Kew Science Festival at Wakehurst

Science comes alive at Wakehurst with a wild weekend of workshops, hands-on experiments, shows and more. 25 and 26 May 2019.

Release date: 31 May 2018

Festival highlights 

  •  Kew scientists bring their work out of the labs and into the landscape 
  •  TV presenter Simon Watt hosts a Science Café – tasting and talking foods of the future 
  •  Go behind the scenes at the Millennium Seed Bank 
  •  Pop-up science – hands-on experiments, activities and demos 
  •  Wild science – explore trails, guided walks and field activities

A scientific extravaganza 

Wriggle into a crisp white lab coat and pop on some protective specs as you prepare to take part in the second Kew Science Festival at Wakehurst! 
With over 300 scientists and work spanning 110 countries, Kew is a global leader in plant and fungal science; from carrying out exciting plant discovery expeditions in Mozambique, 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 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. 

Pop-up science 

Chat to real scientists as they run hands-on experiments for budding botanists in the lab and the field. Discover why we save seeds, how they carry out cryopreservation and exactly what DNA looks like. 

Walk on the ‘wild side’ of science 

Explore the wilder side of Wakehurst and uncover how we carry out science in the gardens and in the wild, including a look at some of the rare plants and trees we seek to conserve. 

Exclusive behind the scenes tours 

Go deep underground for a tour of the vaults in the Millennium Seed Bank to see where we store over two billion individual seeds from more than 38,000 species. Glimpse inside our glasshouses where some of the world’s rarest plants live. (tours can be booked on the day). 
Science Café  

Hang out with TV science presenter Simon Watt and take part in family games and quizzes. 

Award-winning theatre shows 

Talented actors will make sure science has you both spellbound and howling with laughter. 
Discover how the yummy stuff is made in The Science of Chocolate Show (guide 7+). Just why is it so delicious? For our younger guests (guide 4+) we have two multi-award-winning outdoor theatre pieces Grass (Saturday) and Me and My Bee (Sunday) co-presented by Kew’s Grow Wild Outreach Programme. 

Drop in to the Botanical studio  

Unearth fun and lively plant science – perfect for budding botanists. Try out the techniques our scientists use as you identify, draw, press and photograph plants. Watch botanical illustrators from Kew’s best-selling book, Botanicum, at work, and dip into block printing and dye workshops. 


An exciting array of workshops will be on offer over the course of the weekend, including Foods of the future, Cartoon drawing, Film making, Plant evolution and Botanical drawing. 


Make a day of it and enjoy a delicious selection of food and drink served throughout the festival. 

For further details and to plan your visit see: 


For more information contact Sandra Howard, Communications and Content Manager on 01444 894336 / 07753 938682 

Notes to editors

Entrance to the festival is free of charge with garden admission. Children 16 and under are free. An adult ticket is £12.95. 

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.