Set centrally within Hagley Park and adjacent to the City centre, the Botanic Gardens are fringed on the eastern side by the Neo-Gothic architecture of Christ’s College, Canterbury Museum, and the Arts Centre. The Gardens were begun in 1850 along with the founding of the city of Christchurch.
The Gardens display the iconic Peacock Fountain, recently restored and repainted to its original and striking Edwardian era colours, a mass of exotic and tropical plants set in the inspiring architecture of Cuningham Glasshouse, and a gracious bridge arching over a mass of ducks, leading to a beautiful Band Rotunda. Close by at the Antigua Boat Shed, you can hire paddleboats and kayaks to enjoy the gardens from peaceful setting of the Avon.
The World Peace Bell, one of 21 in the world, was welcomed to the Botanic Gardens in 2005. A children’s pool and playground are a popular family weekend destination. Take a wander and you’ll come across the prim rose circles or the elegant rock garden, there are surprises around every corner.
In spring, Hagley Park is a riot of cherry blossom and daffodils, whilst in autumn mature introduced trees produce a mass of striking colours; in summer a walk through the gardens beside the river in search of an ice cream vendor proves irresistible, as does opportunities to attend free summer evening theatre or jazz, and in winter designated recreational areas buzz with thousands engaged in winter sport (especially on Saturday morning).