Talks and Walks on Herbal Medicine from the Herb Garret


The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret organizes a series of talks and walks surrounding herbal medicine. The museum counts with two specialists: curator and herbal archivist, Karen Howell, and museum officer, Juliana Wakefield. These talks and walks are available to book, but be advised that some of them has a minimum amount of people for the talk or the walk to go through.

Medicine from Nature

Detail of the Herb Garret. Photo by MAWalker.

Every Sunday at 2:00pm

In the past, medicines were made from plants, animals and even precious stones.
Learn how ‘drugs’ such as foxglove, myrrh, and unicorn horns were used.
Examine real herbs in the attic space, originally used by the apothecary of St Thomas’ Hospital. This talk usually includes a demonstration.

Booking is advised due to limited capacity.

To make a reservation you can call us at 020 71882679, or e-mail us at

From Garden to Garret: The Apothecary Tour

The apothecary counter at the Herb Garret.

This tour meets at the herb garden of St George the Martyr, Southwark, where the curator and herb archivist, Karen Howell, will lead a tour of the herbs that were once used by old St Thomas’ and Guy’s Hospitals to make medicines for the patients.

Including tales of the fascinating plant folklore, mythology and the scientific properties and oils of the living plants, the tour also discusses the the placement of the garden near the old Marshalsea Prison.

This guided walk around St George’s Garden returns back into the Herb Garret to include a mini herbal workshop that provides hands-on dried herbs, and presents simple medicine making methods, such as those used to make rose water, pills, and poultices.

The event provides a hands on opportunity for keen gardeners and historians to investigate the history of and discover some of the intriguing traditional pharmaceutical materials used at the old hospitals of London.

This tour can only be booked during the week (from Monday to Friday).

To make a reservation you can call us at 02071882679, or e-mail us at Minimum group size: 10 people. 

Juliana Wakefield at Southwark Cathedral’s Herb Garden.

From the Herb Garret to the Herb Garden of Southwark Cathedral

This walk begins in our Herb Garret where the public will learn about the work of the apothecary. Afterwards, the walk will take you to the Herb Garden in nearby Southwark Cathedral, pausing to look at reminders of unusual medical ingredients from our past which the visitor will see along the way.

Whilst not intended to be an exact recreation, the Cathedral’s Herb Garden reflects the layout of a traditional monastic garden and was designed with advice from Juliana Wakefield, an Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret officer. Once there, a talk will be delivered explaining the historical uses of the plants growing in the garden many of which survive in herbalism today.

To make a reservation you can call us at 02071882679, or e-mail us at Minimum group size: 10 people.


The talks or the walks are covered with museum admission: £3.50, under 16; £5.00 concs.; £6.50, adults. Combined talk and walk: £8.50, under 18; £9, concs.; £10.50, adults.