14 March 2023

Plan the perfect day at Wakehurst with young kids

With buggy-friendly paths, a family café and half-term trails, there’s lots for your babies and toddlers to enjoy at Wakehurst all year round.

By Hannah McDowell-Naylor

Child inspecting plants in the Children's Walled Garden at Wakehurst

Here's our handy guide to visiting Wakehurst with your little ones, whatever the season.

Buggy-friendly paths

With fresh spring days on the way, a walk in fresh air can be very tempting for families of all ages.

Wakehurst boasts spacious, smooth paths across the wild landscape, without any steps or stiles to navigate around.  Benches are also aplenty, so it’s perfect for those just finding their feet – new parents and toddlers alike!

Stroll through our American Prairie for sweeping grasslands, search for winter blooms in the Winter Garden or explore the forests of Australasia in Coates Wood.

Plants in the Winter Garden at Wakehurst
Winter Garden, Jim Holden © RBG Kew
Aerial photo of spiralling grasses in American Prairie at Wakehurst
American Prairie at Wakehurst, Visual Air © RBG Kew

Free half-term trails with storybook favourites

Each school holiday, the gardens are brought to life with an exciting new trail for all ages.

This Easter, we'll be welcoming Superworm and his friends to Wakehurst for an immersive trail through our biodiverse landscape.

Don't miss the fun activities and sculptures that help bring the story to life – from giant skipping ropes to optical illusions, there will be plenty to keep energetic explorers busy over the holidays.

For babies in prams , why not stroll under the green oak leaves and dramatic heights of the Pinetum?

Best of all, children under 16 go free!

Book tickets to Wakehurst

A n illustrated banner showing the character superworm and assorted characters
Superworm © 2012 J Donaldson / A Scheffler. Licensed by Magic Light Pictures Ltd.

Baby-friendly café with kid’s lunch menu

Designed for families, the Stables Kitchen is a great spot for children-friendly meals, warming up bottles, using the baby-change facilities or just taking a load off your feet with a hot beverage.

With comfy booths, high-chairs and plenty of space for buggies, it’s a restaurant to bookmark your visit with little ones. If you need a discreet place to breastfeed, our friendly team can help.

Or follow your taste-buds to the Stables Pantry for a new takeaway menu featuring locally-sourced sweet treats, filled croissants, and grab-and-go salads and focaccia. Perfect for parents and carers with minutes to spare, and those who want to eat al-fresco.

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

Meet up with other parents

It can often be difficult to find a venue to cater for parents and toddlers en masse, but the gardens, restaurants and Visitor Centre at Wakehurst offer plenty of space for children to roam – and parents to catch up.

There’ll be something new to see on every visit, and with dog-friendly routes now available, the whole family can enjoy an afternoon exploring some of Wakehurst’s prettiest places.

Remember, if you just want a hot drink and a delicious slice of cake at the Seeds Café, no entry ticket is required.

Two parents/carers with pushchairs and toddlers at Wakehurst admiring a group of ducks
Families with young kids at Wakehurst © RBG Kew

Wild play

If you have toddlers with you, a visit to Tree Trunk Trek is a must. Scramble and climb on our log trail in this adventure-playground with a difference.

Our Children’s Walled Garden is popular with children of all ages, and is open all year round. Cook up some mud pies in our infamous Mud Kitchen, plant your own sunflower seeds or sit amongst our giant vegetable patch.

Children play in the mud kitchen
Mud Kitchen at Wakehurst, Jim Holden © RBG Kew
Tree Trunk Trek at Wakehurst, Visual Air © RBG Kew

Ideas for parental leave

Did you know, you can get a years’ worth of visits when you become a Wakehurst member?

Whatever the weather, there’ll be somewhere you can explore, so it’s a worthy investment if you’re looking for affordable days out with children and babies.

Become a Wakehurst member

A young girl smiles and plays on the forest floor of Wakehurst
Young visitors at Wakehurst. Jim Holden © RBG Kew

Baby sensory

As an alternative to baby classes or toddler groups, why not connect and spend some time with your little one in nature?

A walk outdoors supports early sensory development and allows your babies to experience new textures and materials in an unstructured environment.

Try a barefoot wander on the Mansion lawn so babies can feel the grass between their toes, or push prams through our wild woodland to show them the sunshine and shadows through the leaves.

You can start working on fine motor grasping skills using something as simple as blades of grass, leaves or stones from our pathways, and children will love exploring the different textures of Wakehurst’s treescapes – from the peeling bark in the Pinetum to the ancient roots of an oak.

For toddlers, why don’t you create your own nature scavenger hunt, or use our free Wakehurst Spotters Guides to tick off butterflies, bees, birds and wildflowers that you encounter?

Let your children be inspired by their surroundings and collect acorns, leaves and fallen petals to create their own nature art, story sticks or musical instruments when they get home.

A group of 4 children walk through the Winter Garden at Wakehurst
Wakehurst Winter Garden, Visual Air © RBG Kew

Shopping for babies

Whether they're playing indoors or out, we have loads of great gift ideas for budding botanists and explorers at our Wakehurst Visitor Centre Gift Shop.

Discover a treasure trove of Jellycat plushies, beautiful books, blankets and toys which are inspired by the gardens, and perfect for newborns and up.

Wakehurst and Kew Members can save 10% all year round.

Display shelves and tables lines with children's toys and books
Shopping for children at Wakehurst, Visual Air © RBG Kew

Workshops: Free entry for siblings

Did you know that Wakehurst hosts a range of children’s workshops, all-year-round?

From interactive musical adventure in our secluded woodlands, to story-telling workshops in the Children’s Walled Garden or the latest Nature Heroes mission, sign up to our Wakehurst newsletters to hear the latest about what’s on in the gardens for under 5s.

This Easter, listen to the story of Superworm told by Lucy’s Little Forest School and meet some of the minibeasts that live in our woodlands and gardens in our Wormery Workshop. Enjoy free entry for one adult and siblings under 2.

For the ultimate baby sensory experience this Christmas, bring your little ones to explore Glow Wild, our enchanting winter lantern trail. Under 4’s go free and the whole family are welcome for an unmissable evening of winter wonder.

A child walks along a wooded path at Wakehurst wearing a superhero cap with a lightning bolt on it
Nature Heroes at Wakehurst, Visual Air © RBG Kew

Photo opportunities

Forget lavender fields or pumpkin patches; for a unique and wild outdoor backdrop to your family snaps, Wakehurst has something to offer in every season.

This summer, try a candid shoot amongst the unmissable blanket of yellow Rudbeckia in the American Prairie, or head to Coronation Meadow for swathes of wildflowers and native grasses.

Each spring, a sea of bluebells blanket the floor of our Bethlehem Wood, and the light, colour and movement in our Water Gardens make it a top spot for capturing breath-taking photos against autumn colour.

Or create your own Christmas traditions with a selfie under the UK’s tallest living Christmas tree, aglow with over 1,800 lights.

Bluebells in Bethlehem wood at Wakehurst
Bluebells in Bethlehem wood at Wakehurst, Jim Holden © RBG Kew
Father and daughter inspecting a field of bright yellow flowers
Family in the American Prairie at Wakehurst, Visual Air © RBG Kew
An illustration of a worm

Superworm at Wakehurst

Get a wiggle on and join the fun this Easter!