SS Great Britain at the RHS

For the first time in 150 years, plants are back on board the SS Great Britain!

The world’s first luxury passenger liner has been transformed into a floating garden as we explore the vital role of steamships like the SS Great Britain in the global migration of plants.

Scroll down for our exclusive RHS Hampton Court offers…

10% off your annual ticket

RHS attendees receive 10% off their annual ticket to Brunel’s SS Great Britain. To claim your 10% off click the link below and use the voucher code: RHS10. Discount expires 30/09/24

Shop Our Botany Range

Victorian Botany RHS Discount

Get 10% off our Botany products with the code: HAMPTONCOURT10%OFF. Click the link below to explore the range. Discount expires 14/07/2024.
Use the code: HAMPTONCOURT10%OFF

Wardian Cases

The invention of an early sea-going terrarium in 1833 known as the Wardian case meant that plants only needed to be watered once on a 6-9 week journey. This reduced the labour needed to keep the plants alive whilst sparing water rations on board. Before Wardian cases existed, the survival rate of plants on Victorian steamships was only 1-33%. However, with the introduction of Wardian cases, almost all live plants made it to their destination!

Between 1859 and 1875, 53 Wardian Cases were sent to the UK from Australia. These “floating greenhouses” were used to transport exotic plant species such as ferns and orchids across the globe. Many plants that are now common in UK gardens were first introduced to our shores following voyages on board steamships such as the SS Great Britain.

Two of our six replica Wardian Cases have been transported to RHS to share the fascinating story of Plants Crossing Continents. You can learn more from our Head of Research, Dr James Boyd about the history and how the garden was designed here.

Order a bespoke Wardian Case

A unique opportunity to own a historically accurate, functional Victorian style Wardian Case. Made out of wood from the SS Great Britain’s weather deck they are stunning and limited edition.
Learn more

Our Ambassadors


We have teamed up with a host of fantastic local ambassadors who have supported Botany on Board. Thank you to all those involved including: Redcatch Community Garden, Riverside Garden Centre, Heart of BS13, Avon Wildlife Trust and Planty Projects.

Award-winning gardener, Jane Porter has been a part of our voyage to RHS from the beginning. Her designs, advice and special guest appearance at the RHS have been invaluable. You can learn more about Jane and her work, Planty Projects here.

Jane Porter (Planty Projects) with the team from Redcatch Community Garden and Riverside Garden Centre.

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