19 December 2019

9 things to do at Wakehurst on a rainy day

Take your pick from these fun wet weather ideas at our wild botanic garden.

By Katie Avis-Riordan

Red wellies splashing in puddle

To stop the rain putting a dampener on your day, we’ve rounded up the best things to do at Wakehurst on wet weather days.

Our wild botanic garden nestled in the heart of the Sussex countryside is a fantastic place to visit even when it’s raining.

So pull on your wellies, grab your umbrella, zip up your raincoat and get exploring!

Feed the ducks

With its streams, ponds and lakes, it’s no wonder that Wakehurst is a favourite for water-loving wild ducks.

Buy some nutritional duck food from our Visitor Centre shop and head out in the wet weather to feed the feathery creatures.

Duck hotspots include Mansion Pond, Black Pond and Westwood Lake.

Mallard duck in pond
Mallard duck in pond © Elisabeth/Unsplash

Splash about in puddles

Just because it’s raining that doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors.

Jumping around in puddles is lots of fun for kids and big kids alike. Splash and play in the puddles dotted about our wild landscape (wellies recommended). 

And remember, children under 16 have free entry to the gardens.

Close up of adult's wellies splashing in puddle
Adult splashing in puddle © Maxwell Kappel/Unsplash
Child's red wellies splashing in puddle
Child splashing in puddle © Rupert Britton/Unsplash

Ramble in the rain

Instead of escaping the rain, why not embrace it?

Explore our woodlands of the world, from the conifers of the Pinetum to the beautiful Bethlehem Wood with its National Collection of birches (Betula).

As you stroll, use all your senses to connect with your surroundings. Take in the sights, sounds, smells and touch.

Listen to the soft patter of rain on leaves, smell the rich earthy scent of wet soil and squelch in the mud.

Close up of rain droplets on leaves
Rain droplets on leaves © Noah Silliman/Unsplash

Come to our exhibition

If you want some indoors time during a rainy day, then visit our thought-provoking Surviving or Thriving exhibition in the Millennium Seed Bank Atrium.

Find out why some of the world’s plants are in crisis while others are thriving, through film, sound, models, interactive games and a futuristic garden.

Based on our pioneering State of the World’s Plants and Fungi reports, the exhibition is great for all ages.

Surviving or Thriving exhibition, Wakehurst © Jim Holden/RBG Kew
Surviving or Thriving exhibition, Wakehurst © Jim Holden/RBG Kew

See scientists at work

Get a behind-the-scenes look at our scientists at work in the Millennium Seed Bank.

Our growing global collection of seeds is the largest and most diverse wild plant species genetic resource and biggest seed conservation project in the world.

Peek through the floor-to-ceiling windows in the Atrium to see our experts in the laboratories.

Our MSB scientists work with partners in more than 95 countries around the world, collecting, preserving and researching seeds.

Botanical Propagation Assistant, Eliana Van Der Schraft, is scarifying seed under a microscope to check the quality and to check for infections.
MSB scientists at work © RBG Kew

Wander in The Wetlands

It’s all in the name; wet by nature our Wetlands is perfect on drizzly days.

Walk along the boardwalks and witness the huge variety of wetland plants growing in this conservation hotspot.

Situated at the bottom of the valley near Westwood Lake, it’s thriving with bird and insect life.

If you need a break from the rain, hop underneath our attractive woodland shelter, with its oak frame and cedar-shingle roof.

The Wetlands at Wakehurst
The Wetlands at Wakehurst, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

Do some wildlife watching

Keep your eyes peeled for animals that love the rain like frogs, toads, ducks and snails.

Wildlife lovers should head to our Loder Valley Nature Reserve, a 150-acre haven of flora and fauna.

Can you spot any kingfishers, herons, or ospreys among the mix of wetlands, meadows and woodland here?

Close up of a kingfisher perched on a branch
Kingfisher in Loder Valley Nature Reserve © RBG Kew

Grab some grub

Step inside one of our cafés or restaurants to get dry and warm up.

Choose from a selection of tasty hot meals, afternoon tea, coffee and cakes, sandwiches and snacks.

As a Stables restaurant winter treat from 1 January to 29 February 2020, children can enjoy a hot lunchtime meal for £1 with one full paying adult main meal.

Cakes at Wakehurst
Cakes at Wakehurst © RBG Kew

Join one of our workshops

Want to learn something new and keep out of the rain? Take part in one of our creative workshops.

Why not create a botanical perfume or candle, make a stylish macramé plant hanger or complete a digital photography short course? We have many different fun and informative workshops to choose from

Children playing at Wakehurst

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Whether you are a regular visitor or planning your first trip to Wakehurst, find out how you can make the most of your day.

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