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Car parking charges at Wakehurst Place

Later this spring we will be introducing charges for car parking at Wakehurst. The charges are likely to commence from mid to late April, but the exact timing will depend on the completion of the installation works.

Photo of the Mansion House at Wakehurst Place
The Mansion at Wakehurst

Joint statement between National Trust and Kew

In a joint statement Sir Simon Jenkins, Chairman, National Trust, and Marcus Agius, Chairman, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, said:

'The National Trust and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew have been working together to find a sustainable future for Kew at Wakehurst Place.

'The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew currently maintains the gardens, woodlands and the Mansion at Wakehurst Place, in accordance with a lease from the National Trust. Despite being run efficiently and effectively, the net cost to Kew of running Wakehurst Place is such that we have reached a point where greater income is needed if we are to continue our outstanding horticultural standards and the wonderful visitor experience that have made Wakehurst one of the Trust’s most popular properties.

'We have agreed that the best way to raise this much needed income is through the introduction of car parking charges in April 2014.'

Additional parking fee

Wakehurst Place Season Ticket holders, Friends of Kew and those who purchase a day ticket to enter Wakehurst will not need to pay the additional fee for car parking.

National Trust members will retain their free entry to Wakehurst Place, but will pay to park. Cars will cost annually from £25, £2 for the first hour, £5 for two hours and £10 per day

Group visits in minibuses and coaches will either pay the current discounted group entry rate for each passenger, or an agreed fee based on the number of paying visitors in the coach.

As well as allowing Kew to maintain the current high standards at Wakehurst Place, the charging model allows Kew to link directly its income to the number of visitors. This, in turn, opens the door to investing in the landscape and visitor offer.

Find out more in our Visit Information section.

Why we are doing this

Kew absorbs the majority of the costs of running Wakehurst Place and, despite doing so efficiently and effectively, we have a net deficit of £1.4m.

80% of visitors to Wakehurst Place are National Trust members, who access the gardens without payment to Kew. An endowment provided to the National Trust by Wakehurst’s last private owner, Sir Henry Price, contributes approximately £80,000 a year to the management of the house and gardens. Consequently, Kew needs to find opportunities to raise the required income to support the gardens at Wakehurst.

For the past five years we have been working together with the National Trust to identify and evaluate different options to ensure a sustainable future for Wakehurst Place. We want to invest in Wakehurst and continue to offer a world class garden and nature reserve, and programme of events for our visitors. The introduction of car parking charges will help us to do this.

You can download the full business plan which sets out the reasons for the introduction of parking charges - Business plan for car parking charges.

  • free entry to the gardens and Millennium Seed Bank all year round
  • free car parking
  • one free ticket to Kew Gardens (worth £14.50)
  • two free exclusive open evenings, 10% off purchases in the Visitor Centre Shop and Plant Centre (some exclusions apply)

Your chance to ask questions

The support of our visitors is vital to our long term future and we are grateful to the huge number of people who visit the Gardens every year. That’s why we want to explain the reasons for our decision and give you a chance to have your say on the change.

Richard Deverell, Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Andy Jackson, Director, Wakehurst Place, and Andy Semple, National Trust Director for London and South East, will be hosting public consultation meetings for any visitors to Wakehurst who would like to ask questions or find out any further information.

They will be taking place on the following dates and times:

Monday 17 March
Morning session: 10.30–11.30am
Afternoon session: 1–2pm

Monday 24 March
Morning session: 10.30am - fully booked
Afternoon session: 1pm - fully booked
Evening session: 7pm - very few spaces remaining

Please contact wakehurst@kew.org or telephone 01444 894067 to register your interest, stating clearly which session you wish to attend.

All sessions will take place in the Dining Room in the Mansion.

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Comments

25 July 2014
Unbelievable, that senior management from Kew and The National Trust have failed to reply to our concerns and questions regarding the car parking charges fiasco. The fact that both companies have failed to address the issues that we have been raising for months now does not put them in a favourable light. They are burying their heads in the sand hoping we will eventually stop complaining and accept the extortionate fees. It is because we care so much about Wakehurst that we are doing what we are doing. Surely they should be working with us to reach an agreeable resolution instead of against us. Do not bite the hand that feeds. Please turn woeful Wakehurst back into wonderful Wakehurst before it is too late.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
23 July 2014
Although many NT members living locally are now aware of the targeting of members with outrageous car parking charges at Wakehurst, NT members visiting from outside the area face a different experience! As you turn off the main road & approach the car park & before you reach the barriers there is a small sign which advises charges apply to NT members. As charges don't normally apply the sign is easily missed & this sign does not detail the charges, such as £10 for 2+ hours! You take your ticket from the ticket machine in the £200,000 upgraded car & the barriers let you in. After leaving the vehicle & proceed to the path that takes you to reception, there is a small sign on the pathway but again this can be easily missed if you are not expecting charges or you may be in a hurry to use the toilets! You show your NT pass & they wave you through reception, from my experience no mention is made that charges apply to NT members! On the walkway in there are signs facing away from you when entering which advises about getting your ticket validated on leaving & it advises you about buying the £25 season ticket, that sign makes no mention of the charges! The only sign I saw in the grounds that detailed the charges was in the gents toilets near the resturant, thats ok if you used them! On leaving the grounds & arriving at receotion it would be easy to find for the first time what the charges were! Also in reception there is a rotation screen which shows on one page the actual charges, it is one of several screens & goes round about every 90 seconds. As a NT member it would be very easy not to realise the charges until you were about to leave, NT members don't normally have to pay to park so why should they expect them! I understand there were more signs initially which detailed the actual charges, they have now dissappeared, I wonder why! Someone else has said this predatory pricing policy has done an excellent job in keeping numbers down, ensuring Wakehurst looks deserted, very few use the shop, cafe etc! The time bands of £5 - £10 are aimed to trap the majority of visitors without any knowledge of what is taking place at Wakehurst!
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
21 July 2014
Wakehurst - This is an update on how well their campaign is going targeting just NT members - How well are your season ticket sales going - On the 22nd May 2014, a NT Director stated 'they will nonetheless halve their £1.5m annual deficit if 30,000 people buy their annual season ticket. Early signs are that this number is eminently achievable, as many have decided to support the property through this method. Naturally, we will lose some members who use their membership almost entirely to visit Wakehurst, but we accept this.' On the 16th June Andy Jackson stated the sale of season tickets was going well & 3,250 had been sold, this figure was a long way short of the 30,000 referred to by the NT Director. I am now that on the 30th June 2014 you have in fact sold 3,555 new season tickets & 364 renewals, by my calculations this is approximately £101,000, a long way short of your targets & proof that your attack on NT members is failing! Your management decisions have been appalling, the 1st quarter is the period you should have your highest sales for the summer months, I wait with interest to see what your sales will be for the 2nd quarter! You may wish to comment although if you are true to form you will ignore!
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
21 July 2014
I understand that Wakehurst received £170,000 last year from the shop, cafe etc,I wonder what it will be like this year with reduced visitor numbers!
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
20 July 2014
I haven't been to Wakehurst since the car parking charges were introduced in protest at the way this was done and the high cost of parking for NT members. I estimate that last year over the same period, I spent £100+ in the shop (Seasalt tunic, clock. plants, soaps, cards) and £90 in the café that is in the shop. Surely there is some profit for Wakehurst in what they sell? I now spend nothing there and, if I do visit again, I will not be driving there. I will also take a packed lunch with me and studiously avoid spending money in the shop. I want to see Wakehurst do well but I have been very irritated by the lack of response from management and the very rude personal comments made by some people in support of the charges. I am glad to say that Tripadvisor took down a review in favour of the charges which was headed "Ignore those idiots". I reported this as abuse. There is no need to be abusive to those with whom you disagree.
20 July 2014
John, you will be lucky to get an answer, they have reponded to nothing so far & they have so much to answer for!
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
19 July 2014
On one of the other forums a contributor is suggesting that WP is closing by end of September, can the Directors of Kew confirm this please?.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
15 July 2014
I am beginning to think that the Directors are wanting this debacle to use as an excuse of either getting DEFRA to contribute more money or to blame the NT for when they have to close down WP. This is why they are so quiet in answering the many questions being asked of them, they will suddenly come out of 'woodwork' with an announcement about the future - the writing is on the wall I am afraid!. If this post is not shown then maybe I am correct.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
15 July 2014
We now have thirty minutes free parking at WP, I wonder why. Your need that time to find the sign that gives you the car parking charges. The sign showing the charges was removed from the car park barriers,it now shows three types of visitors who can have free parking. No sorry NT members we are not included. Just before this sign is another stating 'National Trust members Free Entry To The Gardens' (note this is all in bold lettering) followed by parking charges apply. Many won't even notice it as you wind up the entrance road,having come off a busy road. Now where is the sign giving you the charges information,on the pathway to the main reception,written again in small print at the bottom of a poster detailing all other charges. So you have to park up,do you see the sign probably the answer is no. Right off you go for a lovely walk around the gardens and countryside,do the staff tell you about the charges,again I've never been told. Forgot to say most know me anyway,but the other day someone who didn't just allowed me in. After that walk you return to the main building what are you now thinking, a nice cup of tea and a cake oh no another bold sign coming up stating PARKING. That's when it hits you and it's right in the middle so you can't miss it this time NT members have to pay. Although again it's not in bold letters,unlike the other details warning you charges apply,or perhaps you want a Wakehurst season ticket. Didn't you see that poster on your way out to the garden,again probably not it's facing away from you. Kew Wakehurst must now becoming desperate to get our money, the car park from what I've seen since April is no way full like it used to be. Yes I'm enjoying my walks now,although it takes me more time as I park in the local village and walk in. The extra exercise is certainly good for my health.
15 July 2014
If, as mentioned below, staff at Wakehurst Place have actually removed the notice explaining the parking charges to National Trust members to a less obvious spot, then this is absolutely despicable, and one Wakehurst Place should be thoroughly ashamed of. What”s more it will only go to alienate even more National Trust members, and possibly the disabled, who will rightly feel they’ve been ‘had over,’ and not return in the future. So although it may go some way to help WP with their finances this year, it will. be even more of a disaster for them next year. It would appear that Wakehurst Place is beginning to reveal its true colours, and that is a lack of moral compass from what was a highly respected organisation. I also now begin to question the National Trusts part in this whole debacle, and as such am now considering reviewing my legacy to them, which believe me will cost them dearly.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
13 July 2014
Wakehurst update - Wakehurst Place have now started playing unfair unfair towards National Trust members,in an attempt to increase their finances. Yesterday the poster at the car park barriers showing the charges had been removed. There are no changes to what we pay,but now you have to pass the barrier,park up and head off to the main building where the daily fees are exhibited on the board heading towards the main reception. For many including the disabled,elderly and those with families it will mean going over the ten minute free time. The word I use is ENTRAPMENT. If you fail to notice the sign with the charges it going to cost. Some may have travelled from a distance and rush off to the toilets,others may be trapped in the shop or cafe. This will only cause more arguments with the beleaguered staff on the reception having to deal with dissatisfied customers,although I would think by now it's gone over most of their heads.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
12 July 2014
I am sorry to see my comment was stopped by the WP police, truth always hurts! We NT members require an apology for remarks made by the staff at WP!
12 July 2014
Wakehurst - I am surprised there has been no response from the management at Wakehurst in response to the fact signatures on the petition have now gone over 300! What is more worrying is the fact the signs that visibily displayed the car parking charges been removed, the only sign now displaying the charges is on the walk way to reception, so you have to leave your vehicle to realise! So this tends to confirm the type of management we are having to deal with, not only are they inept & incompetent at managing a budget, they also appear to be very devious in how they deal with their potential customers! Hopefully visitors will pick up on this! Those of us who have been dealing with them are already aware they conduct their business in a very dubious & questionable way, the consultation process is just one example. No wonder Wakehurst is losing support, their management team have done nothing to earn support, the only thing they are very good at is hiding & not answering for their actions!
11 July 2014
To Mary Topp, Wakehurst management should be ashamed of themselves. Have you signed the petition? See East Grinstead online or Wakehurst facebook site! Also consder a review on trip advisor.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
11 July 2014
In our mid eighties my husband we seldom get out and about, due to poor health on my part, but the electric buggies have meant that we are both able to fully enjoy the beautiful gardens, also it has been an opportunity to buy presents in the Gift Shop. We are very sad to know that we can no longer take advantage of our National Trust cards at Wakehurst Place.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
9 July 2014
comment withheld
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
9 July 2014
All NT members unimpressed with these charges please be aware there is a petition to get the charges dropped - it doesnt appear I am allowed to provide the link! Visit Wakehurst face book or East Grinstead online, every signature sends an email to Wakehurst
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
9 July 2014
I note you havnt published my link to the car parking petition, is it intended to hide this? NT members should be aware there is now a petition circulating against the car park charges.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
8 July 2014
Does anybody with any clout actually take the trouble to read all these comments ? Or are the Kew managers simply sticking their heads in the sand like ostriches ? How long before they actually have to admit they've made a massive error and bring a halt to these ridiculous parking charges ?
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
2 July 2014
I suspect this has already been raised, but I have been pondering further on the manner in which (or the direction in which) these parking charges have been weighted. I think that a normal day visitor to Wakehurst (not a member of the NT) is charged something like £12.50 to enter. As I understand it, these visitors do not pay additionally for their parking. So either they are getting their parking for free, or else they are paying £2.50 for entry! Either way, that does suggest an NT membership, which is not cheap, to be very poor value given that local NT members pay the hefty parking fees on top of their yearly or life subscription. NT members normally tend to visit the two or three properties which are closest to them, Wakehurst is (or was) one of the localities we would try to go to 2 or three times a year. Unless an NT member can visit enough properties with sufficient frequency, the membership works out quite costly - if Wakehurst is on your list then the cost of your membership escalates. Therefore I can see local membership numbers declining as well as overall visitors. Another thing I have noticed is that the very few postings and comments I have seen supporting this ridiculous strategy appear to be made by NT or Kew staff - making quite personal and at times very insulting remarks about the people who are justifiably upset and disappointed by the new parking rules. That has not helped the management to look good I'm afraid and further justifies my view that the organisations under discussion are entirely disconnected from reality. I appreciate that the staff at Wakehurst have had to deal with angry customers who are turning around and leaving as soon as they have arrived, but it would make more sense for the staff to consider the actions of people who have implemented these rules in the first place, rather than those who are suffering for it.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
1 July 2014
Mike Joyce Everyone agrees that Wakehurst is beautiful & Wakehurst is loved by many, so what are the senior managers doing! For June alone there are 34 reviews on trip advisor all of them mention Wakehurst in favourable terms, but go on to discuss the madness of the charges introduced & how badly managed this fisaco has been, 29 of the 34 are very critical! Surely you are aware of this! Comments like, doesn't make business sense, less spent in the cafe, rethink, parking debacle, stubborn refusal you got it wrong, shocked, angry, no one there, ghost town, lack of people quite striking, misguided, sad Wakehurst & practically empty are just a few! When are you going to take some positive action to stop the demise of these beautiful gardens! Why are your senior management hiding & avoiding the issues? Like · Reply · 15 minutes ago
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
30 June 2014
Siobhan, I read your comments with interest, well done, I presume you are aware of the reviews on trip advisor & Wakehurst FB! This has been so badly managed! The dubious & questionable consultation process is really annoying me, I have two versions,Andy Jackson suggests 40,000 email surveys were sent out to members giving the impression 40,000 had the chance to respond, but Kew state that 40,000 emails were sent to see if they qualified to respond for the survey, a big difference. About 1,790 responded & it was as a result of those responses the pricing was set! The main players in this were Andy Jackson, Director at Wakehurst & Andy Semple, NT Director.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
29 June 2014
I am so disappointed at the lack of response from Wakehurst management and the National Trust to the many complaints about the imposition of car parking charges. Why will they not answer the questions that have been raised about the email consultation process and its results? The National Trust is a charity supported by its members - why not treat them with respect and communicate with them? Kew, the leaseholder of Wakehurst, according to its website " is a non-departmental public body with exempt charitable status. We receive a substantial proportion of our annual funding as grant-in-aid from our sponsoring department, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)." If a body receives public money, I expect them to be accountable to the public, not to act as if the views of the public are of no consequence. Who made the decision to introduce car parking charges and who set the level of charges? Who made the decision to spend £200,000 on the car park to enable charging? If their revenue projections turn out to be optimistic, who will carry the can?
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
28 June 2014
Hello. And Bye.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
25 June 2014
Exactly right 'Lindsay D'. The handful of people that have shown any sympathy or support for the introduction of these charges have, like Wakehurst Place, Kew and the National Trust, chosen to completely ignore simple financial logic and the facts. The only point I would make is that I believe that the prime mover in this has been Kew. It is Kew that signed the lease in 1965; it is Kew that knew full well the terms of the lease; it is Kew that have undertaken profligate spending DESPITE not having the income to support that spending; it is Kew that then wanted to introduce an entrance charge for NT members and when the NT refuse, subsequently introduced a 'parking charge' aimed solely at NT members, making it by definition an entrance charge on NT members. The NT appear to have been dogmatic and apathetic, over-seeing Kew spending £200,000 to install the parking infrastructure, which apparently has an annual running cost of £14,000, simply to target NT members. By allowing this shambles they have created alienation between Kew's Wakehurst Place staff and NT members. If, as it appears, the NT were insistent on upholding the terms of the lease I have no problems with that but they should NOT then have allowed Kew to target ONLY NT members with charges at Wakehurst Place which I suspect in a civil court could be shown to constitute and represent - in practical terms - an entrance fee for NT members. They should thus have insisted that Kew not impose these charges and/or have invoked the terms of the lease, if necessary by taking civil action and/or terminating the lease. Mis-management and financial mis-management on the part of Kew Wakehurst Place - apathy and inaction on the part the National Trust.
25 June 2014
Well said Lindsay, I totally agree with everything. Unfortunately the management involved still seem to be in place! Andy Semple NT director involved from an early stage & someone who has totally ignored NT members views! I initially had an email response from him but when I started to ask questions he told me he wouldnt communicate further, I think the NT have lost sight of the fact that customer support should be important to any organisation. Andy Jackson who appears to be in charge at Wakehurst & recently asked for NT members support because of the 50% reduction in visitors has failed to respond to question raised, especially regarding the dubious & questionable consultation process, I don't believe the figure of 40,000! The information on this matter provided by Kew differs to that mentioned by Andy Jackson!
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
24 June 2014
Given that visitor numbers have dropped by catastrophic proportions I think it's true to say that most managers making financial blunders of this magnitude would be expected to step down. I would be interested to know if this is the case at the NT. Whoever introduced these charges is remarkably incompetent and shows no basic understanding of marketing or accounting. I am also very suspicious of the assertions that 40,000 local members were consulted - I know quite a few fellow members and I have not yet encountered any who were involved in the process - nor were the warnings of members acknowledged prior to the introduction of these extortionate parking charges. Clearly honesty, basic maths and foresight is not a requirement in an NT management role.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
23 June 2014
If income falls in the cafes and shop it will predominantly be as a result of NT members NOT visiting due to extortionate entrance charges (masqaurading as parking charges). Therefore loss of turnover and profit will NOT be offset by income from parking! QED. It's simple logic not high level economics. As for NT refusing to contribute to Kew for the running of WP, Kew were fully aware of the terms of the lease when they entered into it. They were fully aware of their income (or lack of income from NT or NT members) at every stage since taking the lease, including when undertaking their profligate spending. Just suppose the terms of the lease had not included that NT members should be granted free entry and that as a result WP had just been exclusively for Kew members. Kew would, of course, not had the £80,000 annual endowment but would it have undertaken the same level of spending - entrance complex, lake restoration, £800,000 farm purchase, etc? If the answer is 'yes', then it is profligate and out of control; if the answer is 'no', then why has it gone ahead with such spending in the very knowledge that NT visitors do not (and should not under the terms of the lease) pay to enter? Once again we have assertions that NT could not run WP or get anyone to run WP for £80,000 pa. Well, in fact, they did get someone to run WP for that sum - it was in 1965 and the tenant in question was Kew. So, it is Kew that has failed. And I've yet to understand or be given any evidence why NT could not run WP itself, it runs dozens of similar properties across the country, properties with much lower visitor numbers than WP. If Kew can't manage WP and they clearly have some serious management and financial management issues, they should relenquish the lease, not belly-ache about changing the terms. By their own admission they are currently contravening the terms, by impossing a parking charge on NT members, "because the NT would not allow [us] to imposs an entry charge". So it IS an entrance charge, shown by the fact that it is impossed on dissabled drivers and on mototcyclists regardless, 'who are NT members'. The charge is being levied on the member, not the vehicle. I think there are lawyers that would fight and win that one in a civil court. But make no mistake, although I see no reason why a charity (NT) should fund or 'bail out' a failing government 'agency' (Kew), I am not a NT member simply defending the NT. I think their management of this fiasco has been abysmal, not least because it has resulted in alienation between Kew members (and staff) and NT members. Both organisations will come to regret their actions (and inactions) in this shambles.
23 June 2014
Complaints about the way the fiasco is being managed at Wakehurst will do a lot, people should complain about inept management otherwise nothing changes. If NT visitors are already down by 50% thats approximately 150,000 visitors over the year not using the cafe, resturant & shop. If you read trip advisor & other sites, many who did visit have stated they will not return, that 50% will probably increase, will the facilities survive with buisiness down like that, they are already being described as empty. I don't agree with some comments that money spent in the cafe etc doesnt help Wakehurst, there must be some profit from NT members spending there! Many NT members are not going to be ripped off like this so what are Kew going to do as the situation is not improving! If they were going to charge to park it should have been just £2 & payable by everyone, not just targeting NT members. There is also the issue of how this was managed, the dubios & questionable consultation process! To date Andy Jackson has failed to answer any of the questions raised. It doesnt look good for Wakehurst!
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
22 June 2014
We often enjoy Wakehurst Place especially in Winter which may sound odd but with frost and snow on the ground it is lovely to just have a stroll around. You can do a bit of Christmas shopping and have soup and a roll or cake and a cup of tea ( often both) and go home relaxed. I understand funds are tight and money needs to be found so I can accept three to five pounds for parking but without a time limit. Nobody likes to clock watch when you are meandering about a beautiful garden or eating. So come on Wakehurst ten pounds is extortion for anything over 2 hours. Back it off a bit and everybody can be happy. NT members spend and donate money, but nobody likes being ripped off and that is exactly how this new parking system appears.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
22 June 2014
As Kew get nothing from NT members the only money they will lose with this policy is spend in the shops and cafes. So long as the drop in profit from these is less than they increase in income from parking it will achieve what they need, which is more income to go towards the costs. Complaints will not change anything. Given the NT's continuing refusal to give Kew any realistic contribution for their visiting members, perhaps the sensible solution is for Kew to retreat their activities at Wakehurst to the land they own, Havelock Farm and the Seed Bank, with anything that can't be accommodated moving to their main site in Kew itself, left in place or sold, and to charge a separate entrance fee that covers their costs. This clearly would include moving plants, gardens and infrastructure, so would take some time, but once completed Kew can hand back the lease on the rest of the estate and let the NT do what they want with it. Maybe Kew could even offer to manage it on behalf of the NT for a reasonable fee and joint tickets issued? I doubt that the NT will find anyone to manage their estate for £80,000 per year, though.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
21 June 2014
The NT don't appear to care about what is happenning at Wakehurst & Kew who manage it display appalling management, this has now shown a 50% reduction in visitor numbers since the car park charges were introduced. The charges are only targeted at NT members & they hope to reduce the deficit of £1.4 million! The introduction of car park charges was preceeded by a very dubious consultation process were local NT members were supposed to be involved, this is questionable & I do have further detaila in anyone is interested? Many local members confirm they were not consulted, all questions to the NT & Kew are being ignored, I can't think why! The car park at WP was upgraded for the introduction of charges, the cost was a staggering £200,000 & this was when they already had a deficit! The inept management is found throughout & both organisations should be ashamed of their conduct in this matter. See numerous reviews on trip advisor & other sites.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
17 June 2014
Last week I drove down from Oxfordshire, a two hour journey, to visit and to once again see the area where we had planted and paid for, a Living Memory of crocus. I spend a few hours walking round the grounds, having coffee and lunch plus looking around the gift shop and plants. I usually purchase several things as presents and perhaps something for myself, as I did on this occasion. This took me about three hours for which I was charged the £10 parking fee. Most of the people walking around appeared to be of the mature generation and pensioners like myself. For us to enjoy the experience it would not be practicable to tear around in under two hours in order to pay the £5 parking fee thus avoiding the £10 charge. My funds are very limited but I looked forward to these visits. Under the circumstances I will have to reconsider and come just for the two hours, not having lunch or looking and purchasing in the shop. My visits would drop to maybe once a year or every two. You will have, therefore, lost the additional income from my 'over two hour visit'. I am sure I am not alone in this way of thinking. I am a National Trust Member and to become a Friend of Wakehurst at a cost of £25 per year is even more than the £20 I would pay for two visits per year. I understand the need for funds but after reading the above you will surely see how it is your loss as people like myself will think twice about coming. What a pity you could not have graded the fee on an hourly basis and pay perhaps a pound for each hour spent there. £10 is understandable for a family wishing to spend a day but not, I'm afraid, for a someone like myself coming on their own. What a shame you are pricing yourself out of the market.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
13 June 2014
The luxury bag maker Mulberry recently increased the cost of their bags by 100%, but within days had to reverse that decision after their sales slumped. Is there a lesson to be learnt here?
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
13 June 2014
We went to Wakehurst for the first time yesterday and oh, what beautiful gardens on a beautiful day. We had a lovely lunch in the Stables restaurant - however, alas we won't be repeating this due to the ridiculously high parking charges. What on earth are management thinking of? It's crazy and if we ever go again (which won't be for a good while) we will take a thermos flask and picnic lunch to save on costs - please rethink this nonsense strategy and at the very least REDUCE parking costs
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
7 June 2014
As per previous comments - the car park today was half empty - a gloriously sunny Saturday. we turned straight round and headed for Nymans instead of visiting Wakehurst. I hope the short-sightedness of the scheme is now apparent, with no increase in revenue for Kew and loss of NT visitors. I wonder what the café franchise owners make of it all!? Surely a better compromise between NT and Kew could have been reached. Perhaps if Kew cannot make money from the site they should sell on their interest?.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
7 June 2014
What were the board thinking...? The 'trust' in National Trust is in grave danger unless those elected, listen to the members and ACT before the damage to it's reputation is terminal. I note one or two positive comments, though, I suspect they come from people who don't have any problem paying the annual NT subscription in 'their' world. Let's not be side tracked by the high parking charges either, the whole ethos of NT membership is easy access to our heritage at affordable prices and subscriptions must surely be the life blood of the organisation. Applying parking charges has a cost in itself for equipment and staffing, it also represents a hassle and in this case additional cost to members who ALREADY pay! I absolutely support the work that Kew does, but it should not have put the NT in this position and the NT board should not have bowed to such pressure from its tenant. End this damaging debacle now by calling an extraordinary meeting to reverse this decision, apologise to the membership, even if it means the seed bank at Wakefield Place must find a new home.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
7 June 2014
I have been a frequent NT visitor, and like many of the others commenting here would commonly have lunch or a coffee and perhaps purchase a plant or two before leaving. We intended to pop in last weekend, but left immediately as we didn't plan to pay £5 to park. As an observation, the car park was unusually empty for a sunny Saturday in June. We struggled to find a space in the overflow car park at nearby Nymans. We were lucky to get a table in the cafe there and they has nearly run out of the geraniums we wanted. (Total spend £25 on a passing visit). Presumably that's all covered in the business plan though....
6 June 2014
I have just cancelled my direct debit joint National Trust membership as a protest to the car parking charges at Wakehurst Place. That was our favourite local NT venue. Until the charges are abolished (or greatly reduced), we will not re-join the NT.
4 June 2014
I understand the reasons for imposing the car park charges but I feel that more consideration of the varying types of visitor should have been taken into account when the charges were applied. Local NT members such as myself (from Worth, Crawley) would normally drop in regularly throughout the year usually for an hour at a time, buying refreshments and taking/encouraging any visitors along too, but the parking charges have made this pattern of visiting prohibitive. A cheap hourly rate up to an hour or two hours would have been fairer for frequent visitors and for those travelling from farther afield, who are making a day trip of it, there could be half day and day rates. I have already stopped visiting Kew Gardens because of the steep entrance fee and it's a shame that 'Kew in the Country' is also not catering for the frequent, short stop visitor.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
4 June 2014
Yes I support Wakehurst lovely countryside and enjoy my walks three or four times a week. However as a National Trust member I now walk in parking in the village and use the public footpaths,so I'm getting it for free. At one time I did give a voluntary donation but having now read through all the documentation regarding finances etc,I've stopped doing so. Bad management throughout. Members have stopped going,I've seen this the car park is half empty and the place deserted. I certainly don't want a season ticket, who wants to spend more money travelling to Kew and then have to buy a full priced ticket for their partner. There are cheaper options elsewhere to get in. Ten per cent off shopping when the prices are already inflated and most of the items are rubbish. Yes I would have paid for a car park season ticket but now find it easier to walk in. Many young and elderly couples are struggling with finances and budget for a car and petrol,they cannot find extra revenue as suggested by one comment on here. Income may be up,but once the season ticket threshold has been reached and NT members who have paid and now decide not to go again this will drop.
4 June 2014
I think Wakehurst is brilliant. The season ticket is fantastic value. Surely if you can afford to run a car and an NT membership then you can afford the £25 for a Wakehurst season ticket. This will help keep this extraordinary place going. You can visit every single day for a year, visit Kew once, have free parking, and something off any purchases. But you can of course travel there by bus and take a picnic and you don't have to buy anything in the shop or the cafes. Please support Wakehurst
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
2 June 2014
What planet are these people on? Absolutely ludicrous car-parking charges that will deter us from ever visiting again. We would be quite happy to pay reasonable hourly rates, but this stepped-charge is nothing more than daylight robbery by a management team that seems to lack any sense of business acumen whatsoever. Do they actually want people to visit? I can think of no better mechanism to deter people from experiencing what has always been a delightful garden. Shame on you !
1 June 2014
I concur entirely that the senior management have been inept and arrogant in the way they have brought I these ludicrous car parking charges. However no wish to see the demise of Wakehurst I offered to buy A Wakehurst card for £25 cash. Response Complete a direct debit form. I refused. Then you must pay £30. Then to add insult to injury they took my photo lest I tried to lend it to friends. So no thanks for buying a card. It was a lovely sunny day and we much enjoyed our visit. The shop used to be a delight with beautiful and interesting items to to purchase But now dreary with reduced merchandise . The garden has always been A disappointment. Surely Kew should sell some exotic and unusual plants Arranged with flare. WAKE UP WAKEHURST. We love you but................. Cc WAKE UP WAKEHURST. We love you but............... Cc
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
1 June 2014
I am an NT member who until recently use to regularly visit Wakehurst. We would always have tea and cake in the cafe go for a walk and buy lunch in the restaurant. We would spend money there. I refuse to pay for parking when there are some many other comparably beautiful NT properties I can use that respect the fact that I have already paid via my membership fee. Myself and many NT members I have spoken to about this are appalled by this decision and will not be returning to Wakehurst until the parking charges have been removed
1 June 2014
The weather yesterday looked promising and my wife and I sat discussing where to spend the day. We finally decided on Wakehurst as we really enjoy the restaurant. Having not seen the news of the imposition of parking charges we were really shocked, not only to see the barriers, but to then see how much we had to pay. We instantly regretted our choice. Making the most of it, we spent our usual 3-4 hours walking in the wonderful gardens (the house was, as often, closed for a private event!). With lunch and teas we spent almost £50 in the restaurant, then more money in the bakery and shop. Probably £80 in total. To be then asked to pay £10 to park is a joke. Never before at a weekend have we been able to park in the actual car park - we have always previously had to park in the field. This time we found plenty of space right by the entrance. In the past, the restaurant was always bustling. Not this time. Not one other person was in the serving area and 90% of the tables were empty. Overhearing conversations during our visit, we constantly heard people discussing how iniquitous the parking charge was. When I spoke to the very nice lady collecting the car park fees she told me that visitor numbers had crashed. It is very easy to say we can park free if we pay £25 on top of our NT membership. We, like many others, will take the simpler option and just go elsewhere. That's a shame. We love Wakehurst and fully support the work of Kew, but this is just a rip off.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
31 May 2014
Today has been my last visit to Wakehurst due to the exhorbitent price to park. I understand the reason for charging but it should be more in line with places like Windsor Park where the most one would pay is £6.00. I understand that visitor numbers are down but income is up which comes as no surprise as people have travelled some distance for a day out so they have succumbed to paying the parking charge but alas it will most probably be their last visit like me.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
28 May 2014
I understand that RBG Kew spent £800,000 on the purchase of Havelock Farm on the Wakehurst Estate in 2012-13. And in their application for DEFRA approval for this expenditure, they wrote "The purchase of Havelock Farm by the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew is essential in developing the Millennium Seed Bank into a centre of excellence for plant science and horticulture supporting national and international plant conservation. In developing this vision, RBG Kew needs to secure sufficient land to accommodate the plan and it is clear that the existing holding does not offer a source of land for this purpose." (from DEFRA Spending Approvals 2012-13 Q1&Q2 ). Perhaps Kew Management would therefore like to explain why this was sanctioned by their Directors at a time when their Operating deficit was signficantly growing and growing ? And whether, in light of this, they consider it morally acceptable to then/now impose monumental parking charges purely on NT members visiting ? (80% of their Cafe, Restaurant, Garden Centre and Shop purchasing visitors).
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
26 May 2014
Yes - I would like to report some abuse. The abuse and victimisation in question is to the 80% (NT Members) of your previously loyal visitors. Together we have spent what must be many many thousands and thousands of pounds in your cafe, restaurant, shop and garden center over the years. We may not have paid to walk through your door, but have done so in many other ways to enjoy the place (and very willingly I might add). It would not surprise me, if you were able to analyse it, to find that we actually spent more in these areas than those who had paid to enter. Or rather those who had perhaps not already paid a membership fee to a parent organisation. Quite frankly I echo all that has already been said. To make the charges is one thing. To impose them at such extortionate levels is another. I see that for a car park next to Haywards Heath main line station one can park for 24hrs for £4.20 on a Saturday and £1 on a Sunday or Bank Holiday. One can even park for up to 24hours if taking a trip to London and staying overnight for less than £7.50 ( see .... http://en.parkopedia.co.uk/parking/carpark/haywards_heath_station/rh16/haywards_heath/ ). Whoever thought that the charges being imposed would be palatable to anyone should more than think again. The even greater targeting of the elderly and disabled (less mobile) who may well not be able to "race around" in the shorter charging time periods and therefore feel totally pressurised to coughing up the £10, is frankly appalling. An enormously short sighted decision to put this in place. The populus and nearer the 100% of the 80%, not 40% as you seem to envisage, will leave you for good. Anyone who is prepared and able to walk into Wakehurst still, will also make a point of not spending one penny in the cafe, restaurant, shop or garden center. My recommendation to you is to revoke these charges. Do the decent thing and do the U-Turn, before it is too late and the damage becomes terminal for you and Wakehurst becomes lost for all.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.

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