What’s on this July at Kew Gardens and Wakehurst

Release date: 23 June 2022

  • Food Forever, exhibition exploring the future of food at Kew Gardens
  • Nourish at Wakehurst with art installations, workshops and evening events
  • Pip & Pop: When Flowers Dream in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art
  • Great Broad Walk Borders and the vibrant American Prairie at Wakehurst among seasonal garden highlights
  • Kew the Music and Theatre on Kew evening events
  • Forest Bathing and Temperate House Yoga at Kew and cycling, dog walking and running at Wakehurst
  • Short courses include gardening for beginners and macro photography

Kew Gardens

Food Forever

Food; we love it and we can’t live without it. But the world is changing, and so is what we eat. Kew’s exciting new summer programme, Food Forever, continues throughout July. Exploring the future of food and how the choices we make can help to transform the planet for good, visitors can discover large scale art installations around the gardens, including a fantastical cornfield labyrinth and a giant mythical troll picnic.

Giant, wooden, smiling troll
Trolls (Matt and Helen), 2022. Photo: Thomas Dambo
Food Forever Evening Talks

14th July | Imagining a menu for tomorrow | Jenny Linford, Chantelle Nicholson, Dr James Borrell and Nick Saltmarsh

Chaired by Jenny Linford, editor of The Kew Gardens Cookbook, this talk will examine how chefs and growers are transforming the way we eat in the UK, and what our diets might look like in decades to come. How can traditional or lost foods become part of future solutions, and what are the innovative ideas being put forward by chefs and growers today? This talk will be followed by signing of The Kew Gardens Cookbook.

28th July | Making change one harvest at a time | Dee Woods, Abby Rose and Hélèna Dove

Led by food and farming actionist Dee Woods, this discussion will explore our food systems from the perspective of farming and growing communities, with an in-depth look at where our food actually comes from. Where is innovation in food growing taking place, locally and globally, and how might the communities involved be better supported in the future?

An audience watch several people talking surrounded by plants in a large white metal glasshouse
Food Forever Evening Talks © RBG Kew
Food Forever Weekends

2nd & 3rd July | Supermarketforest by Something & Son

Andy Merritt from Something & Son collaborates with artist Nicol Vizoli to explore how landscapes can provide our everyday products while also rebuilding ecosystems.

9th, 10th, 16th & 17th July | Pickle and Grind by Popeye Collective

Join us for an experimental workshop building on Popeye Collective’s work creating conversations about plant-based food systems.

23rd, 24th, 30th & 31st July | We are all Futurists with Sharp & Sour

Join the designers behind Future Food Stories to discover what kind of futurist you are and share ideas on how we might shape future food systems.

When Flowers Dream

Now open in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art is the debut London exhibition for acclaimed Australian artist Tanya Schultz, known as Pip & Pop. When Flowers Dream showcases an eclectic, playful and immersive mix of vibrant artworks and a brand-new bespoke installation created especially for Kew Gardens - an imaginary landscape brimming with foods of the future.

Vibrant kaleidoscope-looking image
When Flowers Dream © Pip & Pop
The Art of Food

Alongside When Flowers Dream in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art is The Art of Food, a new exhibition featuring a series of still life and plant portraiture from the Shirley Sherwood Collection. Works on display as part of this exhibition showcase plants which provide carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins as nourishment. Artists featuring include Phansakdi Chakkaphak, Brigid Edwards and Alvaro E. X. Nunes.

Watercolour of pomegranates (Punica granatum) by Ann Schweizer
Watercolour of pomegranates (Punica granatum) by Ann Schweizer © RBG Kew

Horticultural Highlights

Horticultural highlights on display this July at Kew Gardens include the stunning Great Broad Walk Borders, believed to be the longest double herbaceous borders in Europe - and possibly the world. Stretching out in a rainbow of colour which runs at over 300 metres, this area of the gardens is home to dazzling flower beds which burst into vivid life during the summer months. Kew’s magnificent selection of water lilies are also on display in the Water Lily House and Princess of Wales Conservatory.  At Wakehurst, the American Prairie is blooming, with a sea of spectacular flowers on display as this special landscape continues to evolve.

Late summer in the Great Board Walk Borders at Kew
Great Broad Walk Borders, Richard Wilford © RBG Kew

Wellbeing at Kew

Kew’s popular wellbeing events support both physical and mental wellbeing within the inspiring surroundings of Kew Gardens’ 320-acre UNESCO World Heritage site.

Forest bathing 2nd, 22nd & 30th July | 10.30am- 1.30pm | Arboretum | £60 (includes entry to the Kew Gardens and 20% discount in our restaurants)

Inspired by the Japanese art of Shinrin-yoku, forest bathing is a sensory woodland walk alongside an expert guide, who will lead participants as they disconnect from the stresses of everyday life. Organised in partnership with the Forest Bathing Institute.

Tai chi | 15th, 22nd & 29th July | 9am – 10am | Mediterranean Garden | £35 (includes entry to Kew Gardens and 20% discount in our restaurants)

Boost your physical and mental wellbeing with the centuries-old Chinese martial art, tai chi, amidst the tranquil surroundings of Kew’s Mediterranean Garden.

Temperate House Yoga | 20th July | 7.30am – 8.45am | Temperate House | £45 (includes entry to Kew Gardens and 20% discount in our restaurants)

These one-hour vinyasa flow sessions are held in the spectacular Temperate House. Enjoy pre-opening classes in the midst of 10,000 rare and endangered plants, led by Anil Jangi, Kew’s own yoga instructor.

Many people lie on yoga mats surrounded by green plants in a glasshouse
Yoga in the Temperate House © RBG Kew

Short Courses

Macro photography workshop | 6 July | 10.30am – 4.30pm | Victoria Gate | £90

Want to dive into the extreme close-up world of macro and still life photography? Then come on this course led by experienced photographer and tutor Marcus Clackson and learn the techniques for capturing detailed and exciting nature macro photos in the Gardens.

Gardening for beginners | 7 July | 10.30am – 4pm | Lady Sainsbury Lecture Theatre | £80

This one-day gardening course is aimed at keen amateurs who wish to improve their knowledge of growing and maintaining plants in their garden. Pick up hints and tips on selecting plants, and how and when to plant trees, shrubs and herbaceous species.

Kitchen Garden
Kitchen Garden © RBG Kew

Theatre on Kew

This summer, Sixteenfeet Productions bring their unique style of theatre to both Kew Gardens and Wakehurst with productions which promise to enchant audiences of all ages, reimagining classic stories for a new generation within the magical natural  surroundings of Kew Gardens and Wakehurst.

Twelfth Night | 29th, 30th & 31st July at 7.30pm

As twilight falls at Kew Gardens, a tale of passion, revenge and laughter begins to unfold. As the lovesick Duke Orsino pines for the beautiful Countess Olivia, Viola is separated from her twin brother Sebastian by a shipwreck. A hilarious love-triangle ensues, compounded by the mischievous antics of Sir Toby Belch and his companions.

The Jungle Book | 23rd, 24th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th & 31st July at 11am and 2pm / 26th July at 2pm

Inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s Mowgli Stories, The Jungle Book tells the much-loved tale of Mowgli and her adventures, as she meets the wise panther Bagheera, the noble wolf Akela and the irrepressible bear Baloo. This acclaimed production allows visitors of all ages to help Mowgli as she journeys through the jungle, avoiding Kaa the python and crossing paths with the infamous tiger Shere Khan.

Three people dressed in animal costumes with green bushes around them

Kew the Music

This July, Kew the Music is back with a series of open-air concerts featuring an array of headline acts. Enjoy iconic names in spectacular surroundings as you soak up the special ambience of Kew Gardens on a summer evening.

Van Morrison- 5 July | James Blunt - 6 July | DJ Spoony Presents Garage Classical - 7 July | Will Young, James Morrison and Cally Rhodes - 8 July | Bananarama supported by Gabrielle and Rebecca Ferguson - 9 July | Gipsy Kings - 10 July | Ticket prices vary

Kew the Music

Wakehurst

Events

5K Run | 3 July | 8:30am | Adults: £12, Wakehurst and Kew Gardens Members: £10

Challenge yourself to your first 5K or beat your personal best in Wakehurst’s stunning surroundings. Take on wild pathways winding through woodlands and past the world-famous Millenium Seedbank, with the opportunity to explore the gardens more leisurely after you’ve crossed the finish line.

Nourish | 8 July – 18 September | Included with entry
Nourish: After Hours | Selected dates throughout summer | Adults: £15, Children (4 to 16 years): £9, Under 4s: Free

Discover the future of plants and food and nourish your mind and body as you encounter five striking installations in Wakehurst’s wild landscape. Embark on a journey through immersive artworks and enjoy a variety of enchanting events after hours.

Wellbeing Evenings: Dog Walking | 22 July | 6pm – 8:30pm (last entry 6:30pm) | Wakehurst | Adults: £7.50, Wakehurst and Kew members: Free, Children under 16: Free

Soak up the evening sun as you stroll around the wild botanic garden with your canine companion in tow! The designated route will weave through woodlands of the world and past Westwood Lake, offering a variety of exciting terrains and surroundings to explore.

Yoga Morning | 23 July | 8am – 9am | Meet at Wakehurst Visitor Centre | £25 / £22.50 for Wakehurst and Kew members (includes entry to the gardens and car parking)

Enjoy exclusive access to our wild botanic garden before opening time and participate in an hour of yoga in the tranquil landscape. Suitable for all levels, the session will be led by yoga instructor Olive, who trained in India and teaches across Sussex.

Family Forest Adventure | 25, 27 & 29 July | 10.30am – 1pm or 2pm – 4.30pm | Meet at Wakehurst Visitor Centre | £10 adults / £8 members, £5 children

Bring the whole family together to join in with our fun-filled forest skills workshop at Wakehurst. Learn traditional fire lighting techniques, make your own charcoal and get cosy around the campfire for some wild cooking and story-telling.

Wellbeing Evenings: Cycling | 29 July| 6pm – 8:30pm (Entry slots 6pm & 6:30pm) | Wakehurst | Adults: £7.50, Wakehurst and Kew members: £5, Children under 16: Free

Explore Wakehurst on two wheels, with two routes forming a leisurely cycle around the magnificent gardens in the evening sun. This event promises to be enjoyable for all the family, with a short flat route for an easy-going experience, and a more adventurous loop taking in impressive views of the dramatic landscapes.

A colourful illustration of food crops

Workshops

Willow Weaving Workshop | 9 July | 10.30am – 4.30pm | Meet at the Wakehurst Visitor Centre Car Park | £89 / £80 for Wakehurst and Kew members (includes entry to the gardens)

Join us to discover the secrets of the traditional art of willow weaving and create your own willow structure, made from willow coppiced on site at Wakehurst. Workshop leader Dominic Parrette, a Sussex-based basket maker and willow grower, will guide you through the willow weaving process to help you produce a stunning willow flower structure that will look great in your garden.

Woodland day with charcoal-making | 16 July | 10am – 4pm | Loder Valley | 10am – 4pm | £70 / £63 for Wakehurst and Kew members (includes entry to the gardens and car parking)

This full-day workshop in the heart of our woodland will provide you with the skills to understand timber selection and fire lighting, and all the knowledge you need to run your own kiln. Your day will be led by experienced Loder Valley Ranger, Steven Robinson, who has 25 years of knowledge of crafting charcoal.

Kilns at Wakehurst during the charcoal making process
Kilns at Wakehurst during the charcoal making process, © RBG Kew

Exhibitions

Surviving or Thriving: An exhibition on plants and us | Daily, 10am – 3:30pm | Millennium Seed Bank | Included with entry

This exhibition brings Kew’s State of the World’s Plants reports to life, telling the story of why some plants are only surviving, while others are thriving. Through film, audio, models, and a futuristic garden, explore the challenges that plants face and discover the vital role of fungi too.

Surviving or Thriving exhibition at Wakehurst © Adomas Mockus
Surviving or Thriving exhibition at Wakehurst © Adomas Mockus

ENDS

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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 2021 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.