Wakehurst launches exciting new family activities this summer

  • Make cherished memories, children under 16 go free
  • Brand-new Children’s & Community Garden opens
  • 13-week-long Meadowland arts programme
  • Children can gain a Nature Heroes: Flower Power badge for their superhero cape
  • Last chance to see Planet Wakehurst, UK’s largest outdoor art installation

This summer, Wakehurst, Kew’s wild botanic garden in the heart of Sussex, comes alive with a range of exciting activities, offering many options for the ultimate family day out. There’s something for all ages, from activity trails to bespoke art installations to capture the ideal photo opportunity.

New Children’s & Community Garden
All day, Free with entry
This summer, families can discover a new corner of Wakehurst’s 535-acre garden for the very first time. Nestled in the heart of the Mansion Gardens, a new, inclusive, and accessible space will be unveiled for all to enjoy. The Mud Kitchen, a Wakehurst family favourite, has undergone a redesign to expand and improve the area for even more messy play, with existing shady spots transformed into sensory corners and learning zones for workshops and school groups. The area is designed with the community in mind, ensuring everyone has access to green spaces, to learn more about nature and the vital role that different plants play in our health and wellbeing.

Carmen Sheridan, Cultural Gardener commented "We're so excited to start welcoming families into the Children's & Community Garden at Wakehurst. We've consulted with charities and community groups, ensuring that it is a safe and welcoming environment for all visitors. We hope that the Garden becomes a cherished destination for families from the local area and beyond."

Until 10 September
Visitors are invited to dive deep into the grasses and wildflowers of breathtaking meadows and discover spectacular, thought-provoking art installations inspired by these beautiful yet threatened habitats. Across the summer, children can wander underneath five 3.5m tall wooden gateways, decked in multicoloured prayer flags, listen to a giant steel gramophone projecting a series of interviews with wildlife, experience life from a bee’s perspective, and sit back on a circle of colourful woven chairs, soaking up the wonder of nature. In an exciting first, Wakehurst’s own horticulturalists will explore their creative side, as the meadows themselves become a canvas for telling important stories, illustrating the symbiotic relationship between humans and grassland habitats. Children can discover bursts of colour in edible meadows, roam through specially mown paths through the grasses and lie back in a spectacular natural amphitheatre, taking in the magical sounds of summer.

Summer Theatre
Saturday 22, Sunday 23, Saturday 29, Sunday 30 June
William Shakespeare’s much-loved comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream finds a wild home at Wakehurst as The Archway Theatre Company present a stunning outdoor production, specifically designed for young audiences, and set within the beautiful American Prairie and the Pinetum.

18, 19 and 20 July
In the golden glow of late summer evenings, visitors can drift from the glistening waters of Mansion Pond to open lawns and the gently waving grasses of the American Prairie, enjoying beautiful performances from dancers, musicians and more. Kick-starting the school holidays, children can enjoy tucking into delicious street food, whilst a roaming face artist adds a touch of sparkle to the evening.

Flower Power
20 July to 1 September
As part of Meadowland, young explorers can take part in Flower Power, the next Nature Heroes mission, with a brand-new badge up for grabs. The summer edition invites budding botanists to discover more about wildflowers and the important role they play for the planet, with a specially designed trail weaving through the ancient parkland of South Park.

Horticultural highlights
Meadows are truly the star of the season, as swathes of wildflowers create sensory havens across the landscape. For the first time, ancient meadow South Park will be opened for visitors, offering a space for little legs to run wild and explore the species-rich grassland. Spanning 40 acres, this is the perfect setting for families to enjoy a picnic immersed in nature.

Elsewhere, the Walled Garden transforms into an exquisite and intimate space, overflowing with colour, texture and summer scents from seasonal showstoppers including dahlias, lavender and cosmos. Stepping through the American Prairie, budding young ecologists can spot the recognisable spiky heads of Rattlesnake Master or the delicate purple flowers of Camassia, carpeting the Pacific Northwest beds. On warmer days, families seeking shade can head to the cooling canopies around Westwood Lake and Horsebridge Woods, providing the perfect respite during a summer stroll. Hidden in Pearcelands Wood, woven gallery Wild Wood invites children to venture through a woven badger sett, climb in oversized nests and spot familiar wildlife high in the trees. Little legs can also run wild at family-favourite Tree Trunk Trek, a natural log trail with different obstacles to conquer, and burn off energy at the Labyrinth. Plus, in the heart of the gardens, Planet Wakehurst beckons, as families can discover the UK’s largest outdoor art installation and children can experience a bird's eye view along the 33ft high Canopy Walk.

With children aged 16 and under visiting for free and a £1 ticket on offer for those on universal or pension credit, Wakehurst is the ultimate affordable destination for a family day out this summer, welcoming new and returning visitors to make cherished memories.

image: Wild Wood at Wakehurst, Visual Air © RBG Kew

Burgess Hill Girls
Little Dippers
Lancing prep