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The Chelsea Physic Garden was founded in 1673 on land donated by Sir Hans Sloane – whose artefacts later formed the basis of the British Museum. Phillip Miller was put in charge, and it soon became a centre of scientific study.
Plants arrived from all over the world – brought back from trade trips and wars to London. The first cedars in Britain were planted here, for example, as was cotton from the South Seas. This same cotton was later transferred to the American colonies – kick-starting their vast cotton plantations.
The Chelsea Physic Garden now contains around 5,000 different species split into several groups. There are sections on herbs, poisonous plants and a fantastic rock garden – containing volcanic stones from Iceland. There are also beds devoted to perfume and aromatherapy.
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If you enjoy this then try: Hyde Park (catch the tube from Sloane Square to Hyde Park); Kensington Gardens (catch the tube from Sloane Square to Kensington Gardens); Royal Botanic Gardens (catch the tube from Sloane Square to Royal Botanic Gardens); Garden Museum (catch the tube from Sloane Square to Garden Museum) and St. James’s Park (catch the tube from Sloane Square to St. James’s Park).