The Leuven Botanical Garden may be one of the smallest botanical gardens in Belgium, but it’s definitely one of the most charming. It’s also the oldest botanical garden in Belgium, dating back to 1738. It was created by the University of Leuven as a herbal garden for its medical students.
What I like about it is that it’s small enough to cover in an hour or two; in other words, on your way back from somewhere else, or after an exhausting morning in the shopping centre. It’s well laid out, and easily accessible with wheelchairs and children’s buggies.
Children will probably find the fish ponds, vegetable gardens, composting area and beehives interesting, as well as the tropical hot-house with its impressive banana trees, coconut trees and coffee bushes. Outside is a fine specimen of a Kentucky coffee tree. Although its roasted seeds were used as a substitute for coffee in times of poverty, they were found to be poisonous in large quantities!
The garden is located at 30 Kapucijnenvoer, 3000 Leuven and is open every day. Admission is free.