Tales and Trails

Wrap up warm and connect with nature. Saturday 22 December 2018 – Sunday 6 January 2019, 11am-3pm (Gardens closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)

Release date: 12 October 2018

  • Uncover the secrets of Kew’s winter woodlands
  • Take advantage of off-peak daytime ticket pricing over the Christmas holidays
  • Experience storytelling and outdoor theatre
  • Explore how plants, fungi and wildlife contribute to ecosystems in all seasons
  • Enjoy a green Christmas and recycle your Christmas Tree

Venture into Kew’s magnificent Arboretum and explore the Gardens’ wintry landscapes with the benefit of off-peak daytime ticket pricing this Christmas. Kew is inviting visitors to wander along woodland trails, spotting evergreen treetops and bursts of delicate snowdrops at their feet. With an exciting programme of special activities and walks, there’s plenty to do and see at Kew throughout the holiday period. 

Kew’s Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art will be the hub of activities during the festive season. Visitors can experience whimsical outdoor performances and listen to tales of ancient forests. Welly walks and winter trails throughout the Gardens will enable visitors to learn about the scientific relationships between plants, fungi and animals, helping families to connect to nature.

Gina Koutsika, Head of Visitor Programmes, Events and Exhibitions at Kew says: “We’re delighted to bring another jam-packed programme of daytime events to the Gardens this winter. The tales and songs brought to visitors by The Fabularium and Rachel Rose Reid will be sure to enchant listeners of all ages, and our new trails inspired by the beautiful winter landscapes at Kew are a fantastic opportunity for families to learn together about nature’s rich ecosystems.”


The Fabularium

Join Grimbert the Badger and Reynard the Fox on an outdoor adventure. When Reynard wants to leave the comforts of the Gardens and head for the busy city, Grimbert does his best to convince the Fox to stay and cherish the nature that surrounds him. This new performance is brought to Kew by outdoor performance specialists, The Fabularium.

(Timed performances between 11am-3pm, starting opposite the Shirley Sherwood Gallery)

Storytelling with Rachel Rose Reid

Cosy up inside the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art as renowned storyteller Rachel Rose Reid captivates curious minds with tales and songs of the natural world, forest life, and ancient trees.

Surrounded by four exhibitions including Mark Frith’s exquisite images of Britain’s finest oaks in wintertime, and Pandora Sellars’ vivid and dynamic paintings often described as ‘botanical theatre’, be inspired to go out and explore the Gardens’ interactive trails.

(11.30am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm and 2.30pm, Shirley Sherwood Gallery)

Winter Walks

Welly Walks

Prepare to get muddy! Just because it’s rainy it doesn’t mean there isn’t fun to be had in the Gardens. Find out which plants come into their own in the winter months, and what is going on in the ground beneath our feet by going off-piste on the way to play on the log trail.

New ‘talk tubes’ help families communicate with each other, and connect different plants and the roles they play.

(All day, self-led)

Woodland Walk

While it might seem that all of nature has gone into hibernation over winter, fewer flowers and less greenery makes it a great time to spot plenty of British wildlife including squirrels and robins. Explore Kew’s conservation area along the Woodland Walk, where extra learning panels tell stories of how plants and animals depend on each other for ecosystems to thrive, helping families to connect to nature.

(All day, self-led)


Christmas Tree Recycling

When the festivities are over, visitors can strip their natural tree of any decorations and bring it to Kew, where we will convert it into acidic mulch. We use this mulch to help acid-loving plants such as Camellias and Rhododendrons thrive in the Gardens.

(26 December 2018 – 6 January 2019, 10am-3pm, Brentford Gate)

Festive activities are included in the entry price and offered on a first come first served basis.

Off-peak ticket pricing: Adult: £13.50, Child: £4.50, Concession: £11.50 (1 November 2017 – 31 January 2018).


Notes to Editors

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’s 132 hectares of landscaped gardens, and Wakehurst, Kew’s Wild Botanic Garden, attract over 2.1 million visits every year. Kew was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2009. Wakehurst is home to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. 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 Kew’s vital work comes from donors, membership and commercial activity including ticket sales.