'Gibraltar Botanical Gardens Closing Time

Dear Sir,

On quite a number of occasions I have come across whole families and groups of people trapped inside the Gibraltar Botanical gardens during the winter evenings.

The notice board at the entrance to some of the many gates states in small letters that Opening Times are 8 a.m. till 9 p.m. and in even smaller print it adds ‘or sunset if earlier. 

Today Saturday 23rd November I was having a walk around the gardens and I met with a number of Spanish tourists who told me they were trapped inside the gardens. My watch indicated that it was only 6.15 p.m.

On another occasion I came across three Spanish families with small children who told me they could not get out of the gardens as all the gates had been closed without any warning being given to them.

On these two occasions I directed them to the gate that is found directly behind the nursery that was demolished some time ago where it is possible to circumvent the gates by climbing around it. I have to take this route quite often during my after-supper walks in the evenings.

This is very dangerous and a small slip can land the individual two meters below in the undergrowth.

Needless to say, the little children were crying and appeared very scared.

My appeal is therefore to the management of the Gibraltar Botanical Gardens to implement a better system and to leave at least one gate open so that unlucky visitors may not be caught inside and made to feel anxious and claustrophobic.

Perhaps a siren should be sounded to warn tourists and visitors that the gates are going to be closed as the present system is rather capricious and dependent on when the sun sets. This is difficult to determine on cloudy and rainy days in winter.

I would also recommend they place warning signs in Spanish and other languages as not every visitor knows or reads English.

Also, many people I have come across in such dire straits would like to have a telephone number they can ring for help, so that the guy who closes the gates prematurely may come back and let them out.

I hope the management of these gardens take note and implement a system where no more tourists or visitors will get trapped inside these gardens; making their visit a veritable nightmare.

Thanking You.

Yours faithfully.

Tito Valerga