The Alnwick Gardens in England are home to a very hazardous section dubbed ‘The Poison Garden’. This small but deadly area houses 100 of the world’s most dangerous plant species, and it’s open for tourists.
By all accounts the gardens of Alnwick Castle, England are a tourist’s dream. Full of lush landscapes, intricate water features and acres of vibrant flowers, the gardens offer a wide array of photo opportunities. But there exists a deadlier side to these gardens, hidden behind black iron gates is the infamous Poison Garden, a home for nature’s killers that’s open to the public.
Many of the garden’s most dangerous plants are kept behind iron cages to ensure visitors don’t wander too close, and for good reason. From deadly nightshade to even cannabis, the Poison Garden is full of potentially lethal surprises that could seriously harm the unprepared. But this begs the question, why was the Poison Garden created?
The Poison Garden’s Fascinating History
The Poison Garden was added to the castle grounds in February 2005 by the Duchess of Northumberland, Jane Percy. She reportedly decided to cultivate her own collection of poisonous plants following her trip to Italy’s infamous Medici poison garden, with one of the primary goals of the project being the education of children. She realized children don’t care about the boring, safe stuff when it comes to botany, what they really want are the weird details of how and why some plants can kill.
With this goal in mind, the duchess set about selecting interesting plants to fill out the Poison Garden of Alnwick, focusing on plants that carry interesting stories concerning their uses throughout history or their effects on the human body. With education being the garden’s focus, the duchess wanted to ensure that no matter what plants visitors view they will walk away with interesting facts to share and maybe even a newfound interest in botany.
Despite the potential dangers, the garden is fully accessible for guided tours throughout the year and entry is included with a day ticket to the Alnwick gardens. Though visitors aren’t allowed to touch, taste or smell the plants, some do still faint from inhaling toxic fumes while touring the garden. So if you do decide to visit, proceed with caution.
Interested in more terrifying tourism spots? Why not check out the world’s creepiest clown-themed motel? It’s even got a cemetery.