There were so many gardens across Seoul that we were looking forward to visiting, but none more so that the Huwon Secret Garden of Changdeokgung palace.
Tickets to the garden are sold on a first come first serve basis, and you have to visit during one of the tour times. We were so lucky that despite our jetlagged over sleeping we still managed to make it in time for the English 11:30am tour slot, and it was definitely one of my favourite green spaces in the city.
The Huwon (후원) meaning rear garden was originally used by the royal member as a place of retreat, and covers two-thirds of Changdeokgung palace. Beautiful landscaping and traditional architecture all sit in harmony with the trees, ponds and streams that make up the garden. Although you’re encouraged to stay within your tour group (to ensure the gardens are kept as peaceful and free from crowds as possible), we tended to lag behind at the back of our group so we had a little extra time to experience what the gardens would have looked like, free of people.
The Secret Garden can only be visited in one of the tours. Tours are given in English, Korean, Chinese and Japanese and can be booked on the day of visiting. You don’t necessarily have to book the English speaking tour if the timings don’t work for you, but our tour guide was amazing and we learnt so much about the Joseon Dynasty so I highly recommend it.
The Huwon Secret Garden is open from 10:00 – 16:30/17:00/17:30/18:00 depending on the time of year, and tickets prices are 8000 won, however you can purchase a combined ticket for 10,000 won which covers the admission to the Four Palaces (Changdeokgung Palaces (including Huwon, Secret Garden), Changgyeonggung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace) and Jongmyo Shrine