Gruffalo Adventures

Explore Kew’s deep, dark wood. Autumn half-term family programme sets a quest through the Kew Gardens Arboretum to search for the legendary beast…

Release date: 17 September 2020

  • From 17 October – 1 November, Kew Gardens celebrates the childhood favourite character, The Gruffalo
  • Families can play the ‘little brown mouse’ and follow a trail to track down the Gruffalo
  • Visitors can spot wildlife and enjoy Kew Gardens’ autumn landscape
  • Wakehurst, Kew’s wild botanic garden in Sussex, will also host its own Gruffalo autumn programme

Gruffalo Adventures plots a specially curated journey through the Kew Gardens Arboretum. Visitors will encounter much-loved characters from author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler’s book, including Fox, Owl and Snake, and of course, The Gruffalo! With helpful guide in hand, children can follow the tracks of each animal, leading them to the characters’ hiding spots.

Visitors are encouraged to come to Kew Gardens donning their own face-painted whiskers, ready to step into the role of the little brown mouse and learn how to be brave. On their way to find the Gruffalo, adventurers will find fox footprints, an owl feather xylophone, and a snakeskin gong inspired by the story, and learn more about the characteristics of each of these animals as they go.

While searching for the elusive Gruffalo, young visitors will get the chance to play and explore in Kew Gardens’ striking Arboretum - home to 14,000 trees - and will become immersed in the world of The Gruffalo.

Brave explorers might even get the chance to encounter The Gruffalo himself in the form of a costumed character making timed appearances throughout the half-term period.

Kew Gardens’ stunning autumn landscape boasts canopies blazing with autumnal colours, including particularly vibrant shagbark hickory, maple and sweetgum trees. Visitors can also spot wildlife collecting conkers and acorns from the floor below. In our Kitchen Garden it is the season for abundant beetroots, carrots and pumpkins, making a visit to Kew at this time of year a truly memorable day out.

Sandra Botterell, Director of Marketing and Commercial Enterprise at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew said:

“We are thrilled to bring such an iconic tale to Kew Gardens, in what is set to be a great adventure for families over the half-term break. The Gruffalo is a perfect fit for Kew Gardens, and we hope visitors venturing through Kew’s landscape will be transported to Donaldson and Scheffler’s much-loved universe.”

Daryl Shute, Brand Director at Magic Light Pictures, added:

“We are thrilled to be announcing this partnership with Kew Gardens. To bring The Gruffalo to this iconic deep dark wood of West London is really exciting. By combining the beauty of Julia and Axel’s characters with the theme of ‘the marks we leave behind’, Kew has created a really original activation, which guests will love for sure.”

Wakehurst, Kew’s wild botanic garden in Sussex, will also host its very own Gruffalo Adventures. Among other activities, instead of a costumed character, visitors will be able to venture through Wakehurst’s beautiful woodlands in search of ingredients for a Gruffalo crumble, and join a wild workshop to make their own Snake bread and go footprint finding. The Gruffalo Trail is included with entry to the gardens, which must be pre-booked. Some activities are separately ticketed events which must also be booked and purchased in advance along with garden entry.


For images and more information please contact the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Press Office on 020 8332 5607 or email

Admission to the festival is included in the general entrance ticket to the Gardens.

Visitors, including Members, must pre-book timed entry slots online via the website

At Wakehurst, admission to the Gruffalo Trail is included in the garden entry ticket, which must be booked in advance. Additional activities must also be pre-booked: Gruffalo Crumble Hunt £4, and Footprints, Food and Gruffalo Fun workshop £15 per child (includes one free accompanying adult).

Please note, the Gruffalo costumed character will only be making timed appearances at the Kew Gardens site, and not at Wakehurst.

Notes to Editors

About the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world-famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding collections as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world. Kew Gardens is a major international and a top London visitor attraction. Kew Gardens’ 132 hectares of landscaped gardens, and Wakehurst, Kew’s Wild Botanic Garden, attract over 2.5 million visits every year. Kew Gardens was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 260th anniversary in 2019. Wakehurst is home to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. RBG Kew receives approximately one third of its funding from Government through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and research councils. Further funding needed to support RBG Kew’s vital work comes from donors, membership and commercial activity including ticket sales.

About Magic Light

Magic Light Pictures is an award-winning brand-building company with a strong background in production, creating rich and imaginative experiences for families worldwide. The company, founded in 2003, directly manages production, licensing, global distribution and marketing. The company balances its brand-building work with film making of the highest quality – including Oscar-nominated animated feature Chico & Rita, comedy thriller Wild Target and natural history documentary One Life. Magic Light’s key brand is The Gruffalo, from the best-selling picture books by author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler. Magic Light produced the Oscar and BAFTA-nominated half-hour animated films, The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child, and has sold them to over 180 broadcasters worldwide. Magic Light also runs a cross-category international merchandising programme for The Gruffalo brand, with over 80 licensees and hundreds of products that capture the charm of the original books. Magic Light also produced Room on the Broom, Stick Man, The Highway Rat, Zog and The Snail and the Whale films – which have proved to be award winning half-hour classics that are as loved as The Gruffalo. In 2016 Magic Light produced two half-hours based on Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes. They were watched by 9.3million viewers and have won numerous awards including a BAFTA for Best Animation. Magic Light's film for BBC One, on Christmas 2020 will be Zog and the Flying Doctors. Follow on Twitter and Instagram @MagicLightPics