5 March 2021

Best things to do at Wakehurst this spring

Enjoy these fantastic seasonal highlights at our wild botanic garden this spring.

By Katie Avis-Riordan

Bluebells and birch trees at Wakehurst

Our gardens in Sussex are bursting with new life, vibrant colours and stunning blossoms in springtime.

So pull on your walking boots and come explore our bluebell woods, join in the Beano family fun and see beautiful spring colour.

Join the Beano fun

Come to Wakehurst this Easter holiday to enjoy Dennis & Gnasher’s Big Bonanza.

We'll be celebrating Dennis' birthday with Dennis, Gnasher and all their Beanotown friends.

Our festival of jokes, plants and pranks will have a story trail around the gardens in the form of a brand new specially made comic strip.

Perfect for kids and big kids alike, there will be lots of fun activities to learn about some amazing plant superpowers.

Do you dare to take on the Beano Banana Mission? Track down the hidden bananas buried amongst our wild habitat parterres and discover the letters that come with each piece of fruit.

Solve the anagram to crack the password and you'll be rewarded with a top-secret prize!

Dennis and Gnasher from Beano
Dennis and Gnasher. A Beano Studios Product © DC Thomson Ltd (2021). Licensed by Rocket Licensing Ltd

Stroll among a sea of bluebells

Surround yourself with bluebell beauty this spring as you wander through our wild woodlands.

The stunning spectacle of these UK native wildflowers is best in April and May, with great swathes of blossoming English bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) carpeting the woodland floors.

Spending most of the year as bulbs underground, the delicate bell-shaped violet-blue flowers emerge in spring.

Don’t miss the bluebell hotspots of Bethlehem WoodWestwood Valley and Horsebridge Wood.

Bluebells, Wakehurst
Bluebells, Wakehurst, Jim Holden © RBG Kew
Bluebells at Wakehrst
Bluebells, Wakehurst, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

Take a short course

Reconnect with nature or channel your creativity this spring by joining one of our workshops.

Unwind from the stresses of everyday life at one of our forest bathing days, surrounded by the natural beauty of our woodlands.

Make a botanical perfume, go on a spring wild food walk, weave willow sculptures and so much more. 

Take your pick from our range of fun short courses.

Woodland at Wakeurst

Spot our rhododendrons

Blooming throughout March and April, our rhododendrons colour the spring landscape, from pretty pink to ravishing red.

Head to Westwood Valley, Himalayan Glade and the Water Gardens for the best floral shows.

Rhododendron mallotum is one of our rare Rhododendron species, growing near the viewpoint over Westwood Valley.

Found in the wild around the border of China and Myanmar, the crimson-flowered plant is considered Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Walking down Westwood Valley keep your eyes peeled for the beautiful Rhododendron arboreum.

This species, which produces red, pink or white flowers, holds the Guinness Record for World’s Largest Rhododendron at 20m in height, recorded in India.

Did you know?

During the Great Storm of 1987 our large rhododendrons growing in the Asian Heath Garden were swept away by hurricane-force winds. This led to us planting high elevation Rhododendron species that are more resilient, and can tolerate sun and exposed conditions.

Rhododendrons in Westwood Valley
Rhododendrons in Westwood Valley, Wakehurst, Ellen McHale © RBG Kew

Enjoy the spring blooms

From bright yellows to soft pinks, our gardens are overflowing with springtime colour.

Spot the daffodils on the lawns near the Mansion, crocuses across the gardens and butter-yellow cowslips around the Millennium Seed Bank.

Look out for the showstopping pink magnolia blossoms in the Water Gardens and woodlands of Westwood Valley and Horsebridge Wood.

The Spring Border by Mansion Pond is a highlight for this season with Forsythia, violas, primulas and fawn lilies (Erythronium) brightening the landscape.

Two yellow daffodils
Daffodils, Zoe Stewart © RBG Kew
Cluster of yellow daffodils
Daffodils, Zoe Stewart © RBG Kew
Magnolia, Water Garden, Wakehurst
Magnolia blossom in The Water Garden, Wakehurst, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

Explore with your family

With more than 500 acres of gardens, woodlands and a nature reserve, there are plenty of things to do with kids at Wakehurst.

Seek out the natural play spaces dotted across the gardens, including woven willow tunnels, a labyrinth and the daring log trail Tree Trunk Trek.

The best bit is children (16 and under) are welcomed into the gardens for free.

Wakehurst Wild Wood

Picnic in nature

Now the weather is getting warmer, it's the perfect time to enjoy a picnic in our gardens.

Grab delicious takeaway drinks and treats from our café and pop-up stalls at the Carriage Ring

Or why not bring your own picnic? Find the best al fresco spot across our landscape – we just ask you not to eat on the Mansion lawns.

Bon appetit!

Colourful rhododendrons in spring at Wakehurst

Visit Wakehurst

Explore our wild botanic garden and see the spectacular blooms on display.

A Beano Studios product © DC Thomson Ltd (2021) 

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