Planning a visit

to The Beth Chatto Gardens

Planning a visit to our


Gardens & Nursery



We are delighted to be able to welcome you back. It has been very quiet without our visitors but we have been working hard to ensure that both the Gardens and Nursery are at their best for reopening safely under a pre-booking system. Thank you for your continued support and patience.


For access to both the Gardens & Nursery

You need to book a ticket, please book your arrival time slot here

Adult Entry: £8.95 + 50p booking fee 

Children (Under 16s, over 5s): £2 each + 50p booking fee


For access to the Nursery only

No need to book

Max. 2 visitors from the same household.


For ‘Friends of the Garden’

No booking necessary - You are FREE to visit any time during opening hours

Please ensure you have your membership details with you, when you visit


For NHS Staff

Book your FREE* Ticket to visit from 15.00pm only – Tuesday to Thursday inclusive

Subject to a small booking fee of 50p per ticket to be paid when booking.  

From 14th July 2020 to 4th September 2020 inclusive

To validate your FREE Entry, please bring along with you:-

A copy of your FREE ticket, which you will need to scan in our Visitor Information Centre

A copy of your NHS ID CARD, which you will need to show to a member of our Welcome Team in the Visitor Information Centre


For Gardeners World ‘2 for 1’ entry

Valid Autumn/Winter only


For RHS members

FREE access to the gardens from November through to March, only


For ALL Ticket Holders


  1. Please remember to bring your ticket with you (either on your phone or a printed copy – so that the barcode can be scanned)

For the safety and wellbeing of Visitors and Staff, we sadly we won’t be able to admit anyone to the Gardens, who arrives without a pre-booked Garden and Nursery ticket. 


  1. Please note due to social distancing measures in place, we are restricting and monitoring the number of visitors on site.



Opening hours

Tuesday to Saturday, inclusive, from 10am to 4pm

We are closed on Sunday and Monday


Card Transactions only, no cash

We are restricting purchases to card transactions only


Assistance dogs only

We recommend leaving dogs at home as our car park is very open with no shaded areas. 


Avoid queues with ‘Click & Collect’ or ‘Home-Delivery’

You may know that we have been sending out our much-loved quality plants all over the UK during this time, and continue to do so. As Nursery Visitors numbers are restricted, you may wish to order online and choose ‘Click & Collect or ‘Home-Delivery’  


Covid19 response

Our foremost priority remains the well-being of all of our Visitors and Staff and we will do everything possible to ensure all Government social distancing measures are followed. 

The Social Distancing measures on-site include:

  • Limited numbers of pre-booked tickets available for each day
  • Ground & floor markings to encourage social distancing where we anticipate some queueing at the entrances to both the Gardens and Nursery 
  • One-way system around some areas of the Gardens and the Nursery
  • Allowing access to the Nursery for 2 people per household at any one time.  
  • During busy periods, visitors may be asked to form a socially distanced queue which we will closely monitor, allowing entrance to the Nursery, when numbers permit.
  • Screens at the Welcome desks and Checkouts to protect both Visitors & Staff


Personal Comfort and Wellbeing 

We are now monitoring the Nursery and staff will step in and ask people to queue if the Nursery looks overcrowded


Customer toilets are open for use. Please be mindful and exercise social distancing. 

Hand sanitiser and hand washing facilities are available for Visitor & Staff use on site


If you are feeling at all unwell or you or someone close to you is showing any symptoms please self-isolate and do not come to the gardens.


Shared Best Practice, Advice and Guidance

In order to comply with the Governments advice on social distancing we have calculated the number of visitors we can welcome from the Horticultural Trade Association Guidelines. Thanks to the generosity of the RHS, in sharing best practice with their partner gardens (of which we are one) we are also following measures adopted by the RHS at their gardens which opened on 1st June 2020.

We fully support the Government’s plans to control the spread of the virus and if official guidance changes, we will adjust practices immediately. 



How long can I stay?

You can arrive at any time within your given time slot and are free to stay as long as you wish – although please be mindful of others' enjoyment.

Can I get plant advice at the Nursery?

We will be respecting social distancing measures and so advice based on phone pictures of plants sadly won't be possible at this time.

Will there be any refreshments available?

Our Tearoom remains closed for the time being 

However, we have picnic benches sited in our overspill carpark for our visitors to use; all we ask is that you take any litter away with you to help protect our environment. 

Is free car parking available?

Yes, for ticket holders only

Do you have car parking for disabled?

Yes, we have a limited number Car Park spaces designated for those less abled.  Please make us aware of your Blue Badge at the time of your booking. 

Are customer toilets open? 

Yes, customer toilets are available on site.  Please be aware that you may need to queue in this area.  

Will you accept cash?

No, sorry, we will only be accepting card payments for any purchases you wish to make during your visit.


We find that the average visitor will stay four hours at the Gardens. Beth's is a garden for plant lovers and while it's not the biggest, at around 7 acres, it is beautiful. The focus is on Beth's mantra: 'Right plant for the Right place'. A visit tends to include the Gardens, Nursery, Gift shop and often a stop off in the Tearoom*. 

*Please note that the Tearoom is closed for the timebeing.


Opening Times

Tuesday to Saturday 10.00am -16.00pm

We are closed on Sunday and Monday


Admission 2020

Tickets must be booked in advance except for Friends of the Garden; all tickets are subject to a 50p booking fee


April - October

£8.95 per adult

£2.00 per child



£4.95 per adult

£1.00 per child


March & November

£6.95 per adult

£1.50 per child


December & January

Free admission

(please note some areas of the garden may not be accessible due to maintenance during these months)

1 carer goes free with disabled badge holder.

Sorry, no other concessions. 




A Friend of the Garden membership (from just £25) allows you year-round access to the Gardens during opening hours and free entry for up to 3 children.


Car parking is FREE for blue badge holders.


Coach Parking – Booking required in advance 

Garden entrance
Opening Hours
March-October 10am to 4pm (Sunday Closed and Monday Closed)
November-February 10am to 4pm
Tearoom Opening Hours
March-October Currently closed (Sunday Closed)
November-February Currently closed
How to find us Elmstead Market, Colchester, Essex, CO7 7DB
By Bus

Colchester Bus Station is to the east of Colchester in Osborne Street and Stanwell Street. From the High Street turn right down Queen Street opposite Colchester Castle, then bear right at the bottom of Queen Street into Osborne Street. The bus station is on the left.          

There are a number of travel companies operating buses that stop at Elmstead Market so we recommend checking the 'Bus Times' website before travelling.  Please see the links below for each service: 

By Train

Colchester has two train stations, North Station and Colchester Town.  Colchester Town station is in the centre of town and near the bus station.  North Station is over a mile north of the town centre and would require another bus to reach the town centre but does have a taxi rank just outside if you would prefer to continue your journey by car. Regular trains to North  Station run from London Liverpool Street, Ipswich, Clacton on Sea and Norwich. Trains to Colchester Town are less frequent and may require you to change at North Station. Journey time to Colchester Town from London Liverpool Street is approximately 90 minutes.

By Bike

Why not pop in by bike, and enjoy a snack in our Tea Rooms. The Beth Chatto Gardens can be reached from several bicycles routes. The closest is a route published by Visit Essex and can be viewed here. Route 4 "Cultural Sites and Constable Country" is the map that has our location. The route takes you around some of the countryside encircling Colchester and is roughly ten miles long. We can be found in the bottom right hand side of the map marked as attraction 14. If you would like to hire a bike for your visit to the area, whether you are a resident or a holiday maker, bikes can be hired from The Outdoor Hire Centre including tandems, childrens bikes and bikes with picnic equipment!

By Taxi

There is a taxi rank outside North Station (please note not outside Colchester Town station) and one on Colchester High Street. Local taxi companies include:

  • Five Sevens: 01206 577777
  • Hawaii 5-0: 01206 543210
  • Panther Cabs: 01206 525525

Please note we do not endorse these companies and cannot guarantee their cost or level of service. For your return journey staff in the shop will be happy to call a taxi company for you.