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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.

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

21 April 2014
Maybe some form of petition would show NT how their members are feeling? I understand the financial requirements and a shortfall must be dealt with but this will have a massive knock-on effect that will impact Kew too. A few pounds is understandable but ten is enough for me to take my two kids to London for the day on the train which seems illogical. A shame but great for the smaller NT places as their shops and cafes will be very popular! We won't be going until this is changed.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
20 April 2014
IMPORTANT MESSAGE to MEMBERS of all of KEW'S RECIPROCAL PROPERTIES including Bedgebury Pinetum and Westonbirt Arboretum among others. THE NT PARKING CHARGES ALSO APPLY TO YOU ! Friends of Kew will of course continue to enjoy their free parking in addition to free admission and parking at several non Kew properties. I wonder how much revenue Wakehurst expects to generate from reciprocal members. Our Friends of Bedgebury membership gives us free entry to nearby Borde Hill Garden which we now visit instead.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
20 April 2014
We hold National Trust Scotland cards so were totally unaware of the car parking charges. What a shock! We have been regular visitors for some 6 years and when we have family stay, take them with us (they obviously have to pay for day entry). It has been a great place to teach our children about the various trees, plants & wildlife but due to these excessive parking charges (i.e. £10 - yes, I couldn't believe it myself - TEN POUNDS - TO PARK!!!!!) we will be unable to visit again. Such a shame. In this tough economic environment, families are already squeezed and have to watch where every penny is spent so all bills can be met. This car parking charge policy is preventing families in the future from showing and teaching their children all the beauty that is at Wakehurst. I understand that funds have to be raised but agree with previous comments that £2 per car per day would be a much more fairer way of raising said funds. To have a 'free' ticket (and don't forget we already have to pay almost £100 for this 'free' ticket) and not be able to use it unless we pay extra for excessive parking, feels like we are being held to ransom for our wish to visit this site. Our previous visits have always included buying gifts (almost impossible not to do when you have kids) and plants (we love our gardening) and snacks (yet again, family gets hungry) and so our 'FREE' NT ticket always involved extra costs. In previous years we have shopped at Wakehurst for unusual Christmas gifts for friends and family. WHO ON EARTH WILL DO THIS IF HAVING TO PAY FOR PARKING AT THE SAME TIME! Cannot express how upset/angry/disappointed/let-down/frustrated we feel about this policy. Please review. Wakehurst was not opened to the public just for the elite but this is what you have turned it into.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
20 April 2014
I was shocked today to be charged £10 parking for a 3 hour visit to Wakehurst. I think it will stop people visiting. I agree with charging but £10 is far too much. Very disappointed. I won't be going again.
19 April 2014
KW - The National Trust got £27,980,327 in Gift Aid from the Taxpayer in 2012-13, the largest amount of any charity in the UK. Both charities do good work, both get substantial Taxpayer funding. It is ridiculous that NT members are complaining that Kew members and Wakehurst members continue to pay nothing for parking. Kew members are paying £72 a year to Kew to use Wakehurst and Kew Gardens, Wakehurst members £25 a year just for Wakehurst and NT members pay £58 for 300+ sites, of which just a handful of pennies goes to Wakehurst whilst most of their money goes to make the competing NT sites better. It's clear that Kew have tried to get a fairer deal from the NT and failed, and I'm sure they'd just prefer either the same member credit as any other NT property, or at least to put a levy of, say, £3 on each NT member accessing Wakehurst, but they clearly aren't being allowed to do this. £10 for parking, when the average car is probably occupied by about 3 NT members, is going to be around the same, £3.33 per member, which isn't an extortionate amount. Obviously unfair on cars with fewer occupants, but what other choice is there? I went to Wakehurst yesterday (Good Friday) on my Friends of Kew membership and it was brilliant. For a Bank Holiday it was wonderfully quiet and parking was easy, although still the tarmaced part of the car park was almost full. At the very least this change has made the visiting experience better for those who are actually contributing to Kew - coming from a long distance I'd have never taken the risk of missing out on a car park space on a Bank Holiday previously. Well done to Kew for biting the bullet - even though I'm not convinced that this will solve the funding problem.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
19 April 2014
If I had a bus pass id use it. Unfortunately in our family were too young to do so. We rely on getting around by car. Nt + kew = RIP OFF... and they know it...
18 April 2014
Me and my fiancé decided to visit Wakehurst today 18/04/2014 for a lovely day out at wakehurst. I didn't know that they had introduced car park charges. It was not even clear where we had to pay ( no paying machine at all) after staying 2 and half hours. When asked the car park people they said I need to pay £10 for 2 and half hours and cash handed over. I thought its pure rip off. I used to go few times a year and have a good day out at Wakehurst place. But this was my last visit as I got so furious for ridiculous over charge. If it was for £1 or £2 pounds a day understandable but £10 it's clearly not acceptable.
18 April 2014
Seems to me I will be parking in a local lane just outside the gardens. These are not restricted therefore free with no risk of a fine.
18 April 2014
£10 per day. What a rip off. Bad move Kew. National Trust members will just choose to go to one of the other many NT properties in the local area. Your visitor numbers will drop, your shop and restaurant sales will drop, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if you end up reversing this poor decision.
18 April 2014
I would like to agree with all of the previous comments about the charges being extortionate and very probably commercial suicide, when you consider loss of income from shop and cafe sales. Like many other people I know we won't be visiting in the future and I would urgently ask Kew to review this bizarre decision. Wakehurst's loss will be Nymans, Standen, Sheffield Park and Petworth's gain.
17 April 2014
Yes- what a good way to make a saving - start with the people who made this decision.
17 April 2014
How sad. Another example of high handed decision making by an executive out of touch with the views of the members. R B G should spend more of its budget in the U K (where the money comes from) instead of conspiring with the NT to fleece its members for a £10.00 admission charge.
17 April 2014
Kew gets £14.5m a year from the taxpayer. The NT doesn't. Take a look at kews accounts on the charity commission website if you want to see how it's spent. There's nothing scandalous there, it all looks perfectly reasonable, but 14.5 million is still a seriously large amount of income. How much do you think is spent on Sheffield park each year? I doubt it's a fraction of that.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
17 April 2014
Within the business plan there is a strange statement - "...it is unlikely that any National Trust members would have joined the National Trust primarily to access Wakehurst Place, as a far cheaper option already exists. " I suspect this conclusion is untrue for many, if not most, of the "...71,000 unique adult National Trust visitors to Wakehurst Place, who make 215k visits pa (i.e. an average of 3.0 visits per National Trust member each year)." It is certainly untrue for my family. We joined the NT because it allowed us as much access to wakehurst as we wanted (and being local we go there a lot) but also allows us entry to other NT properties when on holiday etc. I can only think of one other NT property outside our local area (nymans, sheffield park) that we have visited more than once in the 12 years that we've been members (Batemans). Entry to wakehurst is not free, by the way – as taxpayers we pay through the £14m DEFRA grant. Other NT properties do not benefit from grants like this so it is disingenuous for kew to suggest they are hard done by through the lack of funding from the NT. The introduction of such extortionate parking charges at wakehurst seems like a cynical move by kew to force NT members to effectively pay for wakehurst membership on top of NT membership, in other words to make NT membership irrelevant. While I recognise that £25 for annual wakehurst membership is not a kings ransom it feels like there is a principle at stake here, that such cynicism shouldn't go unpunished, so I shall take pleasure in continuing to visit wakehurst having parked somewhere in ardingly (won’t the residents love this!) and making a point of never spending a single cent in the shop or café. Kew, be reasonable. We all get it that wakehurst needs additional income and that nothing in life is free. But don’t penalise NT members, share the pain out equally and fairly. £2 - £3 parking for everyone would not feel so extortionate and the £25 annual ticket with free parking starts to feel more like it used to i.e. a scheme for very frequent visitors who are not particularly interested in other NT properties. £10 is just plain stupid.
17 April 2014
As NT members we go to Wakehurst with our 2 children a number of times a year. We are planning to go today during Easter school half term, just checked and found the new car park charges, had no idea these were happening. Not very well publicised. Basically £10 is too much. Surely £5 max for all would have been better. Whenever we went, nobody ever seemed to 'pay' on the door for entrance, so it was only a matter of time before they realised NT members were using most of the facilities, with no income to Kew. A rather strange set up, it's either ALL Kew owned or NT owned, a combination of both doesn't work financially. Just mentioned the £10 parking to my ten year old son, who said "that's the same price you pay to park for 4 hours on Brighton Madeira Drive seafront", and we all know that's a rip-off. I suspect people will still pay, but it will prevent some from going to a lovely botanical gardens. It's like saying only the elite and privileged are wealthy enough to learn about the beautiful science of plants and gardens, and the rest of the masses aren't welcome.....'Separating the wheat from the chaff'. I suspect this is only the start, and NT members will find increasingly that they have to pay new NT car park charges and historic house charges (already an additional house charge at Polesden Lacey, which is why we never go into the house anymore). You start to wonder exactly what your NT membership is for. Anyway £10 too much, bring it down to a lower charge so that it is more affordable to the masses who enjoy a beautiful English botanical garden.
17 April 2014
We went to visit Wakehurst yesterday and found the barriers for the car park. £10 per day is just ludicrous. It was explained that 90% of visiters were NT members and they were the only ones who are affected by the new charges. So we as NT members will not be going back as I suspect will a lot of other NT members. Lets see how viable there great investment in facility's will be if a lot of the visitors stop going. Add to that who knows how much the new barrier system will cost to maintain so maybe this fleacing of NT members will make the accounts even worse. Whilst we enjoy Wakehurst its not our only destination.
16 April 2014
Agree with all those who will be deterred from visiting Wakehurst as a result of these charges - so many other alternatives for NT members - I'd have been happier with a £1.00 per hour max £4 - I used to call in just for a coffee and shop previously - alas no more.
16 April 2014
Just in time for Easter Weekend! Poor show. We went to Wakehurst this morning, arrived at the barriers took our ticket drove through the car park and promptly left! We use to be regular visitors to Wakehurst always stopping for lunch ( usually spending about £25), not any more. I wondered why on Sunday, people were queuing to go into Nymans.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
16 April 2014
My parents visited today - they are 81 and 79 and therefore could not walk round and have a coffee there in under 2 hours so they would have had to pay £10. They left - so no profit in the cafe then. Also they have a disabled badge and they are not exempt from the charges. I think probably the cafe and shop workers should think about the risk of losing their jobs as I am sure this outrageous charge (£10 as most people make it a day-out) will make Wakehurst a very very quiet place!!! I think a quick U-TURN is in order!!!!!
16 April 2014
Arrived at Wakehurst this morning. Only to be stopped at barriers of the car park. We collected the ticket and went straight out!! We use to come to Wakehurst on a regular basis for lunch and a walk, ( spending approx £25 ) each time. If parking fees continue we won't be returning.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
16 April 2014
The no 82 Metrobus goes to Wakehurst from Haywards Heath. If you are a NT member and have a bus pass you can do the whole trip for free.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
16 April 2014
Like a large number of NT members I arrived at Wakehurst Place today and was very surprised to find that as a group we were being targeted for car parking charges. It would appear that NT members are the only people compelled to pay these charges to visit the grounds. I have visited many NT sites and have been happy to pay for parking when this has been required. However this is normally at a reasonable cost of £2 or so for the day. A charge of £10 per day is a total rip off and amounts to exploitation of NT members. I understand that NT members amount to some 80% of the visitors to Wakehurst Place. Are we seen as a cash cow to be milked dry? This approach is short sighted and I anticipate that many members like my wife and I will choose to boycott Wakehurst Place. During each visit we always purchase food and drinks and my wife invariably purchases plants so clearly this policy will reduce your income from us and I am sure many other NT members in the future. It is a pity that we will miss out on visiting your lovely grounds but fortunately the SE has many beautiful areas of countryside that can be visited for free! We will have to think seriously about renewing our annual NT in the future
16 April 2014
Nymans Standen Sheffield Park Polesdon Lacey Chartwell Toys Hill Emmetts Knole Ightham Mote ... to name but a few alternatives ...
15 April 2014
We visit Wakehurst Place at least twice a year as a couple and take both our parents there when they visit. We always buy food, drink, and more often than not plants and gifts. We do not object with a parking charge, be it a couple of pounds per day. BUT, £10 a day!!! ludicrous! We are not willing to pay £25 for annual ticket, we cannot and will not be forced into spending this amount of money to be entrapped into basically being made to visit to reach value for money, especially when there are so many other properties we can visit in the area. I can understand why they are doing this, but there are so many more different ways to go about this in a more ethical and visitor friendly way! We thoroughly enjoy all our visits, and planned to return at least every few weeks this summer just my husband and I. We last visited two weekends ago to be told of fourth coming parking charges. I must say it spoilt our day to a degree. The day was beautiful but we enjoyed it with a heavy heart knowing we probably would not return, at least not for the next few years, until there would be new attractions, something to make the visit worth paying for through the nose. Honestly, we are truly devastated that NT members are being targeted like this. Very sad and we will be deciding whether to cancel our membership upon renewal and taking our Business elsewhere. Good luck Wakehurst, you will need it.
15 April 2014
Why penalize National Trust members? Surely if you have a cash flow problem a nominal increase across everything is fairer. Most National Trust members will go to one of the many other lovely place nearby. We will not be coming again which is a shame as we love Wakehurst. I think at the end of the day your takings will be down because people will not be using your restaurant or visiting the garden centre and shop. Perhaps if you charged everybody a nominal fee of £2.00 that would have been fairer . A fee of £10.00 is unreasonable especially as we are pensioners on a fixed income.
15 April 2014
Our family are NT members and my mum took up life membership. When my dad died she took out a bequest in his name for a substantial sum of money to help fund the bluebell wood and a couple of other projects in his name. All because she could no longer buy him Birthday/Christmas presents. Can I say she is NOT made of money but wanted something to remember her husband by. His name is on the remembrance screens in the seed bank. As a result of these very expensive parking charges we certainly won't be coming very often, if at all, so that she can visit the seed bank and sit quietly to remember my dad and see his name of the screen. Now I know Kew is not the NT and I can understand them wanting to make revenue, but charging £10 to NT members (and it is £10 as no one stays for less than 2 hours because of the sheer size of the place) I think is really over priced. Why could you not charge as many people said £2.00 per car no matter whether you are NT or a member of Kew. English heritage does that at Battle Abbey (We pay £1 to park in their car park each time we visit) and I have no problem with that. I feel this is a really shortsighted decision with no thought for people like my mum who has given a personal donation towards Kew's projects at Wakehurst. I hope you decide to change your policy or at least lower these charges due to the amount of money you are likely to lose through NT members not visiting and therefore not spending in your restaurant/shop.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
14 April 2014
Having walked into Wakehurst this morning as I knew the charges started,I was dismayed with your signs. No indication of the charges at the entrance,this is entrapment as once in you have to make a decision but that's only when you reach the reception. Many NT members are still not aware that they are being victimised. It's not free entry as we are paying a £10 entrance fee as those buying day tickets only pay £12.50. Am I correct in saying that entry then is only £2.50 as they are also paying £10 towards their car parking fee. If this is not so I'm sure Trading Standards would like to know about your unfair policy towards NT members. And yes I agree the NT should pay towards Wakehurst we pay them enough through our membership.
14 April 2014
PLEASE NOTE: THE CAR PARKING BARRIERS AND PARKING CHARGES ARE NOW IN FORCE. We went to Wakehurst this morning for what we thought would be our last visit to find that the car park barriers were in place and operational. I had telephoned Wakehurst yesterday to ask when the charges were going to come into force and they told me sometime this week. We thought we best visit asap before the charges come into force, but unfortunately we were too late. We turned around at the entrance and headed off to Sheffield Park where we had a pleasant time exploring the gardens without the feeling of being constrained by time. We won't be visiting Wakehurst again unless they come to their senses and do a u turn on these over the top parking charges. Suffice to say we won't be renewing our membership with the NT when it comes up for renewal, as Wakehurst was our closest (and favourite) NT place that we are now unable to afford to visit.
14 April 2014
I wrote to the National Trust and got the usual "corporate" reply, i.e. no attempt to address the issues. This is a divisive issue, as it affects only NT members. The restaurants are run by contractors, who will take the hit. I don't know about the shops. The RBG will have achieved their goal, which is to cut what they see as us "freeloading" NT members who use Wakehurst mainly for leisure purposes. It is outrageous that the NT went along with it. If the RBG can't manage their finances properly, why should NT members alone pick up the tab? My wife and I will cancel our membership, but neither the RBG nor NT will lose any sleep over that. They might do if ALL the complainants did so, as most of these organisations will react when hit in the pocket. Of course, we would suffer ourselves, as all NT doors would be closed to us, but sometimes you just have to make a stand. Maybe it's time that the RBG took over Wakehurst, which would be an honest approach and would leave us to decide whom we wanted to visit and support.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
14 April 2014
I am so outraged at the parking charges that I have steam coming from my ears. I had planned a nice day out with my wife to celebrate my birthday today, but turned up to find the parking charges and came right out again. We were planning lunch and would no doubt had bought things from the shop. We were so disgusted that we shall never visit Wakehurst again. Thanks for spoiling what should have been a nice day out.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
14 April 2014
Was disgusted to arrive at Wakehurst place today and find the car park charges. We turned straight around and out again. We had intended lunch and no doubt would have bought something from the shop. Wakehurst has lost our custom and I won't be renewing my national trust membership as visiting Wakehurst was one of the main reasons we joined. This is a place I have taken many family members to in the past but unless the parking charges are rescinded, then never again. So disgusted!
14 April 2014
My former work colleagues and I are all retired and life NT members. We use Wakehurst as a place to meet, have a coffee, a walk and talk, and then lunch. We all come from different directions ranging from Eastbourne to Guildford so not practical to use public transport. As our visit lasts over 2 hours for the five of us this will cost £50 in parking. This just makes it unaffordable to us. Such a shame for we have enjoyed many times there and you loose income to the restaurants. Perhaps Kew should leave and be run by the NT who ran Wakehurst when I joined many years ago.
13 April 2014
I will keep this short, we were planning a visit over Easter with friends to Wakehurst Place, Having checked out the parking charges we are going to a different NT venue in the area. your loss.
13 April 2014
I think the introduction of parking charges is disagreeable, feels wrong and is underhand in the sense that as a local I paid my NT subscription fee with regular visits to Wakehurst in mind. It's cheating honest people out of their money because this parking fee plan was announced after membership fees were paid. If something feels wrong, it probably is wrong. It's bad policy to offend your regular users. A £2 blanket fee is one answer that would cause less offence and possibly increase your revenue.
11 April 2014
As a businessman myself, I can pretty much guarantee these parking charges are likely to be financial suicide, foot fall is everything in a modern attraction. This will reduce it considerably. Personally I would get a decent manager into the shop, and concentrate on selling what Kew is world famous for - Plants. No one would object to a small charge for NT members, as it's not a NT site. £10 for parking ? - Bizarre decision...
11 April 2014
Both myself and my children are members. I find the introduction of car parking charges OUTRAGEOUS. It means I am now paying twice for entry. I fully echo the comments made by Mr G & Mrs C Norton.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
17 March 2014
In answer to the comment by Mr and Mrs Norton, " National Trust Members pay membership fees and therefore contribute funding to Wakehurst". WRONG. Not one penny of membership fees received by the National Trust from its members is paid to Wakehurst.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
17 March 2014
To: Chairman, Sir Simon Jenkins National Trust, and Chairman Marcus Agius of RBG Kew, Dear Sirs, WAKEHURST CAR PARK CHARGES - DUE TO BE IMPOSED APRIL 2014 We would like to register our protest against the car park charges in the strongest possible terms. National Trust Members pay Membership Fees and therefore contribute funding to Wakehurst Place and all other National Trust properties. If Kew's allocation of the funding is inadequate I suggest Kew's activities be amended/curtailed &/or Kew modifies/gives up their lease so that N.T. can keep Wakehurst's expenditure under control without the imposition of this 'scam' car park charge. Some Wakehurst visitors will no doubt seek to escape the Wakehurst car park charges by parking in Ardingly Village. Is it is sensible and fair to the general public in the area, particularly the population in Ardingly who will experience extra cars etc. being parked in their village? No doubt some visitors will park on the main road (Selsfield Road B2028) near to Wakehurst creating a potentially dangerous hazard to Highway users especially cyclists. We also ask you to take into account the many 'protest comments', including those expressed on 'Trip Adviser' regarding this outrageous car park charge 'scam'. Yours sincerely, Mr G. & Mrs C. Norton National Trust Members
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
16 March 2014
As members of the National Trust we have visited Wakehurst Place for many years and use it as a pleasant meeting point for our extended family. We object most strongly to the proposed implementation of parking charges. The hourly and two hourly parking charges are cosmetic sops, as the extended nature of the site implies half a day for a worthwhile visit and so future family meetings would incur extra costs of forty or fifty pounds. As are many other National Trust members, we are pensioners on reduced income with eroding savings and so are particularly sensitive to disproportionate and irrational increases in costs. However, Im sure that young, single income families, another major sector of your market, will be equally discouraged. We feel that these charges compare with those in towns where provision of parking is not related directly to a specific commercial benefit. In the middle of the countryside with ample space, you should take the view of out of town supermarkets to encourage people to visit you and spend. Your proposals imply that œlunch at Wakehurst Placeœ would suddenly double in cost. This may be a generational perspective as your staff at the (overmanned) reception desk seemed to regard ten pounds as a reasonable sum. The proposed charges do not reflect the cost of provision of parking space and I suggest that there is plenty of scope for reducing your losses rather than recouping them from Joe Public. As well as generous staffing levels on peripheral activities, you have a penchant for expensive signage; repeating the name KEW across the reception block ceiling is a fine articulation of a flock of seagulls but to me is a wasteful extravagance. Should you not manage to make such savings, I thoroughly agree with the comments posted by Dave Jeffrey on 11th March that a flat fee of two pounds would be appropriate and should prove to be more productive in that it would not impact upon visitor numbers. For these reasons we would not expect to be visiting again if these charges are imposed. Peter and Mary Beattie
16 March 2014
The proposal defies common sense. All those that have commented and many of those that work at Wakehurst know that this is going to reduce visitor numbers. By introducing a parking charge system will incur significant costs with all visitors needing to buy and display a ticket. Yes those paying a day charge can claim back at the till as will those with Kew passes. But it will create queues as each transaction will take longer. There will be side affects such as people parking in local lanes and no doubt some penalised for being over time. Some will go out of their way to enter by many of the public footpaths that cross the land. As highlighted by many of the comments those that run the shop and restaurants will see a decrease in their revenue which can only result in price rises. There may well be an issue with the percentage of NT members visiting free and the annual revenue that Wakehurst can obtain. However this defies all logic and common sense. I suggest Wakehurst review their figures.
16 March 2014
I think Mr Jeffery has summed up the situation very eloquently, I fully support what he has said.
16 March 2014
I am writing to say how sad I am that Wakehurst Place are introducing car parking charges. The money involved in collecting this money will greatly diminish the amount charged. This will also reduce the amount National Trust members have to spend in the shop and café I feel strongly your decision is very short sighted
16 March 2014
Good idea wont be so crowded when I next visit!
15 March 2014
As life members of the NT we often visit Wakehurst (a round trip of around 80 miles). We normally walk around the gardens for a couple of hours then visit the restaurant for coffee or lunch. If refreshments are now going to effectively cost us an extra £5 then I'm afraid you have lost our custom from the restaurant. Indeed, I fear you have lost our custom altogether and we will be visiting other gardens instead. A great shame, but £10 is too much.
13 March 2014
Update on the current situation at Wakehurst,work has commenced on the new barriers and roadway. Contractors state work will be complete in 3 weeks. I understand the charges will be implemented between 7-10 April. Sorry to see, but like many others who use it daily we shall be using the public paths for our NT free entry.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
11 March 2014
My wife and I are longstanding members of the NT, and have enjoyed visiting Wakehurst 4-5 times per year. We have an 80 mile return journey, and usually stay for 3 hours, also visiting the restaurants , shop and garden centre. If it will now cost us £5-£10 to park our car, we will not be visiting again. To implement a parking scheme will involve significant capital expenditure on parking machines, construction of bases, provision of power supplies and signage, together with the ongoing costs of maintenance, and cash collection, all of which will eat into any hoped for revenue. What will NT / Kew do if members do not pay? Will they clamp the cars, or issue notices for recovery of a civil debt? Court action will be excellent publicity for the charity. Members who are upset may cancel NT membership, and are less likely to support appeals and raffles. It is likely that the significant reduction in footfall, with reduced profits from restaurants /shop and garden centre, will offset the revenue from charges. NT / Kew state that 320,000 persons visit Wakehurst each year. If you keep it simple, and propose a £2 flat fee, it is likely that most of those 320,000 will pay up with good grace, leading to revenue of £640,000, far greater than NT/Kew estimate of £500,000 to be raised by their methods. The £2 fee could be collected at the desk where tickets are checked, and the most high-tech requirement would be a sealed container, and a sign thanking members for helping to reduce the deficit. Happy members, and greater money for NT/Kew Please think again before it is too late,
11 March 2014
A few days ago, I confessed that my heart had sunk at the fact that the NT had commented that they were 'taking all the complaints very seriously'. Perhaps it is cause for a slight heartlift that they have now removed this comment - but on the other hand, maybe they are now not taking them so seriously.
11 March 2014
I have just read Susan's comment and I would like to make it clear that her view and mine are not in conflict. Kew aims to raise £500,000 a year from NT members through this scheme. That would be 13p from each of us if it was funded by the NT centrally - not a burden that anyone would even notice. My guess is that the annual footfall of 320,0000 is created by fewer than 100,000 different people, many making regular visits. So they are being asked to contribute £5 more than the other 3.9 million NT members to the running of the Trust's national estate, simply because of where they live. They also live quite near Knole and Ightham Mote, currently consuming much larger sums on restoration work that will benefit barely 200,000 visitors a year between them. Perhaps they should chip in by paying to park there as well. The whole thing is corrosive nonsense. Either Wakehurst belongs in the Trust's national estate and should be properly funded at national level, or it doesn't and should be run as a separate enterprise by Kew.
11 March 2014
I love Wakehurst Place and have spent many happy hours there in the past, probably at least 6 times a year. I live in Surrey and my sisters in Sussex so it is a good meeting place for us and we have lunch, walk round the gardens and often afternoon teas as well! The new arrangement means we will have to pay £10 each to park which is just not going to happen. I think that the National Trust should remove it completely from their property list as we are being penalised when all other visitors will not have to pay. NT members DO NOT get in free, we pay our membership which is not cheap. I think if Kew were to look at the pricing in the shop and plant centre they would find out why they are unable to cover their costs at point of sale as other NT properties do. Their prices are ludicrous, I looked at a Daphne in the plant centre which I have seen elsewhere for £18 and it was £33!!! Kew and NT should have been able to come up with a better arrangement than this. Oh and my sister and I went on Saturday and spent £25 in the restaurant and plant centre, more income which will be lost after April. Such a shame.
11 March 2014
I hope the NT will listen to their members and take note and reconsider these parking charges. We go to Wakehurst frequently and always enjoy a leisurely stroll around the gardens. If these charges come into force we will not be able to afford to do so which is a real shame, especially for my two young children who love to explore the grounds. In order to maintain the "free" carparking that we have at Wakehurst with our family NT card, my husband and myself will each need to buy a Wakehurst car park season ticket for £30 each (£25 direct debit each) which equates to another £60 on top of the £97 we have currently paid for our annual family NT membership. This would be a 60% increase just for us to continue to enjoy Wakehurst as we are currently doing. I presume that the season ticket is not transferable between my husband and myself so we would both have to buy a ticket so we could go on our own with our children. NT should keep to their agreement that there is free parking at their places. That is a major drawcard to joining the NT which is now not going to be the case. I will regrettably not be renewing our family membership when it comes up for renewal. I feel especially sorry for members who have paid for the lifetime membership.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.

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