Kew Science Festival at Wakehurst

Join our scientists for fun-filled experiments, activities and more. Weekend of 25 & 26 May 2019, 10am – 5pm.

Release date: 8 April 2019

• Meet Kew’s scientists as they bring their work out of the labs and into the beautiful Wakehurst landscape

• TV presenter Stefan Gates hosts Gastronaut: The Wildest Food Show on Earth

• Go behind the scenes and see the underground vaults at the Millennium Seed Bank

• Hands-on experiments, activities, shows and demos

• Wild Science – explore trails, immersive guided walks and field activities

Grab your goggles, slip on a lab coat and get stuck into the Kew Science Festival at Wakehurst.

This is the third Kew Science Festival at Wakehurst and is back by popular demand!

With over 350 scientists and work spanning over 100 countries, Kew is a global leader in plant and fungal science; from carrying out exciting plant discovery expeditions in Colombia, to vital conservation work in biodiversity hotspot Madagascar, and unearthing the fundamental impacts of plants on our daily lives.

This year’s scientific extravaganza will not only focus on the vital importance of conserving the world’s plant biodiversity, but will bring to life, for all ages, the crucial value of plant and fungal science.

The two-day festival is a rare chance to experience vital plant and fungal science first hand and find out what Kew scientists are doing to protect rare and threatened species.

Set in and around the world-renowned Millennium Seed Bank, the festival features marquees on the lawns and will house an extensive programme with something to intrigue everyone.

  • It is also the perfect chance for adults to enjoy our NEW exhibition Surviving or Thriving - an exhibition on plants and us, in the atrium of the seed bank.

Festival highlights

Cryo Corner

Prepare to be amazed at what’s happening inside the vats of billowing nitrogen! Discover how Kew scientists are pioneering new techniques to conserve seeds that can’t be banked in the normal way. Watch ice-cream being made with liquid nitrogen. Science doesn’t get much cooler!

Discover DNA

What does DNA look like? Come and find out for yourself and try your hand at extracting DNA from a strawberry.

Gastronaut: The Wildest Food Show on Earth

TV presenter Stefan Gates’ extraordinary live show about food and science. A blend of bizarre plant biology with explosive chemistry, sensory perception and phenomenal physics to reveal the shocking secrets behind the food we eat every day.  

Behind the Scenes Tours of the Millennium Seed Bank

A rare chance to go behind the scenes and uncover the subterranean secrets of the most     biodiverse place in the world. Book early on the day as spaces are limited

More than a Mushroom

Do you want to be a part of the Wood Wide Web? Let our giant fungus introduce you to the wonders of Kingdom Fungi, help you communicate with each other and join the most extensive network ever imagined! A dynamic and interactive installation from Kew’s outreach project, Grow Wild.

Science Café, shows, workshops and more

A programme of inspirational workshops and award-winning shows will keep you enthralled. Drop in to the Science Café and hang out with TV presenter Simon Watt for a series of family games, quizzes and Q&As to get you thinking

Google Goggles – Virtual Field Trip

Experience for yourself what it feels like to be a scientist on a field trip. Step into a virtual landscape with the help of our 360-degree Google Goggles to follow in the footsteps of our conservation scientists.

Wild Science

Explore Wakehurst’s extraordinary wild landscape and uncover how we carry out science in the gardens and in the wild – from the crops grown on site for research, to the conservation of rare plants and seeds. Join a Pollinator Walk, go on a Fungi Quest, and find out how some of our most important, rare and threatened trees measure up for size.

Honey Detective

Become a honey detective and match the honey to the plant it comes from – just why do different bees seek out certain plants? The best-tasting chemistry lesson you’ve ever had! Plus, take a peek inside a live bumblebee colony.


Food and drink will be available all weekend.

Notes for Editors

Entry to the festival is fee of charge with garden admission. Children 16 and under are free. An adult ticket is £13.95.

Wakehurst, Kew’s Wild Botanic Garden in the Sussex High Weald is one of the most beautiful and significant botanic gardens in the country. It is home to Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, which houses and protects seed from the world’s most substantial and diverse collection of threatened and useful wild plants, and leads the MSB Partnership, a crucially important global science-based conservation programme which is the largest of its kind in the world. The estate includes a contemporary botanic garden, where ornamental plantings and exotic tree and shrub collections of international importance sit within native woodland. Wakehurst’s natural assets associated with its countryside location renders it complementary to Kew’s West London site, with different growing conditions, and a real emphasis on wild plant collections. Coupled with the Millennium Seed Bank, Wakehurst offers an inspiring, immersive, and educational day out for the whole family, and serves as a vital contribution to UK and global plant conservation.

Kew receives just under half of its funding from Government through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and research councils. Further funding needed to support Kew’s vital work comes from donors, membership and commercial activity including ticket sales.

Please note that Wakehurst is referred to just as Wakehurst, not Wakehurst Place. It is not a National Trust property.


For more information please contact: Sandra Howard, Communications and Content Manager on 01444 894336.