The Alameda Botanic Gardens sits snugly between the town centre of Gibraltar and the South District. A calm, quiet, green oasis amongst the busy and densely populated streets, the Alameda Gardens are the lungs of Gibraltar. When we first moved to the Rock after leaving our ‘average’ three bedroomed semi-detached house with a front and back garden, moving into an apartment with small children was a shock to the system. Very fortunately for us we lived very close to the gardens and they were a real life-saver and sanity restorer for me. We had lost our garden (which we rarely used because of the inclement British weather) but we had the most gorgeous park a short stroll from our new home.
We visited the Gardens again at the weekend as a family, it had been a few months since we’d been and we had such a great time, I thought I’d share this beautiful part of Gibraltar with you.
The Botanical Gardens were first established in 1816 and were funded in the beginning with a series of charitable donations. They fell into disrepair towards the end of the last century but for the past 20 years or so, they have been maintained by a team of horticulturalists and a band of volunteers.
It is such a beautiful, calm place to be. Full of mature trees and plants and brimming with history.
The main entrance to the Alameda Gardens is watched over by this bust of General George Eliott a former Governor of Gibraltar during the Great Siege of 1779 – 1782.
The beautiful surroundings are more than just a nice place to be, they offer a valuable educational resource to some of the school children of Gibraltar too. The Alameda Gardening Club gives kids, many of whom would otherwise grow up with no experience of gardening (because they live in apartments), the chance to get their hands dirty and have a go at growing things. How cute is the Bee Hotel and the flowery scarecrow?!
I think this little section of the gardens is the cheeriest place of all, as clearly the children have had a great time tending their little patch.
A stone’s throw away from the children’s garden is the beautiful Dell, the lush green sunken garden is the venue for many Gibraltar based wedding ceremonies and photo shoots.
The luscious planting is so well maintained and is picture perfect.
This beautiful section of the gardens isn’t open to the public but can be enjoyed from above from this stunning footbridge:
Are you beginning to understand why I loved this place so much when we first arrived in Gib? It’s stunning. We have had so many happy hours here, teaching small people to ride bikes on this pathway below, having picnics on a bench when apartment life became too stifling and collecting fallen leaves and bug hunting with my little botanist.
Every part of this place is just lovely, from the formal promenades to the meadow style sections. It’s just so green – which is so needed by a garden and plant lover like myself.
The Alameda Gardens even have a literary connection, this statue is of Molly Bloom, a character in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses, who spent her youth in Gibraltar. The novel makes mention of the Alameda Gardens and for that reason, the statue was placed here.
As you would expect from a botanical garden, there are a wide variety of plants on display with various flower beds and areas dedicated to plants from specific parts of the world or particular climates. A big favourite with the younger members of the Postcard family is this tropical section with the wooden walkway through the palms and banana leaves. Partly because it feels like you are walking through the jungle and partly because it’s right next door to the park!
Speaking of which – check it out! How cool is this park?? When we first arrived in Gibraltar seven years ago, it didn’t look like this. It had the feeling of a slightly neglected play park from the 1970s. I was right back to my childhood with the metal see-saw, roundabout and squeaking swings! However a few years back the park was shut down for several months and this great adventure playground sprung up in it’s place. It’s set out over 3 levels with activities for the smaller children at the bottom (shown here) and more adventurous things further up including a fab see-saw which several children can fit on at once, a great spinning tee-pee shaped climbing frame and a climbing wall.
Perhaps the best thing of all is that it’s set within the gardens and that means it benefits from the shade of the mature trees all around it so even in the heat of mid-summer you can use it and benefit from a bit of shady respite. It’s such a great park and one which my boys love. We’ve had such fun times here with friends over the years.
Oh Alameda – how we love you so! We really should visit more often!
I do hope that you have enjoyed this stroll round Gibraltar’s Botanic Gardens, I have called this Part 1 because I have only just scraped the surface of what this great place has to offer and I’m sure I’ll be back again soon to share a bit more of this gem with you.
This is by no means a comprehensive view of the gardens, just a collection of photos and ramblings. If you would like to find out more about this beautiful green oasis, please check out the official website.
Until the next time, thanks for stopping by and bye for now!