I quite often pop over the border to Gibraltar and, when I do, one of my favourite places to visit is the Alameda Gardens. So much so that, after my last visit I decided to sign up as a volunteer – and look, I even have the t-shirt to prove it!
Gibraltar’s Botanical Gardens were established in 1816 (so had a very special birthday last year) and, although only small, are a lovely place to wander and escape the heat of the day.
I’ve been a few times in different months and there’s always something new to see.
As I’m a huge cactus and succulent fan I’ve never been disappointed – as soon as I walked through the George Don Gates, I was in cactus heaven. Just look at some of these beauties.
Without doubt my favourite part of the gardens is the Dell – a sunken garden with a bridge across the middle. The Dell isn’t open to the public but the view from the bridge is just stunning. On one side a beautiful green oasis while on the other a pond with koi carp and, if it’s sunny, lazy terrapins basking on the rocks.
I also love Lion’s Pond – a series of streams and waterfalls flowing into a koi filled pond.
The first time I came to Lion’s Pond I totally missed the amazing Green Men – four carvings in the trees by Paul Sivell. Even when I found out about them and went back for another visit it still took a while to find all four – but I did it! Eventually.
Paul is also behind several other wood carvings dotted around the gardens – including this amazing totem to celebrate the bicentennial with a Barbary macaque perched on top.
Alameda Gardening Club
There’s also a children’s gardening club so that youngsters can get their hands dirty, pick up some gardening skills and learn about the environment while having fun. I was lucky enough as a child to have my own little plot on my dad’s allotment so know how exciting it is to see the fruits of my labours (in fact, I still feel like that now) but, with so many families in Gibraltar living in apartments, not all children have this luxury.
How great is this little bee hotel in the children’s area?
If you want to visit, the Alameda Gardens are nestled at the foot of the Rock of Gibraltar – head along Main Street from Casemates Square and you’ll find them next to the Cable Car terminus.