December at Kew Gardens and Wakehurst

Release date: 17 November 2022

  • Christmas at Kew celebrating its 10th sparkling year- tickets selling fast! 
  • Glow Wild at Wakehurst, with a brand-new route and 11 bespoke installations 
  • When Flowers Dream continues at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art 
  • Horticultural highlights include Kew’s beautiful grass garden, and Wakehurst’s Winter Garden 
  • Coming soon: Orchids 2023 

Kew Gardens

Christmas at Kew

Christmas at Kew, a much-loved highlight of London’s festive calendar, continues at Kew Gardens throughout December. 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, must end Sunday 8 January 2023.  

Palm House lit up blue and purple, vertical fountains in foreground
Palm House during Christmas at Kew, Ines Stuart-Davidson © RBG Kew

When Flowers Dream

Continuing in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art this December is the debut London exhibition for acclaimed Australian artist Tanya Schultz, known as Pip & Pop. The perfect escape from grey winter days. 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.  

Two visitors explore the colourful When Flowers Dream exhibition
Visitors explore When Flowers Dream by Pip & Pop, Jeff Eden © RBG Kew

Horticultural highlights 

Horticultural highlights on display this month at Kew include the grass garden, full of winter interest and home to over 500 species. At Wakehurst, the Winter Garden comes is at its peak this season, with an array of colours and textures. Even on rainy days, Wakehurst offers acres of woodlands for families to explore, with plenty of puddles! 

Close up of grass
Grass garden, Ellen McHale © RBG Kew

Kew Publishing Book of the Month: Plant Words by Joe Richomme and Emma Townshend

Exploring everything from algae to the wood-wide web, this brilliantly eclectic and beautifully illustrated book delves into the roots, meaning and compelling stories of 250 botanical words. Guided by the experts at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Plant Words is a cornucopia of horticultural terms. From plants that have changed the course of history to those that talk to each other, and from trees as old as dinosaurs to gardening in outer space, this intriguing collection will cultivate your curiosity and give you the inside story on plants.  

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

Online Courses from David & Charles

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and David & Charles have partnered to deliver a selection of new online learning courses, available to enjoy from the comfort of your own home. Courses are delivered through a mix of video tuition and downloadable instructions and include a materials kit to provide established and amateur artists alike with the tools they need to develop their skills. Courses now live include Capturing The Inner Beauty of Flowers in Pen & Ink with Hazel Wilks, Painting Roses in Watercolour with Trevor Waugh, and Botanical Watercolour Vegetables with Rachel Pedder-Smith, all perfect Christmas gifts.  

Plants growing in a sealed glass jar
Making terarriums, David & Charles

Coming Soon: Orchids 2023

Back bigger and better than ever for 2023, Kew Gardens’ much-loved Orchid festival returns to the Princess of Wales Conservatory from Saturday 4 February to Sunday 5 March 2023. Taking inspiration from the beauty and biodiversity of Cameroon, Orchids 2023 is a vibrant celebration of colour to brighten up the winter months, and is the first time Kew’s Orchid festival will celebrate an African nation. 

Orchid festival
Orchid festival, Ines Stuart-Davidson © RBG Kew



Glow Wild – Book now | Selected evenings to 1 January 2023 | 4pm to 10pm 

Wakehurst’s enchanting winter lantern trail is back for its ninth year, featuring a brand-new route and packed full of other surprises. This year, Glow Wild celebrates the spectrum of colours in nature, inviting you to explore how we see colour and the role it plays in our daily lives. Quiet sessions and family tickets are available and pre-booking is essential.  

Moon and star lanterns, deer installation, tallest-living Christmas tree and lanterns at Glow Wild 2022
Glow Wild 2022 © RBG Kew


Christmas wreath making workshop | Friday 2 – Sunday 4 December | 10.30am - 12.30pm or 2pm – 4pm | Adults: £50, Wakehurst and Kew members: £45 

Get festive, learn a new skill and create a beautiful Christmas wreath to make sure your door is the best dressed in town. Owner of Chestnut Flower Company, Gemma Laver, will host this relaxed and fun workshop, where you will be shown step-by-step how to make your own unique wreath. Entry to the gardens is included in your ticket, as well as tea, coffee and mince pies!  

Members’ Winter Warmer | Tuesday 6 December | 5pm – 8pm | FREE for Wakehurst and Kew members only (plus one guest and children)  

Exclusive to Wakehurst and Kew members and a guest, treat yourself to an evening of tasty winter treats, whilst enjoying festive live music under the lights of the UK's tallest living Christmas. Plus, to help get the Christmas shopping wrapped up early, enjoy 20% off in the Visitor Centre Shop and Plant Centre. 

Person enjoying a warm hot chocolate at Glow Wild, Wakehurst
Hot chocolate at Glow Wild, Jim Holden © RBG Kew


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.  

Wooden tree surrounded by glass exhibition
Millennium Seed Bank Surviving or Thriving Exhibition, Visual Air © RBG Kew


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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 and scientific expertise in plant and fungal diversity, conservation, and sustainable development in the UK and around the globe. Kew’s scientists and partners lead the way in the fight against biodiversity loss and finding nature-based solutions to the climate crisis, aided by five key scientific priorities outlined in Kew’s Science Strategy 2021-2025. Kew Gardens is also a major international and top London visitor attraction. Kew’s 132 hectares of historic, landscaped gardens, and Wakehurst, Kew’s Wild Botanic Garden and ‘living laboratory’, 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 the Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world and a safeguard against the disastrous effects of climate change and biodiversity loss. RBG Kew received approximately one third of its funding from Government through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and research councils. Further funding needs to support RBG Kew’s vital scientific and educational work comes from donors, memberships and commercial activity including ticket sales. For tickets, please visit In the first six months since implementing a new accessibility scheme for those in receipt of Universal Credit, Pension Credit and Legacy Benefits, Kew has welcomed 10,000 visitors with £1 tickets. 

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.