Parents' Survival Guide
Wakehurst Place isn’t just for gardeners! Children can be entertained all day long with family-friendly activities as well as 180 acres to explore! We have compiled some essential information to help you plan a visit to Wakehurst Place for the whole family.
- There are simple jigsaws and puzzles to do in the Mansion Chapel. Please leave the room tidy when you have finished.
- Half term activities - Enjoy some creative fun with family activities available during school half terms in the Mansion. Suitable for children aged 3 - 9. Book with a member of staff on the day.
- Gardens - Run off some energy on the grass paths between the ornamental beds or amongst the trees of Wakehurst’s arboretum. Children in particular will enjoy the area around the Mansion Pond and the Water Gardens, where they can see ducks and moorhens. If you are here early and very quiet you may even see a heron!
- Trails - Look out to see if there are any children’s trails at the time of your visit, details can be found at the Visitor Centre when you arrive. There are also trails to follow in the Wakehurst Place Newsletter.
- Guided tours - Older children can learn lots about plants on our FREE daily guided tours, which leave at 11:30am and 2pm daily. See our Guided Tours page for more information.
Some helpful hints
Wakehurst Place 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 Place 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.
- Be aware of hazards… water, moving vehicles.
- Try out our fun activities!
- 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.
- Leave your children unattended.
Visit the Visitor Centre shop that offers a range of books, toys and gadgets for imaginative minds.
Toilets and baby changing
There are four sets of toilets through the upper parts of the Garden, please see our 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.
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 Newsletter map for those unsuitable for wheelchairs and buggies.
Eating and drinking
There are two cafes and restaurants at Wakehurst Place.
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. Stables is near the Mansion.
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 Place. Picnics are allowed anywhere here 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, above Westwood Lake and in Coates’ Wood.
Please take all your rubbish away with you. Recycle your paper wrappers, plastic bottles and cans near the Stables and also on the way to the Visitor Centre.
Walking times with young children
• From the Visitor Centre to the Mansion about 15 minutes
• From the Mansion to the Water Gardens about 15-20 minutes
• From the Visitor Centre to the Millennium Seed Bank about 10 minutes
• From the Mansion to Westwood Valley about 20-25 minutes
Visits involve plenty of walking, so wear comfortable shoes. Please note that rollerskates, rollerblades and heelies and not allowed within Wakehurst Place.
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 Place.
How to find us
There is a limited weekday bus service to Wakehurst Place 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. See How to find us for more detailed information on public transport and parking.
The Big Draw
Since 2004 Kew has offered its visitors to Wakehurst Place the chance to take part in art activities during the month of October (usually over the autumn half term), as part of the national Campaign For Drawing.
See Wakehurst's What's On pages for more details.
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