Exploring Wakehurst with children
- Adventurous Journeys natural play spaces
- What's on
- Family fun leaflet
- Visitor map
- Millennium Seed Bank
- Eating and drinking
- Toilets and baby changing
- Bags and buggies
- Helpful hints
- Walking times with young children
- Bicycles and games
- How to find us
Adventurous Journeys outdoor play
Pick up a passport from the Visitor Centre and go on a really wild adventure around the grounds of Wakehurst. Look for hidden seed capsules, complete challenges and play, climb and balance your way along the natural play features.
To find out what’s on for children over the school holidays and other seasonal events, visit our What's on pages.
Family Fun leaflet
Packed with great activity ideas, you can download the leaflet below or pick one up from the Visitor Centre.
This map of Wakehurst shows the paths, picnic spots, play spaces and garden highlights. You can download the map below or pick one up from the Visitor Centre.
Millennium Seed Bank
Take a fun photo of your family dressed as scientists, peek through the spy holes in the Seed Wall and follow our seeds as they journey through the seed bank
Visit the Visitor Centre shop - we offer a range of books, toys and fun gadgets for imaginative minds. Due to Sunday Trading regulations the gift shop (including plant sales) will be closed on Easter Sunday, 27 March.
Eating and drinking
There are two cafés and restaurants at Wakehurst.
The Stables restaurant is our largest catering outlet and serves freshly-prepared main meals, including children’s portions and cooked-to-order pasta dishes, along with homemade cakes and children’s boxes. There are family-friendly tables with colouring sheets and activities in the top section of the restaurant. The Stables is near the Mansion.
The Seed Café
The Seed Café is the smaller catering outlet at Wakehurst and is perfect for a cup of coffee, sandwich or cake. The Seed Café is inside the Visitor Centre.
Facilities for warming baby’s bottles are available at the Stables and Seed Café.
Feel free to bring your own food to Wakehurst. Picnics are allowed anywhere except in the cafes and restaurants or on the two formal lawns in front of the Mansion. Picnic benches are provided near the Visitor Centre, and at the following Adventurous Journeys play spaces: Tunnels and Tents, Unexpected Endings, SightSeeing and Root Route (marked on the visitor map).
Rubbish and recycling
Please take all your rubbish away with you. There are recycling facilities for paper, plastic bottles and cans near the Stables and also on the way to the Visitor Centre.
Toilets and baby changing
There are four sets of toilets through the upper parts of the Garden - please see our visitor map for details. There are no toilets in the woodlands areas of the estate. Baby changing facilities are available in the Visitor Centre, the Stables, the Millennium Seed Bank and by the Walled Garden (marked on the visitor map).
Bags and buggies
Wakehurst’s landscape has many paths and most buildings have ramped access. Although they are hard-surfaced, the paths down into Bloomers Valley and into Westwood Valley are very steep. Elsewhere in the woodlands many of the paths are surfaced with wood chips and may be uneven. See our visitor map for details of areas that may be unsuitable for wheelchairs and buggies.
Wakehurst is a botanic garden. Many special plants live here – some are very old, some are very rare but all are very important and need your help to look after them.
- talk with your children about why Wakehurst is such a wonderful place
- be gentle and kind to our plants and flowers
- collect fallen petals, leaves, seeds and small sticks
- be kind and gentle to our animals
- explore and discover
- have lots of fun
- find open areas to let off steam
- try out the fun activities in the Family Fun leaflet
- be aware of hazards such as water and moving vehicles
- harm our trees or trample our flowers
- pick anything that is growing or pick up really big sticks
- chase the ducks
- climb the trees, run through the flowerbeds or go into the hooped areas
- disturb other visitors
- play ball or throwing and catching games
- bring scooters, bicycles, rollerskates, rollerblades or heelies into the gardens
- leave your children unattended
Walking times with young children
- from the Visitor Centre to the Mansion about 15 minutes
- from the Mansion to the Water Gardens 15 to 20 minutes
- from the Visitor Centre to the Millennium Seed Bank about 10 minutes
- from the Mansion to Westwood Valley 20 to 25 minutes
Visits involve plenty of walking, so wear comfortable shoes. Please note that rollerskates, rollerblades and heelies are not allowed in Wakehurst.
Bicycles and games
To protect our rare and valuable trees and plants we do not allow bicycles, scooters, ball games and tree-climbing at Wakehurst. Please do go wild at our Adventurous Journeys play spaces and try the activities in our Family Fun leaflet!
How to find us
There is a limited weekday bus service to Wakehurst and we encourage you to visit via public transport for environmental reasons. There are cycle racks near the Visitor Centre for those who wish to cycle to the gardens. For more detailed information visit the Getting to Wakehurst page.