28 May 2021

Best things to do at Wakehurst this summer

From our Summer of Sound to our beautiful seasonal highlights, there are so many amazing things to enjoy at Wakehurst this summer.

By Katie Avis-Riordan

Colourful flowers in the Walled Garden at Wakehurst in summer

Summer is the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy nature.

So why not join us at Wakehurst this season and make the most of the warmer months?

Unearth our wild landscape through art and sounds at our summer programme, explore our stunning seasonal garden highlights, take part in our fantastic workshops, and so much more.

Come to Summer of Sound

Art, nature and sound are blended at our Summer of Sound through six striking large-scale installations planted across the landscape.

The natural sounds of our gardens are amplified and explored by award-winning sound artists.

From solar-powered metal horns playing the sounds from subaquatic worlds in our Wetlands to wooden megaphones revealing the noises of the meadow in Coates Woods, immerse yourself in the symphony of nature.

We’re also offering a series of sound-inspired workshops, perfect for the eager young learner or the amateur ornithologist.

Whether it’s creating your own instruments or deep listening with artist Kathy Hinde, there's an activity to suit everyone and help inspire a greater connection to nature.

To see our installations come alive as the sun goes down, make sure to book a visit to Summer of Sound After Hours in August.

There will be live performances, open-air cooking and spoken word amidst the wild landscape of our gardens.

An illustration of the summer of sound exhibition
Summer of Sound (c) RBG Kew

Learn, create and discover

This summer, there are a range of fantastic workshops to join at Wakehurst.

Learn the secrets of traditional willow weaving and create your very own willow structure, practise mindfulness in the beauty of our landscape, or explore our gardens after hours with our resident wildlife experts to discover the fascinating world of bats.

Take your pick or discover more of our workshops to entertain you this season.

Willow deer making
Willow deer making

Explore our seasonal highlights

Summer is spectacular in our gardens, with bright flowers and leafy trees at every turn.

Visit the Water Gardens to see an array of tropical fauna, such as ostrich ferns, the giant Gunnera and Japanese water iris.

Our Pollination Garden is buzzing with life. You might have guessed it – this is the home of our hives where bees produce honey that reflects the unique variety of plants in our gardens.

If it’s a dazzling mix of colour and scent you’re after, then head to the Walled Garden. It’s also a great spot for a selfie.

Stroll through our Coronation Meadow brimming with native wildflowers and grasses, soak up the tranquillity of our Wetlands, wander in the wild summer meadow at Bloomers Valley and spot wildlife in our 150-acre Loder Valley Nature Reserve.

There is one part of our gardens that is transforming all the time – our American Prairie.

Located near the Mansion, this six-acre conservation landscape is growing and changing week by week with plants raised from seeds wild-collected in North America by our horticulturists and scientists. 

You'll see something different on every visit. 

Pollination Garden at Wakehurst in summer
Pollination Garden at Wakehurst in summer, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

Taste our summer menu

Enjoy tasty seasonal food and drink at our cafés and restaurants this summer.

Look out for seasonal specialities and freshly baked goods in the Stables Kitchen or pick up delicious coffee and cake from Stables Pantry.

Love to eat outdoors? Then add a family picnic or afternoon tea to your order when you book your day tickets.

Choose from classic sandwiches and pastries, handmade fruit scones, or a delicious selection of sweet treats suitable for all dietary requirements, and collect from Stables Pantry.

Picnic from Stables Pantry at Wakehurst
Picnic from Stables Pantry at Wakehurst

Have a family adventure

Explore our wild botanic garden with your family and seek out all our fun play spaces.

There’s Tree Trunk Trek, a log trail in the cool shade of Coates Wood, where you can also make your own music on wooden stepping stones and wind chimes.

Discover our Labyrinth, a brilliant natural play space for your little ones to explore and run wild.

Embark on an adventure through our gardens by pulling on one of our Explorer Rucksacks. Bursting with creative goodies and challenges, they’re a fun bonus for any summer day. Pre-book for £4 each and pick one up from the Visitor Centre.

Learn about amazing underwater life in our guided summer pond-dipping sessions, held along the beautiful boardwalk in the heart of our Wetland Conservation Area.

Children climbing on Tree Trunk Trek
Children on Tree Trunk Trek © Jim Holden
Children at Wakehurst
Children at Wakehurst © RBG Kew

Explore the gardens on a walking tour

Take in the sights and sounds of Wakehurst on a walking tour led by one of our expert guides.

You’ll get to see beautiful plants and summer highlights and discover the fascinating history and work of Wakehurst.

Tours leave from the Guide Meeting Point near Stables Kitchen every day and run on a first-come, first-served basis.

Daily guided walking tour, Wakehurst, Jim Holden
Daily guided walking tour, Wakehurst, Jim Holden

Get early entry as a member

On Saturday 24 July, Thursday 26 August and Friday 3 September, Wakehurst and Kew members can get exclusive early entry to the gardens from 9am.

You can even bring a guest with you for free and you’ll have the chance to experience the serene beauty of Wakehurst to start your summer day. 

Become a member

Wakehurst landscape
Wakehurst landscape © RBG Kew

Shop at our new plant centre

Browse the shelves at our new plant centre, where you can buy seasonal plants featured in our world-class collections and take a piece of Wakehurst home with you.

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
Summer of Sound

Summer of Sound

Unearth our wild landscape through art and sound.

Read & watch