October at Kew Gardens and Wakehurst

Release date: 9 September 2021

  • Kew’s Japan Festival begins
  • Zadok Ben-David: Natural Reserve opens in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art
  • New Gruffalo’s Child Trail for half-term at both Kew and Wakehurst
  • Adult learning events include tea blending, terrarium, and cyanotype workshops
  • Book now for Christmas at Kew 2021
  • Horticultural highlights across Kew and Wakehurst include stunning autumn colour across the Arboretum and Bethlehem Wood

Kew Gardens

Japan Festival

This October, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew invites visitors to immerse themselves in the art, plants and culture of Japan with a brand-new autumn festival. The Japan festival, supported by Daikin UK, runs from Saturday 2 October to Sunday 31 October 2021 in Kew’s majestic Temperate House, the world’s largest surviving Victorian glasshouse. Find out more here. Images available here.

Zadok Ben-David: Natural Reserve

From 16 October, acclaimed artist and sculptor Zadok Ben-David presents Natural Reserve, a new exhibition at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art. This first solo exhibition by the artist in the UK since 2008 includes Blackfield, a space-specific floor installation containing over 17,000 steel etched flowers assembled entirely by hand. Images available here.

Adult Learning Events at Kew

Cyanotype workshop | 1st October | 10am – 1pm | Sir Joseph Banks Building | £80 (price includes entry to the gardens and all materials needed)

This workshop explores this history and chemistry of cyanotype- the art of creating beautiful floral Prussian blue prints. Lead by photographer Magda Kuca, the session will introduce participants to the basics of the cyanotype printmaking process.

Tea blending and tasting workshop | 5th October | 2pm – 4pm | Nash Conservatory | £80 (price includes entry to the gardens)

Join world-renowned tea experts Ahmad Teas for this engaging tea tasting experience in the beautiful surroundings of the Nash Conservatory. This session will explore the origins of tea, tea blending and food pairing, as participants enjoy a delicious afternoon tea.

Photo walk: Kew in autumn | 13th October | 10.30am – 1.30pm or 2.30pm – 5.30pm | meet at Victoria Gate | £80 (price includes entry to the gardens)

Celebrate the splendour of autumn with a seasonal photography walk around Kew Gardens. Lead by experienced photographer and tutor, Marcus Clackson, this course covers a wide range of photographic techniques and allows participants to capture the spectacular autumn colours of the gardens at this most special time of the year.

Botanical drawing: Intermediate | 17th – 19th October | 10.30am – 4pm | Museum Number 1 | £360

Join botanical artist Lucy Smith to deepen your knowledge of plant structure, and how to draw and render the solid forms of fruits and seeds. This course is suitable for artists with some prior experience of botanical drawing.

Boro workshop | 21st October | 1pm-4pm | Cambridge Cottage | £80 (price includes entry to the gardens and a Boro stitching kit)

Lead by Rob Jones, this course explores the history and origins of Boro, how to repair a garment and the practice of visible repair in textiles. Students are also able to bring their own item of clothing along to repair as part of the session.

Terrarium workshop | 21st October | 5pm – 7pm | Nash Conservatory | £100 (price includes entry to the gardens and all materials needed)

Delivered by terrarium experts, the Botanical Boys, this workshop will show you how to build a self-sustaining living garden and care for it afterwards. The course will also illuminate the history of terrariums, watering techniques and aftercare advice.

Autumn foraging basket workshop | 27th October | 10am – 4pm | Nash Conservatory | £120 (price includes entry to the gardens and all materials needed)

Lead by Amanda Ryner from Wyldwood Willow, this workshop will allow participants to create a foraging basket of their own, whilst learning about different willow weaving techniques.

Half term fun with the Gruffalo’s Child

Running from 16th – 31st October at both Kew Gardens and Wakehurst, the Gruffalo’s Child trail plots an enchanting autumnal journey which allows young adventurers to encounter much-loved characters from author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler’s book. As part of their adventure, young visitors will explore striking natural landscapes and become immersed in the enchanting world of the Gruffalo’s Child, brought to life with stunning planting which replicates the snow-covered landscape of the beloved book.


Workshops at Wakehurst

This month, Wakehurst hosts a wide range of autumnal events. Activities include flower arranging, willow weaving and forest bathing, as well as the opportunity to enjoy a delicious Sunday roast in Wakehurst’s 16th century Elizabethan Mansion.

For adults (18+):

Forest bathing | 16th October | 10.30am – 1pm or 2pm – 4.30pm | Wakehurst woodlands (meet at Visitor Centre) | £22.50 (includes day entry to the gardens and car parking)

Lead by Swedish teacher and workshop leader Helena Skoog, this workshop will illuminate the practice of forest bathing, based on the Japanese art of Shinrin-yoku. Wakehurst’s expansive woodlands are the perfect place to reconnect with nature and unwind from the stresses of everyday life during one of these half day sessions.

Digital photography workshop | 17th October | 10.30am – 1pm or 2pm – 4.30pm | Visitor Centre | £49 (includes day entry to the gardens and car parking)

This fun and informative workshop at Wakehurst will encourage visitors to explore photographic creativity this autumn. Lead by photography expert Lillian Spibey, the session will showcase tips and tricks for composition and how to showcase stunning autumn colour on camera.

Floral pumpkin arranging workshop | 23rd October | 11am – 1pm or 2pm – 4pm | Visitor Centre | £49 (includes entry to the gardens and car parking)

Join floral expert Kate Langdale as she showcases how to create an autumnal floral centrepiece using pumpkins and seasonal hand-picked flowers from Wakehurst’s beautiful landscape.

Sunday roast in the Mansion | 31st October | 12pm or 2.30pm | Wakehurst Mansion | Adults £35, Child (3-12) £15, Child (under 3) free (includes entry to the gardens)

Treat yourself to a splendid Sunday roast in Wakehurst’s stunning 16th century Elizabethan Mansion. Enjoy spectacular views over the beautiful wild botanic garden as you enjoy a delicious three course meal.

Willow deer making workshop | 29th and 30th October | 10.30am – 4pm | Visitor Centre | £89 (includes parking and refreshments)

Workshop leader Martin Brockman will offer a step-by-step guide to weaving willow, coppiced hazel and other materials during this session at Wakehurst. Participants will learn about using a range of natural materials to create sculptures and environmental arts, and will have the opportunity to create a stunning willow deer for their garden.

Horticultural Highlights

Horticultural highlights on display this month at Kew include the vibrant autumnal hues of Kew’s arboretum, which can be enjoyed from a unique perspective with a seasonal stroll along the Treetop Walkway. Throughout the month, Wakehurst’s expansive woodlands are scattered with seasonal vibrant reds, burnt oranges and sunset yellows, and the Loder Valley Nature Reserve is a must-visit destination for spotting a variety of wildlife.

Coming Soon

Christmas at Kew - book now

From Wednesday 17 November to Sunday 9 January, Christmas at Kew, a much-loved highlight of London’s festive calendar, returns for its ninth year. This year’s trail features a host of firm seasonal favourites alongside pioneering new light installations, illuminating Kew Gardens’ UNESCO World Heritage landscape with vibrant bursts of colour and over a million twinkling lights. A celebration of nature by night, and the wonder of biodiversity, this is an enchanting seasonal experience like no other, for visitors of all ages. Pre-booking essential. Images available here.                    


What we are doing to keep visitors safe 

The safety and wellbeing of our visitors is of the utmost importance to us and we are continually monitoring and responding to the Covid-19 pandemic as it evolves. We are adhering to government advice in our planning to ensure visitors and staff remain safe while enjoying Kew and Wakehurst. Safety measures will reflect government advice at the time of visiting and will be clearly communicated across RBG Kew’s channels and onsite.


For more information, images, or to unsubscribe from this mailing list, please contact the Press Office at pr@kew.org.

Notes to Editors

About 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 Wakehurst

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

Wakehurst, Kew’s wild botanic garden in Sussex is home to the Millennium Seed Bank and over 500 acres of the world’s plants including temperate woodlands, ornamental gardens and a nature reserve. It is situated in the High Weald of Sussex, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and focuses on wild plant collections. The Millennium Seed Bank houses and protects seed from the world’s most substantial and diverse collection of threatened and useful wild plants, making it the most biodiverse place on earth.

RBG 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. 

In March 2021, RBG Kew launched its 10-year strategy Our Manifesto for Change 2021. The institution’s ultimate goal is step up to help to end the extinction crisis and contribute to creating a world where nature is protected, valued by all and managed sustainably. In the wake of a global pandemic, and with the future of the planet in peril, the strategy represents a public commitment by RBG Kew to do everything in its power to reverse the environmental devastation of biodiversity loss and climate change.  The five key priorities are 1) Delivering science-based knowledge and solutions to protect biodiversity and use natural resources sustainably 2) Inspiring people to protect the natural world 3) Training the next generation of experts: 4) Extending our reach 5) Influencing national and international opinion and policy.

On May 25th RBG Kew launched its new Sustainability Strategy – committing to become Climate Positive by 2030 and marking a step-change in our urgent action to tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis.