31 May 2022

Best things to do at Wakehurst this summer

As the days get longer, brighter and warmer, join us at Wakehurst to make the most of summer!

By Jessica Hayne

A group walk through the forest in the evening sun

Explore new corners of our 535-acre site, discover the groundbreaking science behind our biodiverse landscape and choose from our fantastic selection of events and workshops.

1. Feed your senses

Join us for an exciting summer programme: Nourish.

Embark on a captivating journey through impressive artworks, all inspired by our world-leading science projects.

Kicking off from Friday 8 July 2022, Nourish promises to feed your senses and unveil the future of plants and food.

There is also plenty for curious young minds, with our children's trail and family-friendly workshops. From Banana Science to a Family Forest Adventure, uncover the secrets of our favourite foods or learn forest skills with your family.

Want to see Wakehurst come alive in the evening?

Book Nourish After Hours to travel through the Wakehurst landscapes and immerse yourself in live performances. Refuel at our catering hub, with global cuisine and locally sourced drinks, all inspired by the art around you.

The False Banana Pavilion
The False Banana Pavilion at Wakehurst's Nourish, Flea Folly Architects © RBG Kew

2. Take a tour with a difference

Experience Wakehurst on two wheels, with your canine friend or racing alongside others.

Our Wellbeing Events are perfect for exploring the gardens outside of visitor opening hours, with cycling, running and dog walking events taking place throughout the summer.

Secure your spot now!

A couple cycling in Kew Gardens
Summer Cycle © RBG Kew

3. Find out more about our living laboratory

Nature Unlocked, the Landscape Ecology Programme at Wakehurst, has transformed our stunning landscape into a living laboratory.

Our scientists are researching four key areas: Carbon, Pollination, Hydrology and Wellbeing, all exploring nature-based solutions to biodiversity loss and climate change.

For our Wellbeing research, we’re asking some visitors if they would like to take part. We are using Heart Rate Variability (HRV) monitors and questionnaires to discover how they connect with nature.

Keep an eye out for research taking place across the site - perhaps you could be contributing to a ground-breaking study on your next visit!

Two people walk through a walled garden surrounded by colourful flowers
The Walled Garden at Wakehurst, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

4. Take a trip across the pond

Exciting changes are taking place at Wakehurst — you can travel across the Atlantic by walking through our six-acre American Prairie, evoking the vast and iconic North American wild plant communities.

Speak to our expert guides to find out how we’re contributing to the conservation of these endangered habitats and hear about the next steps we’ll be taking to help our vibrant prairie flourish.

Flowering plants and grasses in the American Prairie at Wakehurst
The American Prairie at Wakehurst, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

5. Try something new

Connect with nature, get hands-on or experience a moment of calm with our summer workshops.

Surrounded by the natural beauty of our landscapes, unwind from the stresses of life with forest bathing or stretch your way into a new day with an hour of morning yoga.

Venture out into our Loder Valley Nature Reserve at twilight to join Conservation Supervisor Steven Robinson and enjoy a rare glimpse of badgers in their natural habitat.

Our Badger Watching Evenings run every Tuesday throughout the summer and spaces fill up quickly!

Unleash your creativity with the charcoal-making and willow-weaving workshops or learn the traditional Chinese art of qigong, a form of relaxing meditation, with our Moving Meditations class.

Take your pick from our exciting range of workshops.

A group sat on the forest floor
Forest bathing © RBG Kew

6. Soak up the season’s showstoppers

Our gardens burst into life throughout the summer months and are a true celebration of colour, scent and sound.

Venture onto the newly constructed boardwalks that weave a path through the Water Gardens and immerse yourself in the natural surroundings, accompanied by the gentle trickling sounds of water through the landscape.

Our Pollination Garden is a hive of life in the summer months and plays a key part in Nature Unlocked, as our scientists investigate how biodiverse environments help vital bees, wasps and hoverflies to thrive.

The research continues at Coronation Meadow, where we’re measuring carbon storage across different Wakehurst landscapes. You might even see some of our high-tech equipment nestled amongst the wildflowers!

With the knowledge that world-leading research is taking place underfoot, stroll through the meadow, taking in the beauty and importance of this naturally-managed meadow.

Colourful flowers in the Walled Garden at Wakehurst in summer
The Walled Garden at Wakehurst in summer, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

7. Savour our summer menu

Refuel at Stables Kitchen and Pantry and enjoy our delicious seasonal menu, including a selection of freshly-baked goods, light bites, and hearty meals.

There’s something for everyone as we cater to all dietary requirements.

Up at the Visitor Centre, grab a drink or tasty treat from our Seeds Café, before perusing our wide selection of horticultural gifts and home decorations in the shop.

A plate of muffins
Treat yourself at Wakehurst, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

8. Have fun with all the family

There are plenty of hidden corners for young adventurers to explore, and don’t forget, children under 16 can roam for free at Wakehurst.

Our Labyrinth is a great space to run wild, whilst our Tree Trunk Trek in the cool shade of Coates Wood has a natural log trail to conquer.

Our Explorer Rucksacks are packed with goodies and are a great addition to any Wakehurst visit. Children of all ages can take on the role of a wildlife detective and discover the landscape’s hidden residents.

For children wanting to get a little more stuck in, our recently reopened Children’s Heritage Garden is home to the Mud Kitchen, complete with pots, pans and teapots, ready for children to get their hands dirty.

Two boys play in a playground
Wildwood Adventure at Wakehurst, James Ratchford © RBG Kew

9. Get behind the scenes insights

Enhance your visit to Wakehurst with the expertise of our knowledgeable guides.

Our experts will take you around areas that are looking great this season, explaining the current conservation work underway.

Whether it’s your first time visiting, or you’re a regular wanting to find out more, a guided tour is the best way to make the most out of your time at Wakehurst.

Members of the public enjoying a guided walking tour around Wakehurst
Guided walking tour at Wakehurst, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

10. Take a piece of Wakehurst home

If you’ve been inspired whilst walking around the gardens, take a little piece of Wakehurst home with you by visiting our Plant Centre.

Open daily, our Centre houses seasonal plants inspired by our world-class collections.

If you’re a Wakehurst or Kew member, you get 10% off all items. Happy shopping!

Person wondering around outside amongst plants
Plant Centre at Wakehurst, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

11. Bring a guest for free!

Make the most of the summer by becoming a Wakehurst member. Benefit from unlimited entry to the grounds all year round and bring a free guest to the gardens every time you visit until 4 September 2022.

You’ll also be kept up to date with all the latest Wakehurst news and will get priority booking to selected events.

Become a member today, or on your next visit to Wakehurst. 

Two people walk in a garden
Wakehurst's Pollination Garden, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

There's lots to enjoy!

Join us for some very special events at Wakehurst this summer.

  • Nourish
    Thumbnail image
    A colourful illustration showing drinks, plants and music
    Evenings | Food and drink | Performance

    Nourish After Hours

    Custom date
    Selected dates, 11 to 21 August 2022
Two researchers in the woodland at Wakehurst surrounded by bluebells, working with cameras and a computer

Nature Unlocked

The Landscape Ecology Programme at Wakehurst: researching the value of UK biodiversity to inform nature-based solutions to critical challenges such as climate change and food security.