14 October 2022

Best things to do at Wakehurst this autumn

As the trees begin to transform into a tapestry of autumn colour, make the most of the season at Wakehurst.

By Jessica Hayne

Westwood Lake at Wakehurst

Whether you’re looking to perfect your photography, enjoy a fun day out with the family, or have already started planning for Christmas, there’s something for everyone at Wakehurst this autumn.

Go on a whirlwind adventure

This October half term, join Witch and her friends as we bring the tale of Room on the Broom to Wakehurst.

Follow the Witch’s trail, and don’t forget to watch out for Dragon on your journey!

From the 15 to 31 October, you must pre-book a timeslot to enter the gardens. Members’ early opening and quiet sessions are available.

An illustration of a witch, a cat and a dog riding a broom, accompanied by a green bird
Room on the Broom © 2001 & TM Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler. Licensed by Magic Light Pictures Ltd.

Go on a fungi hunt

Whilst you’re roaming our wild landscape, look down onto the forest floor and keep an eye out for our fungi friends.

These organisms are exceptionally important to life on Earth, keeping the natural world in balance through symbiotic relationships with plants and animals, and helping to break down dead and decaying matter.

Explore hotspots such as Westwood Valley, the Pinetum, Bethlehem Wood and Coates Wood to see what weird and wonderful shapes you can find.  

Shelter from the weather in the most biodiverse place in the world

Don’t let the rain dampen your plans! There is plenty to do and see at Wakehurst, even on a rainy day.

The Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) at Wakehurst houses an underground collection of over 2.4 billion seeds, making it a Noah’s Ark for plants from across the globe.

Stop by the MSB to discover our specially-curated exhibition Surviving or Thriving, or spy on scientists at work in the laboratories.

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

Capture autumn colour

There’s no doubt that autumn is one of the most spectacular seasons. Wakehurst’s gardens come to life in vibrant reds, burnt orange and stunning gold, making it the perfect time to whip out the camera.

Did you know? Leaves turn a different colour in the autumn due to hormonal changes in the tree, triggered by longer nights as the summer comes to an end.  

Keep an eye out for the contrasting colours in the gardens, especially if it’s overcast. A bright red tree against a rainy backdrop can really make that photo pop.

If you need a bit of guidance on how to make the most of your camera, join our fun and informative Digital Photography Workshop

Autumn colours of trees at Wakehurst
Autumn colours at Wakehurst, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

Roam wild through woodlands of the world

Delve into Wakehurst’s woodlands, exploring wild pathways and discovering new corners of the biodiverse site

Why not head into Westwood Valley, a steep ravine running from the Water Gardens to peaceful Westwood Lake, representing the landscape of the eastern Himalaya.

Step into the atmospheric Coates Wood, home to trees of Australia and South America, or meet the incredible North American redwoods in Horsebridge Wood.

A pair of people walk through a brown and green forest
Wakehurst's Horsebridge Woods, James Ratchford © RBG Kew

Warm up with tasty treats

If your adventures work up an appetite, head to Stables Kitchen where new Head Chef Simon will be cooking up a seasonal storm of delicious dishes.

From energy-boosting snacks to heartwarming hot meals, take a pit stop at one of our onsite restaurants or cafés.

Newly renovated, bright Stables Kitchen restaurant with food and beverages on sale
Stables Kitchen at Wakehurst, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

Be a Wakehurst explorer

Enhance any child’s visit to Wakehurst with our Explorer Backpacks, packed with creative activities and tools for young visitors.

Prepare for an intrepid journey through Wakehurst and see how many colours, patterns and textures you can find.

Little girl wearing a yellow backpack
Wakehurst Explorer Backpack, Visual Air © RBG Kew

Take a guided tour

Not sure where to start when you visit Wakehurst? Our expert guides can take you on a walk around the gardens, pointing out seasonal highlights and current works taking place across our 535 acres.

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

Get creative with willow

Weave your own stunning willow deer for your garden, with our fun and easy-to-follow workshop

Our workshop leaders will show you the secrets of the traditional art of willow weaving, taking you through the process step-by-step.

Willow deer making
Willow deer making

Get ahead with your Christmas shopping

Find the perfect gift for your loved ones, with our range of homeware, clothing and plants, all inspired by our world-class collections.

Our Visitor Centre Shop and Plant Centre are open to the general public every day, if you’re just looking to browse, you don’t need a ticket to enter the gardens!

Selection of biscuits in Wakehurst shop
Wakehurst retail, Visual Air © RBG Kew

Experience the magic of Glow Wild

Our spellbinding winter lantern trail returns this November, featuring a brand-new route packed full of 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.

Book your timeslot now, and find out more about our exclusive adults-only sessions, or quiet sessions, throughout Glow Wild 2022.

People looking at colourful lanterns at Glow Wild
Lanterns at Glow Wild, Jeff Eden © RBG Kew

Become a member

If you enjoy autumn at Wakehurst, then you’ll love our year-round seasonal highlights.

A Wakehurst membership is a great way of discovering all 535 acres of our wild botanic gardens and guaranteeing yourself a year of affordable adventure and discovery.

As well as unlimited visits and free parking, members can make the most of a free visit to Kew Gardens, discounted entry to partner gardens around the UK, and discounts on events, in our shop and Plant Centre.

As kids go free, that’s a year of family days out sorted from £31.50 a year per adult.

Find out how you can join us today

A pair of people on a path through an golden brown autumnal forest
Westwood Valley at Wakehurst, Jim Holden © RBG Kew
Lake surrounded by autumnal colours reflected in the water

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