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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

11 March 2014
Just heard the news about the parking fees at Wakehurst Place, thought it must be a mistake, now I realise its true. I have just cancelled my membership to the National Trust when my membership expires in September. I received a very curt reply almost as though they could not care less, well I guess they don't as they would not have made such a ridiculous decision as to put a parking fee of £10.00 a day. Surely they don't think this will increase revenue. With a lack of people using Wakehurst, how will the shop survive and how will the two cafe's survive. What is the point of arranging meetings to discuss the parking fees when it seems like it will go ahead any way. I am absolutely disgusted with the National Trust, you do not deserve loyal customers that have been members for years, I hope you regret the decision but by then you will have lost many members.
10 March 2014
How completely short sighted of the National Trust to impose this ridiculous £10.00 parking fee on its loyal members. How long will it be before the staff in the cafe's and the shop lose their jobs. I have already emailed NT to tell them to cancel my membership as soon as it is up for renewal and I expect a lot more people will do the same. I am absolutely disgusted with the National Trust for this decision which I am sure will be regrettable in the long term.
10 March 2014
Maybe this has been said already, but The National Trust is a community that has been established for a common good. We do not expect a reduced membership fee if we visit fewer properties in a year than the average member, or if the properties close to us are less popular than those near other members or have lower entry fees for non-members. We do not complain if our money is invested in a property that we are never likely to visit. But maybe now we should do all of those things, because now those of us close enough to visit Wakehurst regularly will be getting considerably less for our membership fee than members who live elsewhere. And now the principle of differential pricing has been established, any property that the Trust decides isn't pulling its weight could start making "parking" charges for members to visit it. And then my National Trust card is what, a discount card?
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
10 March 2014
The majority of the National Trust members contributing to this page seem unable or unwilling to accept the simple fact that not one penny of their membership fees are paid to Wakehurst Place by the National Trust. The only support from the National Trust is £80,ooo a year via an endowment. With Wakehurst running at a one and a half million pound deficit EVERY year, the situation cleary cannot continue. Rather than directing their ire at Wakehurst Place, National Trust members would be better served lobbying the National Trust to contribute a portion of their membership contributions directly to the support of Wakehurst. To the many lovers of the gardens, who say they visit several times a month but will struggle to pay the new parking costs, I would suggest that they purchase a Wakehurst Place Season Ticket, which for £25 a year allows 364days acess,and free parking. They would also be sure in the knowledge that the money was going directly to support the Gardens that we all love so much.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
10 March 2014
What a clever business proposal this is. How many people will relinquish their National Trust membership as a result? Is this the first of further parking charges at other National Trust venues to be imposed on people who have already aid for membership?
10 March 2014
I am mid 40s with two children aged 5 and 7, NT members and regular visitors to Wakehurst. Yesterday we spent a glorious day there; the children had a fantastic time exploring with their cousins but this was shadowed by the thought that we wouldn't be able to do this again. Why do you have to charge so much? Why do family days have to be spoilt by having to clock watch in order not to exceed the parking limit - I refuse to pay the £10 daily rate or annual parking charge! We always spend a small fortune in the cafe - £2.75 for a small tub of ice cream! I wouldn't mind a flat fee of say £2 a day for parking but you have really pushed this to the point where it looks like greed has taken over. I wonder which NT place will be next to start charging ... It's a slippery slope.
9 March 2014
My wife and I visit Wakehurst on a weekly basis but will not be continuing after our membership expires in June. Why would I want to pay £20 for a stroll and a coffee? When I can walk around a park for free. The National Trust have totally misjudged peoples feelings on this matter. Maybe somebody at the top should be reading the 212 comments below to establish the mood of its members. Surely the National Trust is not that complacent that it can afford to loose thousands of its members. WAKE UP NT!!
8 March 2014
New to N.T and have already been to Wakehurst Place this year. I won't be going back if parking charges are introduced. If more income is required N.T should consider this when assesing there annual sudscriptions charges. I took out my N.T membership to visit Wakehurst Place and feel that any change without 1 years notice is a blatant breach of contract. Unhappy N.T members should look for membership refunds.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
8 March 2014
If you look at the NT website they helpfully state that only two other NT properties charge for car parking - ones that have the grounds mantained by the local authority - these are Tatton Park £5 per day and Shugborough £3 per day. So they already have a similar model in place but nice to see that they reckon they can charge at least twice that rate for those lucky enough to live in the affluent south east. I'm not clear if Kew are including the cost of running the seedbank in their losses figure - if they lost the ground lease they would need to rent the space. As others have mentioned this a done deal (eg new charges are published online) and the public meetings are a waste of time (but I think the tea and coffee is free!) Questions: A) if this has been a five year process why weren't NT members asked to contribute views on how to fix the problem? B) why is a projected 40% reduction in visitor numbers considered acceptable? Do Kew find the current level damagingly high? Since public transport links to the site are poor it is arguable that this will change the demographic of those able to visit ( no more noisy children!, result) C) most people below have objected to having time pressures imposed on the parking - seriously does NT / Kew have statistics to show what the average length of stay is? D) beyond the joint letter of 'this is happening' why isn't / wasn't the business plan being published for comment? E) if we visit we will be thinking about parking near one of footpath access points which I imagine will annoy your neighbours. Has a local community impact assessment been done?
7 March 2014
These charges penalise National Trust members who support Wakehurst on a regular basis. A good walk round Wakehurst takes more than 2 hours so to charge £10 for parking is awful. You might have got away with a flat £2.00 fee. I am afraid i can only see your visitor numbers going downhill which will mean a loss of revenue for you as they will not be spending in the shop or cafe (which has gone downhill)I feel you must look at this issue which no doubt will be felt by many others.It is not to late to reverse this decision.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
7 March 2014
I wish to add my disappointment at the parking charges. You may or may not achieve more funds for Wakehurst but for sure you will see far fewer visitors. These charges are unfair particularly to local people who tend to visit regularly.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
7 March 2014
My wife and I visit Wakehurst Place regularly and on every occasion we have used the restaurant in the grounds, spending between £20 - £30 on our lunch. We Joined the National Trust so that we could do this more regularly, as I have recently become semi-retired. However, we have no intention of adding yet another £10 per day or £25 per year to our costs by paying for parking - which is a real dis-incentive for any visitors to consider joining the National Trust following a visit to Wakehurst Place. Wakehurst Place is one of the nearest NT properties to our home and has the best restaurant. As a result of your decision to introduce parking charges for NT members we will NOT be visiting Wakehurst Place again and next year we will probably cancel our membership. I would imagine that a lot of your NT members regularly use the restaurants and spend money in the shop and they are very likely to severely suffer as a result, in addition to reducing the appeal of NT members to visit Wakehurst Place in favour of other NT properties. The likely result is that Kew will lose money rather than increase it, by taking this short-sighted approach to increasing their income.My wife and I visit Wakehurst Place regularly and on every occasion we have used the restaurant in the grounds, spending between £20 - £30 on our lunch. We Joined the National Trust so that we could do this more regularly, as I have recently become semi-retired. However, we have no intention of adding yet another £10 per day or £25 per year to our costs by paying for parking - which is a real dis-incentive for any visitors to consider joining the National Trust following a visit to Wakehurst Place. Wakehurst Place is one of the nearest NT properties to our home and has the best restaurant. As a result of your decision to introduce parking charges for NT members we will NOT be visiting Wakehurst Place again and next year we will probably cancel our membership. I would imagine that a lot of your NT members regularly use the restaurants and spend money in the shop and they are very likely to severely suffer as a result, in addition to reducing the appeal of NT members to visit Wakehurst Place in favour of other NT properties. The likely result is that Kew will lose money rather than increase it, by taking this short-sighted approach to increasing their income.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
6 March 2014
I think the introduction of parking charges is outrageous. It will certainly deter people from coming and surely the aim of the National Trust is to encourage people participation. Surely another solution could have been found to this 'funding problem'. The National Trust and Kew will lose a lot of respect following this decision, which is a pity because they have always had my admiration. My advise THINK AGAIN.I think the introduction of parking charges is outrageous. It will certainly deter people from coming and surely the aim of the National Trust is to encourage people participation. Surely another solution could have been found to this 'funding problem'. The National Trust and Kew will lose a lot of respect following this decision, which is a pity because they have always had my admiration. My advise THINK AGAIN.
6 March 2014
Well - that's another place to avoid! Interesting to see the number of complaints - 212 at present - and most people will not be aware yet. I'm afraid that very many NT members are NOT 'well heeled' and another £10 on top of a substantial journey is enough to discourage them (us), quite apart from the principle of having already paid an annual membership fee.
6 March 2014
When any organisation says 'we take something very seriously' (and most do trot this out nowadays in response to complaints), one's heart sinks. It is only too clear that it's an unthinking kiss of death for any action, or any reversal of policy, to be taken that it considers may harm its own interests. The NT must be completely blinkered to pursue these charges in the face of such public hostility. I can see a PR disaster in the making.
6 March 2014
I feel slightly cheated here. It was with great pleasure that I bought life membership on my retirement. I could now enjoy Wakehurst regularly. 10 pounds out of a state pension represents a large amount for many of my age, some of whom undoubtedly currently bring their grand children (your next generation of visitors) on a regular basis to see the seasons . Also will this impact your neighbours? it would take just a few inconsiderately parked cars off site to cause them problems.I feel slightly cheated here. It was with great pleasure that I bought life membership on my retirement. I could now enjoy Wakehurst regularly. 10 pounds out of a state pension represents a large amount for many of my age, some of whom undoubtedly currently bring their grand children (your next generation of visitors) on a regular basis to see the seasons . Also will this impact your neighbours? it would take just a few inconsiderately parked cars off site to cause them problems.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
6 March 2014
I am not an account or a mathematician, but is it just me and my basic maths or does the logic really actually stack up for Kew/NT to do this. Please bare with me..... Total Visitor Numbers in 2012/2013 where 343,225 as published. This equates to around 940 people going through the gates on each and every of the 365 days (more at weekends and less on weekdays perhaps of course). Irrespective of whether the visitors were NT members or not, Kew have advised that the expect to lose around (at least?) 40% "further" visitors from the previous years 72,000 decrease i.e. a further decrease of around 137,290 people ( I suspect it will be a little more to be honest). Let us say that each visitor (we will assumme they are an NT member, as these make up 80% of the gate entries) who now will not have gone now, had spent £20 each on their visit e.g. for a coffee and a cake, followed by a light but expensive lunch after their walk around. And had made a token purchase in the shop.This would equate to a yearly reduction in revenue of approx £2.75million (137,290 * 20). Having said the above, we now need to factor in what "could" be gained in parking fees. Let us assume that the difference in NT numbers who "may" still choose to visit ( i.e. 137,210 (274500 - 137,290) ) still do so, do ALL stay OVER 2hrs 1min and pay the £10 parking, but say reduce their cafe and shop spend to only £15 per head (I suspect this might end up being ratherless when many of these visitors bring their own food/drink or their visit is under two hours <£5 parking>). This would mean a revenue IN for that group of £2.06 million. I know I have generalised to a degree and not accounted for a "possible" uptake in the £25 Wakehurst membership (for NT Members who have alread paid their NT Membership !), but from the above we end up with the following..... Additional/IN Revenue = +£2.06 million Reduced Revenue = -£2.75 million + yearly lost/negative cost of adminstering the car parking system (? attendants ???) + cost of car parking system installation (one off) = ? I am therefore struggling to see the actual business case sense of this action, in respect to the net reduction it could end up making for Kew. And also to the damage to the NT, both in credibility and in a potential significant loss of membership renewals (as many are stating already that they will be cancelling). For Kew's and the NT's sake I do hope my off the cuff, laymans calculations are way off. Time will be the teller of course.I am not an account or a mathematician, but is it just me and my basic maths or does the logic really actually stack up for Kew/NT to do this. Please bare with me..... Total Visitor Numbers in 2012/2013 where 343,225 as published. This equates to around 940 people going through the gates on each and every of the 365 days (more at weekends and less on weekdays perhaps of course). Irrespective of whether the visitors were NT members or not, Kew have advised that the expect to lose around (at least?) 40% "further" visitors from the previous years 72,000 decrease i.e. a further decrease of around 137,290 people ( I suspect it will be a little more to be honest). Let us say that each visitor (we will assumme they are an NT member, as these make up 80% of the gate entries) who now will not have gone now, had spent £20 each on their visit e.g. for a coffee and a cake, followed by a light but expensive lunch after their walk around. And had made a token purchase in the shop.This would equate to a yearly reduction in revenue of approx £2.75million (137,290 * 20). Having said the above, we now need to factor in what "could" be gained in parking fees. Let us assume that the difference in NT numbers who "may" still choose to visit ( i.e. 137,210 (274500 - 137,290) ) still do so, do ALL stay OVER 2hrs 1min and pay the £10 parking, but say reduce their cafe and shop spend to only £15 per head (I suspect this might end up being ratherless when many of these visitors bring their own food/drink or their visit is under two hours <£5 parking>). This would mean a revenue IN for that group of £2.06 million. I know I have generalised to a degree and not accounted for a "possible" uptake in the £25 Wakehurst membership (for NT Members who have alread paid their NT Membership !), but from the above we end up with the following..... Additional/IN Revenue = +£2.06 million Reduced Revenue = -£2.75 million + yearly lost/negative cost of adminstering the car parking system (? attendants ???) + cost of car parking system installation (one off) = ? I am therefore struggling to see the actual business case sense of this action, in respect to the net reduction it could end up making for Kew. And also to the damage to the NT, both in credibility and in a potential significant loss of membership renewals (as many are stating already that they will be cancelling). For Kew's and the NT's sake I do hope my off the cuff, laymans calculations are way off. Time will be the teller of course.
5 March 2014
Will the charges apply to blue badge holders? I regularly take my son to Wakehurst as the paths and benches enable him to walk using his walking aids, rest or use the wheelchair as necessary. The charges will cause a problem to us as his walking is slow. 3 hours free parking for us would be very helpful. Thanks
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
5 March 2014
Having been NT members for 42 years, living locally and visiting regularly, always spending money in shop or cafe, Kew/NT, you have got this horribly wrong. You might just about have got away with a £2 flat charge, but £5, £10? Which planet are you on? I do hope you have planned for the plummeting visitor numbers and sharp drop in income from shop and cafe. Even at £2 we certainly won't be back, we pay just shy of £100 a year as it is, so it's goodbye Wakehurst; hello Standen, Nymans, Sheffield Park...
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
5 March 2014
Although I understand that you need to raise more money for Wakehurst I think that the amount of the charges is too much. If you say charged £2.00 per car for however long, I suspect people wouldn't mind and they would still keep coming. I think what will happen is a lot of people will simply not come anymore and those that do will attempt to park on the road or down towards the showground in Ardingly and then walk. This will cause mayhem on that road. I think you will find that it seriously affects the takings in the cafe and shop too. It is very disappointing as we come to Wakehurst regularly.
5 March 2014
Like many others, I agree with this prosperous proposal to penalise NT members and impose a £10 daily parking charge. Whoever at Kew did their research and say most visitors stay less than 2 hours are living in cloud cuckoo land. It may apply to a few visitors but not the vast majority who have travelled many miles to get there and stay for more than 2 hours. When I told my wife about this parking charge, and she loves visiting these gardens, her immediate response was œwell bugger that for a game of soldiers! So you can take it as long standing previous visitors, we will no longer visit as well. Also shame on the NT for allowing this to happen and not giving Kew a contribution for every NT member that passes through the gate. Perhaps its also time to review our annual NT membership as well? Interestingly in the last NT annual report on page 72, the visitor numbers for Wakehurst for 2012/13 are 343,225 visitors. This is down just over 72,000 on the previous year. Kew publicly say that they expect to lose another 40% of visitors (presumably on the 2102/13 figures) because of these parking charges. So that will mean about 210,000 people will no longer visit within this 2/3 year period. Kew will also suffer loss of revenue in the now expensive and mediocre restaurant (its worse since the franchise changed in Jan 2013) and the expensive gift shop and garden centre. Kew are certainly pushing the financial self-destruct button here! With the proposed parking charge of £10, the cost of fuel for visiting, lunch, tea coffee, etc., visitors will soon need a mortgage to visit here! Also for the paying public, Wakehurst is also more expensive than RHS Wisley who charge adults £11 (excluding gift aid) compared to Wakehurst, at £12.50 (exc gift aid)! Is it any wonder visitor numbers have dropped! It would be interesting for Kew and the NT to publicly make available the 100 year lease agreement that was entered into in 1965, at a peppercorn rent and whether there is a clause within the lease that allow NT members into the grounds for free. If this is the case, then in my view, free means free, including arriving by vehicle into the grounds! However, I think that if say a £2 daily charge was made to every vehicle visiting (and not just NT members) then I think this would perhaps be more palatable! Come on Kew and NT have a rethink ion this (its not too late) and stop using NT members as political pawns in your game! Like many other NT members, unless this proposal is scrapped we will no longer visit Wakehurst and will go to one of the other many NT properties close by where parking and entry is free to members who have already paid their subscriptions. Like many others, I agree with this prosperous proposal to penalise NT members and impose a £10 daily parking charge. Whoever at Kew did their research and say most visitors stay less than 2 hours are living in cloud cuckoo land. It may apply to a few visitors but not the vast majority who have travelled many miles to get there and stay for more than 2 hours. When I told my wife about this parking charge, and she loves visiting these gardens, her immediate response was œwell bugger that for a game of soldiers! So you can take it as long standing previous visitors, we will no longer visit as well. Also shame on the NT for allowing this to happen and not giving Kew a contribution for every NT member that passes through the gate. Perhaps its also time to review our annual NT membership as well? Interestingly in the last NT annual report on page 72, the visitor numbers for Wakehurst for 2012/13 are 343,225 visitors. This is down just over 72,000 on the previous year. Kew publicly say that they expect to lose another 40% of visitors (presumably on the 2102/13 figures) because of these parking charges. So that will mean about 210,000 people will no longer visit within this 2/3 year period. Kew will also suffer loss of revenue in the now expensive and mediocre restaurant (its worse since the franchise changed in Jan 2013) and the expensive gift shop and garden centre. Kew are certainly pushing the financial self-destruct button here! With the proposed parking charge of £10, the cost of fuel for visiting, lunch, tea coffee, etc., visitors will soon need a mortgage to visit here! Also for the paying public, Wakehurst is also more expensive than RHS Wisley who charge adults £11 (excluding gift aid) compared to Wakehurst, at £12.50 (exc gift aid)! Is it any wonder visitor numbers have dropped! It would be interesting for Kew and the NT to publicly make available the 100 year lease agreement that was entered into in 1965, at a peppercorn rent and whether there is a clause within the lease that allow NT members into the grounds for free. If this is the case, then in my view, free means free, including arriving by vehicle into the grounds! However, I think that if say a £2 daily charge was made to every vehicle visiting (and not just NT members) then I think this would perhaps be more palatable! Come on Kew and NT have a rethink ion this (its not too late) and stop using NT members as political pawns in your game! Like many other NT members, unless this proposal is scrapped we will no longer visit Wakehurst and will go to one of the other many NT properties close by where parking and entry is free to members who have already paid their subscriptions.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
5 March 2014
Why should car drivers be charged and not the visitors who walk, cycle or come by bus? I would suggest the introduction of a flat £2 entrance fee for NT members. I would be happy to pay this and would save the messing about of obtaining a parking ticket (I assume it is also going to costs thousands of pounds to install ticket machines in the car park).
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
4 March 2014
I have been a National Trust member for many years and I like many members joined because it was financially attractive and allowed us to make short (3hr) visits to various local properties throughout the year. These properties included Wakehurst Place. To introduce a parking charge for NT members is a disgrace and the NT reaction to Kew should have been to terminate their lease and for the trust to take it over. The loss of business in the shop, garden centre and the café will I suspect have a major negative impact.I have been a National Trust member for many years and I like many members joined because it was financially attractive and allowed us to make short (3hr) visits to various local properties throughout the year. These properties included Wakehurst Place. To introduce a parking charge for NT members is a disgrace and the NT reaction to Kew should have been to terminate their lease and for the trust to take it over. The loss of business in the shop, garden centre and the café will I suspect have a major negative impact.
4 March 2014
Like everyone else I am flabbergasted at the huge amount that Kew is charging for NT members to park at Wakehurst. I go there about twice a month and always eat in the café and make purchases in the shop. Neither the café or shop are cheap, but I was willing to support a good cause. I certainly will go much less often if these charges go ahead, so what is gained by introducing them will be offset by financial loss elsewhere. There will also be people avoiding charges by parking on the roads around Ardingly which will be dangerous and congest the local area. Not very thoughtful for the local community.Like everyone else I am flabbergasted at the huge amount that Kew is charging for NT members to park at Wakehurst. I go there about twice a month and always eat in the café and make purchases in the shop. Neither the café or shop are cheap, but I was willing to support a good cause. I certainly will go much less often if these charges go ahead, so what is gained by introducing them will be offset by financial loss elsewhere. There will also be people avoiding charges by parking on the roads around Ardingly which will be dangerous and congest the local area. Not very thoughtful for the local community.
4 March 2014
It's bad enough having parking charges imposed at all but how petty-minded to make the initial period only one hour. They must know that not much can be done in that time. Why don't Kew sort the NT out and get them to pay a fair contribution, rather than penalising members in such an unprincipled way? Or even beg for donations from members although I see that this year's membership fee has gone up by 8.75% - somewhat higher than the RPI. I shall think twice about making so many previously-regular visits which always have included spending at the restaurant and often purchases from the shop.It's bad enough having parking charges imposed at all but how petty-minded to make the initial period only one hour. They must know that not much can be done in that time. Why don't Kew sort the NT out and get them to pay a fair contribution, rather than penalising members in such an unprincipled way? Or even beg for donations from members although I see that this year's membership fee has gone up by 8.75% - somewhat higher than the RPI. I shall think twice about making so many previously-regular visits which always have included spending at the restaurant and often purchases from the shop.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
4 March 2014
I live one mile from Wakehurst and currently have a joint NT membership with my husband. I like to visit a couple of times a week as I walk to exercise. If these parking charges go ahead, we will cancel our NT membership and get Wakehurst's season ticket instead.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
3 March 2014
We won't be going again after these charges come in, for all the reasons in the posts below. It's simply underhand. So that's between £50 - £75 per visit we won't be spending in the cafe and shop, Any business knows you don't fleece your regular trade and survive, so I assume this area will soon be downsized to a garden shed to cater for the new demand...?
3 March 2014
I am disappointed to find out that these parking charges are being introduced to Wakehurst...I visit usually once a week, sometimes for a few hours, but usually for longer. Where was the research done to indicate that these levels of charges would be acceptable and appropriate for the visitors of Wakehurst? It seems to me that whoever dreamt them up were being greedy and incredibly optimistic! National Trust members after all have already paid to enter Wakehurst, they are not getting in for free (as sometimes I am made to feel at Wakehurst in particular). National Trust members bring a huge amount of business into Wakehurst and without them the place would be VERY quiet. I understand that Kew need more revenue. However, there are many ways to raise revenue...introducing blanket car parking fees such as these are lazy, unimaginative and penalise people who can not afford to spend £10 a week parking fees in addition their existing National Trust membership. There should have been a proper members consultation process BEFORE these charges were introduced to gauge the strength of feeling. The planned meetings in March sounds very much like a questions and answers session, not a meeting of minds to discuss the way forward. All in all very disappointing. I for one will not be paying, instead I will visit the beautiful Nymans and Standen National Trust Properties, both only 15 minutes from Wakehurst. I am disappointed to find out that these parking charges are being introduced to Wakehurst...I visit usually once a week, sometimes for a few hours, but usually for longer. Where was the research done to indicate that these levels of charges would be acceptable and appropriate for the visitors of Wakehurst? It seems to me that whoever dreamt them up were being greedy and incredibly optimistic! National Trust members after all have already paid to enter Wakehurst, they are not getting in for free (as sometimes I am made to feel at Wakehurst in particular). National Trust members bring a huge amount of business into Wakehurst and without them the place would be VERY quiet. I understand that Kew need more revenue. However, there are many ways to raise revenue...introducing blanket car parking fees such as these are lazy, unimaginative and penalise people who can not afford to spend £10 a week parking fees in addition their existing National Trust membership. There should have been a proper members consultation process BEFORE these charges were introduced to gauge the strength of feeling. The planned meetings in March sounds very much like a questions and answers session, not a meeting of minds to discuss the way forward. All in all very disappointing. I for one will not be paying, instead I will visit the beautiful Nymans and Standen National Trust Properties, both only 15 minutes from Wakehurst. I am disappointed to find out that these parking charges are being introduced to Wakehurst...I visit usually once a week, sometimes for a few hours, but usually for longer. Where was the research done to indicate that these levels of charges would be acceptable and appropriate for the visitors of Wakehurst? It seems to me that whoever dreamt them up were being greedy and incredibly optimistic! National Trust members after all have already paid to enter Wakehurst, they are not getting in for free (as sometimes I am made to feel at Wakehurst in particular). National Trust members bring a huge amount of business into Wakehurst and without them the place would be VERY quiet. I understand that Kew need more revenue. However, there are many ways to raise revenue...introducing blanket car parking fees such as these are lazy, unimaginative and penalise people who can not afford to spend £10 a week parking fees in addition their existing National Trust membership. There should have been a proper members consultation process BEFORE these charges were introduced to gauge the strength of feeling. The planned meetings in March sounds very much like a questions and answers session, not a meeting of minds to discuss the way forward. All in all very disappointing. I for one will not be paying, instead I will visit the beautiful Nymans and Standen National Trust Properties, both only 15 minutes from Wakehurst.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
3 March 2014
I wonder if anyone has given a thought to the affect this decision will have on the very many people who have, with your permission and a large donation to the gardens, scattered their loved ones ashes in the wooded areas at Wakehurst. Will they, every time they wish to visit to remember their loved ones, have to pay to do so? Many would have chosen such a resting place because of its permanence in ancient woodland. Will they have to pay to read the inscription to their loved ones recorded on the plinth situated at the entrance to the seed bank. This is shameful.
2 March 2014
Shame on you for bringing in this charge. It's to high and will have knock effect. Also only making national trust members pay, it will make me consider getting rid of my national trust membership and never going back to Kew. Better care and consideration should have been taken,. Shame on you for bringing in this charge. It's to high and will have knock effect. Also only making national trust members pay, it will make me consider getting rid of my national trust membership and never going back to Kew. Better care and consideration should have been taken,. Shame on you for bringing in this charge. It's to high and will have knock effect. Also only making national trust members pay, it will make me consider getting rid of my national trust membership and never going back to Kew. Better care and consideration should have been taken,.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
2 March 2014
I love the national trust and have been a member for donkeys years, but I'm afraid they have lost the plot if they think £10 is a reasonable amount for parking. 1 hour barely sees you in and a trip to the loo so the minimum to pay would be £5 and that would be a hurried visit and lunch. If the finances do need sorting, surely the National Trust with all your well paid executives, must have the wherewithal to come up with something that wouldn't alienate so many of your loyal members.
2 March 2014
Like your proposal for a car parking annual ticket. When and where can I buy one?
2 March 2014
Our family of six (NT members) certainly won't be coming again, spending our money in the coffee shops and garden centre. We cannot afford a fee of £10 and we don't live near enough to come more than twice a year so the yearly fee won't help. Kew will lose more than it gains. We had a similarly off-putting visit to Kew Gardens and our perception is they are out to make money to fulfil what they want to do, not what the customers want to do. Our family of six (NT members) certainly won't be coming again, spending our money in the coffee shops and garden centre. We cannot afford a fee of £10 and we don't live near enough to come more than twice a year so the yearly fee won't help. Kew will lose more than it gains. We had a similarly off-putting visit to Kew Gardens and our perception is they are out to make money to fulfil what they want to do, not what the customers want to do. Our family of six (NT members) certainly won't be coming again, spending our money in the coffee shops and garden centre. We cannot afford a fee of £10 and we don't live near enough to come more than twice a year so the yearly fee won't help. Kew will lose more than it gains. We had a similarly off-putting visit to Kew Gardens and our perception is they are out to make money to fulfil what they want to do, not what the customers want to do.
2 March 2014
Having been a member of the NT and a regular visitor to Wakehurst for many years I too am disappointed by these changes. Also that Kew and Wakehurst don't value the many people who work and will be unable to attend any of the four sessions to discuss the new charges. Surely if they want to engage with the full spectrum of their customers / members several evening sessions should be arranged. Like many of the other people who have commented, I cannot see that this will add to the overall revenues on the site “ we often visit for 3 or 4 hours for which we would need to pay an extra £10; in this case we certainly wouldn't be staying to use the restaurant to spend another £15 - £20. Similarly I usually donate to several of the NT special appeals each year (gift aided to get the tax added) “ this will also need to reduce (there is a limit to available funds!) and presumably gift aid won't apply to the car park charges? I expect many people will park out on the road (no restrictions?) making access to and from the site difficult and potentially dangerous. Have the new charges really been fully thought through?
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
1 March 2014
My wife and I have been NT members for many years. We live close to Wakehurst Place and that is the place we visit most often (the only place some years). I am sorry to say that we are going to stop our NT membership before renewal in August.
1 March 2014
I agree with many of the other comments regarding the implementation of parking fees. I have taken out NT membership because I live close to Wakehurst Place and am not prepared to pay to park there when I visit and spend money in the shop and cafe. This decision is a mistake - I shall not be renewing my NT membership which is due shortly.I agree with many of the other comments regarding the implementation of parking fees. I have taken out NT membership because I live close to Wakehurst Place and am not prepared to pay to park there when I visit and spend money in the shop and cafe. This decision is a mistake - I shall not be renewing my NT membership which is due shortly.I agree with many of the other comments regarding the implementation of parking fees. I have taken out NT membership because I live close to Wakehurst Place and am not prepared to pay to park there when I visit and spend money in the shop and cafe. This decision is a mistake - I shall not be renewing my NT membership which is due shortly.
1 March 2014
I have visited Wakehurst Place as a National Trust member for over forty years. There has never been an external pressure to say how long I may enjoy the facilities on each visit. Now visitors will have to keep an eye on the time because of car parking charges and the whole atmosphere of the visit will be lost. I do not think this has been well considered. I, too, have resigned from the National Trust today.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
1 March 2014
We are really disappointed with the Wakehurst parking fees. We have been members of the National Trust for many years. We use Wakehurst all the time. I have 3 growing boys and they all enjoy the walks, big rocks and wildlife they see at. Unfortunately I have just renewed my membership. We wont be able to afford to go to Wakehurst if we have to pay £10 for parking and therefore I wont be renewing my membership in 2015.
1 March 2014
My wife and I, both NT members for many years, regularly visit Wakehurst,always use the café for food and drink, and usually purchase something in the shop. With the introduction of parking fees we will no longer be visiting Wakehurst and will instead use other local NT properties. I expect visiting numbers will fall, well done.My wife and I, both NT members for many years, regularly visit Wakehurst,always use the café for food and drink, and usually purchase something in the shop. With the introduction of parking fees we will no longer be visiting Wakehurst and will instead use other local NT properties. I expect visiting numbers will fall, well done.My wife and I, both NT members for many years, regularly visit Wakehurst,always use the café for food and drink, and usually purchase something in the shop. With the introduction of parking fees we will no longer be visiting Wakehurst and will instead use other local NT properties. I expect visiting numbers will fall, well done.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
1 March 2014
I can only reiterate what most others have been saying - we will no longer be visiting Wakehurst if these ridiculous parking charges are introduced. Why such extortionate amounts? An hour isn't long enough to do anything, so a minimum of £5 to park is too much when we've already paid membership fees. Why have these beautiful gardens if you've got no visitors left! I expect the restaurant will lose out greatly too.
1 March 2014
The National Trust membership offers families realistic opportunities to show children the place nature should still hold in these modern times. It protects gardens/walks for the future generations, allowing all ages to appreciate the beauty of gardens and with the laid-out pathways is a practical options for young children and the elderly. The membership money we pay ensures this continues, but charging for parking is not something any member can support. I ask you to reconsider this charge as it creates a bad feeling amongst valued National Trust members, who will probably choose to go elsewhere.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
28 February 2014
Was shocked to read about the cost of parking at Wakehurst Place. Such a huge amount too! We won't be visiting anymore, such a shame.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
28 February 2014
We are extremely disappointed in this decision, basically for the level it has been set at. We have visited Wakehurst numerous times during our 20 year membership of National Trust. As you are no doubt aware there are not that many National Trust properties in this part of the country and you have just made one of them not financially viable. We are never at Wakehurst for less than two hours so would be looking at a minimum of £5 parking cost on top of a 50 mile round trip to get there. It is very sad, we love Wakehurst and have supported National Trust for years but are now questioning our continued membership. Steve & Lizzie
28 February 2014
We visit Wakehurst quite frequently and enjoy walking round. An average visit is about two hours. We have life membership of the Nation Trust. A £25 sesaon ticket might be one possibility but why not set the charges at a more reasonable level so as not to deter visitors for the first two hours. one hour is too short to really enjoy all Wakehurst has to offer. The location of also of great benefit to our adult son who has autism.
28 February 2014
I am so very disappointed in the National Trust. Parking fees of £10 per day, it can never be less for someone older who takes longer to walk around and needs frequent stops on the walk. It is our favourite and nearest property. Unfortunately as a pensioner I shall no longer be able to afford to visit the lovely gardens and cafe. Please do think again.
28 February 2014
I am led to undestand that When the 100 year lease was agreed with DEFRA (MAFF in 1965) the condition for the peppercorn rent was free entry to NT members. If DEFRA are unable to fulfill this condition then they should default on the lease and hand the gardens & house back to the NT.
28 February 2014
We are local to Wakehurst which is a major reason for being NT members. Our NT annual family membership is coming up for renewal at the end of this month and being a family of 4 with quite a low income family, we need to prioritise what we spend our money on. We really enjoy nice days out visiting gorgeous places and grounds we will not be renewing this year! If the annual parking fee at wakehurst was lower then I would re-consider. This parking fees decision means that both Kew and NT will be missing out - we are not the only local family which is making this decision! They will not get so many visitors. Sad
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
28 February 2014
LIke many people who have already commented I am disgusted at the proposed £10 parking charges (I say proposed but it is already in the 2014 handbook so its a done deal!) I have been a supporter of the NT for many years and with my membership due at the end of March I have time to cancel which I intend to do. Kew are not concerned as I assume they do not run the cafe's and shop so will not lose income! My wife and I regularly visit for a delightful walk followed by a coffee and cake. Our best alternative now is to take two £25 Wakehurst season tickets, thus saving £19 over NT and take our own refreshments!!!! Hopefully its not to late to amend the parking charges to a more sensible and affordable level? LIke many people who have already commented I am disgusted at the proposed £10 parking charges (I say proposed but it is already in the 2014 handbook so its a done deal!) I have been a supporter of the NT for many years and with my membership due at the end of March I have time to cancel which I intend to do. Kew are not concerned as I assume they do not run the cafe's and shop so will not lose income! My wife and I regularly visit for a delightful walk followed by a coffee and cake. Our best alternative now is to take two £25 Wakehurst season tickets, thus saving £19 over NT and take our own refreshments!!!! Hopefully its not to late to amend the parking charges to a more sensible and affordable level? LIke many people who have already commented I am disgusted at the proposed £10 parking charges (I say proposed but it is already in the 2014 handbook so its a done deal!) I have been a supporter of the NT for many years and with my membership due at the end of March I have time to cancel which I intend to do. Kew are not concerned as I assume they do not run the cafe's and shop so will not lose income! My wife and I regularly visit for a delightful walk followed by a coffee and cake. Our best alternative now is to take two £25 Wakehurst season tickets, thus saving £19 over NT and take our own refreshments!!!! Hopefully its not to late to amend the parking charges to a more sensible and affordable level? LIke many people who have already commented I am disgusted at the proposed £10 parking charges (I say proposed but it is already in the 2014 handbook so its a done deal!) I have been a supporter of the NT for many years and with my membership due at the end of March I have time to cancel which I intend to do. Kew are not concerned as I assume they do not run the cafe's and shop so will not lose income! My wife and I regularly visit for a delightful walk followed by a coffee and cake. Our best alternative now is to take two £25 Wakehurst season tickets, thus saving £19 over NT and take our own refreshments!!!! Hopefully its not to late to amend the parking charges to a more sensible and affordable level?
27 February 2014
I note that one person has stated that the proposed charge is fair, comparing it to the price one has to pay to park in Brighton. Firstly, Brighton is one of the most expensive places in the country to park. Secondly, the issue here bears no comparison. Many people have purchased annual or life membership to NT knowing that they have free access to NT properties, including Wakehurst Place. Although Wakehurst Place is run and managed by Kew, it is owned by NT. If NT members are to be alowed free access to Wakehurst Place then they should not be asked to pay parking charges. Any leasing arrangement in place between NT and Kew should, indeed must, honour the moral rights of NT members to make free visits to this NT property. If such rights are not to be allowed, then NT should remove Wakehurst Place from its list of properties open to the public or even sell the property. Alternatively, NT should end the lease and takeover the running and maintenance of Wakehurst and charge Kew rent for their seed-bank buildings. Not knowing the terms of the agreement make it difficult to comment on, however, I susspect this is a case of greed and not a little arrogance on the part of the NT, happy to collect revenue from membership fees and have one of their flagship properties managed and maintained free by Kew. But I also suspect Kew are demonstrating greed and stupidity by targeting only NT members, make up the vast majority of the visitors to Wakehurst and thus undoubtedly contribute to most revenue to the shop and botth cafes. One thing is certain, many, many NT members will stop visiting Wakehurst, some will still visit by walking in to avoid parking charges, some may even end their membership and gain entry via the public footpath that crosses the property. And the damage to the reputation of both NT and Kew will be immeasurable. Both the NT and Kew will be damaged by this flawed proposal, brought about, apparently, by a flawed and failing lease agreement.I note that one person has stated that the proposed charge is fair, comparing it to the price one has to pay to park in Brighton. Firstly, Brighton is one of the most expensive places in the country to park. Secondly, the issue here bears no comparison. Many people have purchased annual or life membership to NT knowing that they have free access to NT properties, including Wakehurst Place. Although Wakehurst Place is run and managed by Kew, it is owned by NT. If NT members are to be alowed free access to Wakehurst Place then they should not be asked to pay parking charges. Any leasing arrangement in place between NT and Kew should, indeed must, honour the moral rights of NT members to make free visits to this NT property. If such rights are not to be allowed, then NT should remove Wakehurst Place from its list of properties open to the public or even sell the property. Alternatively, NT should end the lease and takeover the running and maintenance of Wakehurst and charge Kew rent for their seed-bank buildings. Not knowing the terms of the agreement make it difficult to comment on, however, I susspect this is a case of greed and not a little arrogance on the part of the NT, happy to collect revenue from membership fees and have one of their flagship properties managed and maintained free by Kew. But I also suspect Kew are demonstrating greed and stupidity by targeting only NT members, make up the vast majority of the visitors to Wakehurst and thus undoubtedly contribute to most revenue to the shop and botth cafes. One thing is certain, many, many NT members will stop visiting Wakehurst, some will still visit by walking in to avoid parking charges, some may even end their membership and gain entry via the public footpath that crosses the property. And the damage to the reputation of both NT and Kew will be immeasurable. Both the NT and Kew will be damaged by this flawed proposal, brought about, apparently, by a flawed and failing lease agreement.I note that one person has stated that the proposed charge is fair, comparing it to the price one has to pay to park in Brighton. Firstly, Brighton is one of the most expensive places in the country to park. Secondly, the issue here bears no comparison. Many people have purchased annual or life membership to NT knowing that they have free access to NT properties, including Wakehurst Place. Although Wakehurst Place is run and managed by Kew, it is owned by NT. If NT members are to be alowed free access to Wakehurst Place then they should not be asked to pay parking charges. Any leasing arrangement in place between NT and Kew should, indeed must, honour the moral rights of NT members to make free visits to this NT property. If such rights are not to be allowed, then NT should remove Wakehurst Place from its list of properties open to the public or even sell the property. Alternatively, NT should end the lease and takeover the running and maintenance of Wakehurst and charge Kew rent for their seed-bank buildings. Not knowing the terms of the agreement make it difficult to comment on, however, I susspect this is a case of greed and not a little arrogance on the part of the NT, happy to collect revenue from membership fees and have one of their flagship properties managed and maintained free by Kew. But I also suspect Kew are demonstrating greed and stupidity by targeting only NT members, make up the vast majority of the visitors to Wakehurst and thus undoubtedly contribute to most revenue to the shop and botth cafes. One thing is certain, many, many NT members will stop visiting Wakehurst, some will still visit by walking in to avoid parking charges, some may even end their membership and gain entry via the public footpath that crosses the property. And the damage to the reputation of both NT and Kew will be immeasurable. Both the NT and Kew will be damaged by this flawed proposal, brought about, apparently, by a flawed and failing lease agreement.I note that one person has stated that the proposed charge is fair, comparing it to the price one has to pay to park in Brighton. Firstly, Brighton is one of the most expensive places in the country to park. Secondly, the issue here bears no comparison. Many people have purchased annual or life membership to NT knowing that they have free access to NT properties, including Wakehurst Place. Although Wakehurst Place is run and managed by Kew, it is owned by NT. If NT members are to be alowed free access to Wakehurst Place then they should not be asked to pay parking charges. Any leasing arrangement in place between NT and Kew should, indeed must, honour the moral rights of NT members to make free visits to this NT property. If such rights are not to be allowed, then NT should remove Wakehurst Place from its list of properties open to the public or even sell the property. Alternatively, NT should end the lease and takeover the running and maintenance of Wakehurst and charge Kew rent for their seed-bank buildings. Not knowing the terms of the agreement make it difficult to comment on, however, I susspect this is a case of greed and not a little arrogance on the part of the NT, happy to collect revenue from membership fees and have one of their flagship properties managed and maintained free by Kew. But I also suspect Kew are demonstrating greed and stupidity by targeting only NT members, make up the vast majority of the visitors to Wakehurst and thus undoubtedly contribute to most revenue to the shop and botth cafes. One thing is certain, many, many NT members will stop visiting Wakehurst, some will still visit by walking in to avoid parking charges, some may even end their membership and gain entry via the public footpath that crosses the property. And the damage to the reputation of both NT and Kew will be immeasurable. Both the NT and Kew will be damaged by this flawed proposal, brought about, apparently, by a flawed and failing lease agreement.
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
27 February 2014
The problem obviously lies in mismanagement of the site by Kew. After all, every other NT property in the country, bar two, manages to meet all it needs without recourse to parking fees. Nearby NT properties, Sheffield Park, Standen and Nymans offer breathtaking beauty in a similar environment and do so within the budgets allocated to them. So what makes Wakehurst so different under Kew? Could it be the bottomless pit that is the MSB? Take this out of the equation and Wakehurst would be a similar land and property management proposition to many other NT properties (think of the opulent splendour of Waddesdon Manor) One can only assume that the committed NT members whose active participation in the preservation of some of our finest parklands and houses, have been selected as a new source of income to support the increasingly outdated and hugely expensive modus operandi of the Seed Bank. I for one would be happy to see the bank fenced off from the rest of the grounds with its own entrance, and the Wakehurst we know and love returned to the care of an organisation more focused on ensuring it is enjoyed by as many people as possible - rather than simply generating income.

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