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 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

“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

Autumn Equinox Event

At the time of the Autumn Equinox, day and night are once again equal and balanced. But unlike the Spring Equinox when we moved into the light of summer, now we cross a threshold to ‘the darkness of winter and the magical powers of the stars and the inner realms’. At this turning of the […]

Midsummer solstice

Celebrate the Summer Solstice Dilston Physic Garden Saturday 24th June 5.00pm – 8.00pm The Summer Solstice marks the time when the sun is at the height of its power – and nature’s response is a splendid display of colour and fragrance. This time is known in contemporary druidry as ‘Alban Hefin’ which means ‘Light of […]

  At the Spring Equinox, day and night are – once again – equal and balanced. We now cross the threshold into the light of summer. It is now that the sun rises due east, and the Spring Equinox has long been associated with dawn, youth and the morning star. Led by local members of […]