Brighton & Hove

Category Archives: General

As parents of young children most of us forfeit the right to a lie in. Long gone are the days of snoozing till 10am! For most of us getting woken up at 6/7am becomes the norm however if you have a child who wakes even earlier and your day is starting at 5am (or earlier) everyday this can become a seriously difficult to cope with.

The first thing you need to consider is are there any external factors that could be waking your child? For instance could they be too cold or too hot? Could the early summer sunrise by waking them? Could early morning noise be disturbing them?

If the answer is yes to any of these then that’s great as these can all be fixed. If it’s too light in the morning then use black out blinds/curtains to prevent light coming in to the room. If there are lots of early morning noises possibly waking your child (seagulls, bin men, early commuters etc) then use a white noise machine throughout the night to block external noises. If your child is too cold add an extra layer of clothing or reduce their clothing during the summer months. Make sure they are in the correct gro-bag for the time of year. If your child uses a duvet but always kicks it off then you can invest in a duvet from the Gro company that zips to a fitted sheet so that they cannot kick it off.

If you have a child over about 3 years of age you can use a Gro clock with them. These clocks work by you programming them to the time that you think is acceptable for your child to be up. At night the clock displays stars and when the clock comes to the desired time a sunshine appears on the clock. The theory is that your child learns that she mustn’t get up until the clock says it’s morning, and may eventually not just stay in bed until that time, but actually stay asleep too. It is important to be realistic about the goals you set with the clock though. For instance if you’re child always wakes at 5am it would be unrealistic to think that they will be happy to stay in bed till 7am just because the clock is set for then so you may want to aim for 6am. If they get used to waking at 6am you can begin to gradually increase the time on the clock to a later time.

Another method than can work well with older children is a reward system. To fully understand the concept of achieving a goal to gain a reward your child will most likely be 3 or 4 years. The idea being that in order to gain a reward your child must stay in bed till the desired time. You can use either a star chart or pom poms/marbles in a jar. When the jar is full or the star chart completed your child will receive a reward. This may a small toy/book etc or could be a special trip.

Another factor that can affect early rising is the time your child goes to bed. If your child goes to bed too early then this will cause them to wake early. If your child is in a habit of regularly falling asleep at 5.30/6pm you may need to push their bedtime back by an hour. Do this gradually by pushing their bedtime back by 15 minutes every few days until you get to the desired time.

Equally if your child is going to bed too late this can also cause early rising. The reason for this is if your child is over tired by the time they are falling asleep they will have produced more adrenalin to cope with this and the adrenalin in their system will cause them to wake earlier. To move their bedtime to an earlier time gradually put them to bed earlier by 15 minutes every few days until you get to the desired time.

Daytime naps are another factor with early waking. If your child is not getting enough quality naptime then they will be overtired come bedtime and will wake more frequently at night and earlier in the morning. To ensure your child is getting good quality naps you need to ensure they are linking their sleep cycles otherwise they will end up catnapping and not getting the full nap they need. See my article on solving nap problems ****

If your child always wakes at the same time consistently you can try using the ‘wake to sleep’ method. This involves gently rousing your child about 30 minutes before the time they usually wake and then letting them fall back to sleep. This may seem crazy but the idea here is to break the pattern of their sleep cycles. By waking them before their usual wake time you then allow them to go back to a deep sleep and sleep past the point at which they usually wake.

Finally if all fails take comfort in the fact that early rising is nearly always a phase that children grow out of fairly quickly. If you can get any more sleep by bringing them in with you for cuddles in the morning then everyone is a winner. If you don’t fancy that then put some toys/books in their cot when they wake and let them have some quiet play time. If you need any more advice on solving early wake ups please get in touch as every child is different and so the solutions are very much tailored to the individual child.

Win a Family Ticket to see this fabulous family show at Komedia Brighton on Sunday 22nd December.  No need to answer any questions just enter here:

The prize is non- transferable so please make sure you are able to come along to one of the shows on the Sunday 22nd December at either 11.30am or 2pm.  Closing Date: Thursday 5th December.

A Christmas theatrical treat for families and dog lovers of all ages (recommended 3yrs+)

Saturday 21 ­– Sunday 29 December (not 25th and 26th), 11.30 and 14.00

Thousands of years ago in the fresh, sparkling world just after the last Ice Age there were no dogs; there were wolves but we didn’t like them and they didn’t like us… Luckily for us, along came two young hunter-gatherers Ugg ’n’ Ogg who palled up with the wolves Tooth ’n’ Nail to embark on a fun-packed adventure involving flying meat bones, beat-boxing wolves, forest infernos and even a time travelling stick before finally getting the chance to pat the world’s first Dogg!

Writer Colin Granger comments: “In these troubled times when smiles are in short supply, our play celebrates something that we humans did get right: the invention of our best friend and faithful companion, the dog.”

Theatre Fideri Fidera’s new comedy is inspired by the truly amazing evolutionary process that transformed wolves into all the dogs we see in the world today.

“Genuinely funny and energetic and the adults in the audience were laughing just as much as the kids
…  A brilliant mix of story, song, and puppeteering”
★★★★ Families Edinburgh Magazine

Theatre Fideri Fidera is a Brighton-based Anglo-Swiss touring company dedicated to creating original, engaging and entertaining theatre, offering a shared experience for children and their families. Previous work includes Pitschi, the Kitten with Dreams and the Primary Times Children’s Choice Award Winner Oskar’s Amazing Adventure.

A child who has previously been a good sleeper can often start experiencing sleep issues in their second year. This is extremely common and hardly surprising when you look at all the developmental changes that go on at this age.

Between 1 and 2 most children will begin to walk or be on the move and some will be able to talk or say a few words. With these new found skills  also comes a growing sense of independence. New skills learnt by your toddler will often cause night wakings as they want to practice their new skills in the middle of the night. For instance if your child has just learnt to pull themselves up to standing they may well  wake  frequently at night to pull themselves up in their cot. Often though they do not know how to put themselves back down again so you may find yourself having to go in and lie your child back down. This normally only lasts a few nights so be patient and keep night time interaction to a minimum.

At this age you are most likely doing more social activities with your toddler ie playgroups, music classes etc. Your child is now able to understand more and more conversation (even if they’re not talking yet) and all these social interactions in the day mean lots of processing at night. So much of what they learn is consolidated at night when they are sleeping and all the processing of the day happens. Getting a good night sleep after all this activity is key to positive learning.

Another big change  at this age that effects  sleep is the transition from  2 naps to 1 which happens in most children between 1 and 2 years.  For most this is not a smooth overnight transition but one that goes on for several months and can effect daily routines and night sleep. Some days your child will still need 2 naps but then may not go to sleep at night till late and other days they will only have 1 nap but then are ready to crash out by early evening. Initially whilst they get used to only having 1 nap they may get very tired in the late afternoon so I recommend an earlier bedtime than normal to prevent over tiredness and therefore more night wake ups.

The most important development at this age is the understanding of cause and effect, meaning that your child begins to understand the effect of particular actions. They can begin to predict what might happen if they do a particular thing. This can effect sleep as your child can very quickly begin to expect  certain things when they wake.  For example – if they always wake at 1 am and you go straight to them and cuddle them back to sleep they are now old enough to understand and expect this to happen every time they wake so you can see how habits can be formed very quickly at this age.  If your child is still waking in the night and always expects either a cuddle/rock/stroke/feed/bottle/water etc then it is a good time to look at alternative techniques to settle your child back to sleep. At this age I would often recommend a gradual retreat technique. This is a gentle and gradual approach to teach your child to sleep independently.

For more information or advice on baby and child sleep related issues please go to or call Savita on 07833 762321 for a free 15 minute consultation.

Burgess Hill Girls produced the best GCSE results for the lowest fees in Sussex according to recent research from The Telegraph and Independent Schools Council.

With much chatter about the exorbitant fees of private schools how can you guarantee value for money? Using data from the Independent Schools Council, The Telegraph has mapped 2019 GCSE Results against fees for private day and boarding schools across the UK to provide an answer.

According to the analysis Burgess Hill Girls produced the best GCSE results for the lowest fees in Sussex. In comparison to boarding schools across the whole of the UK only five schools did better for lower fees.

Head Liz Laybourn commented: ‘It’s great to see our aim to offer exceptional value for money is validated by this analysis. We are immensely proud of the excellent results that our pupils consistently achieve but even prouder of the progress they make during their time with us as well as their many other achievements in sport, the arts and work in the community.’

Burgess Hill Girls also promises incredible value for younger pupils, offering the government’s free childcare scheme for three and four year olds in both its Nursery and Reception year. Together with savings provided by the longer school day, free school meals and clubs, Burgess Hill Girls calculates that the first Reception year at the school can actually cost as little as £39.50 per week, or £2,080 per year.

Separation anxiety is one of the main causes of sleep disorders and is a very common issue that I deal with.  Children live in the present and don’t have a concept of time so when we leave (even  for a few minutes) they can worry that we are not coming back. This can be very distressing for them and can lead to more clinginess and insecurities especially when they wake at night and we are not there. Here are a few suggestions that can help combat separation anxiety:

  • Introduce a comforter/cuddly toy or blanket for them to cuddle when we are not available.
  • Lots of extra attention in the daytime including hugs and cuddles. Close physical contact helps to make your child feel loved and secure.
  • Put up photos of mummy/daddy next to their bed.
  • Keep your routine consistent especially your bedtime routine. This really helps a child to feel settled and secure.
  • Communicate with your child. Let them know if you’re going out. Always say goodbye and that you will be back soon.
  • Frequently leave the room they are in but let them know you’re just popping to the kitchen etc. Make noise (whistling etc) so they can hear you and know you’re close by even though they can’t see you.

More tips at

Burgess Hill Girls is celebrating an outstanding set of GCSE results with well over half the exams graded 9 and 8 and a record 76% graded 9 to 7­. These results confirm Burgess Hill Girls delivers a consistently excellent performance at GCSE.

Students achieved highly across all subjects, with 65% of the cohort gaining at least seven or more grades 9 to 7, a 3% increase on last year. Particular congratulations go to girls whose results were all graded 9 and 8: Ruth Bewick, Isobel Critchley, Birdie Griffiths, Annabel Hogbin and Lucy Leete.

In creative subjects, Burgess Hill Girls is performing at the highest level with 100% of all entries graded 9 to 7. Alongside consistently strong results in STEM subjects, Burgess Hill Girls students really are tomorrow’s women given employers are increasingly looking for science and technology students with a creative streak.

Head Liz Laybourn said “What we are most proud of is the fact that these amazing academic results are just one part of a rich and diverse range of achievements. From Glyndebourne performers to champion linguists, national athletes to outward bound adventurers, technical theatre specialists to dedicated volunteers, a Burgess Hill Girls education is about far more than just academic results. We encourage every girl to actively challenge herself in new directions, building a profile that adds value in ways that results alone cannot measure. This year’s achievements are superb in every respect and I am immensely proud of all of them.”

Art Camp takes place in Patcham from 29th July – 23rd August for children 5-15years.

Loads of fun activities including: pottery, story telling, painting, music, bushcraft, dance, cookery, DJ skills, circus skills.

Book now and get 10% discunt.

There are still a few spaces left in the Schools Surf Life Saving Program which begins on June 3rd for six weeks leading up to the school holidays.

This successful scheme, now in its 9th year forms part of Paddle Round The Pier Beach Festival’s Outreach Program and is run in conjunction with Brighton Surf Life Saving Club.

Schools are invited to send year 5,6,7 & 8 pupils along to experience a full day of beach Lifeguard training. The kids are taught safety in the ocean, basic lifeguarding skills (including the use of a rescue board, rescue tube and sea swimming techniques). This is then combined with CPR / basic first aid and an introduction to Surf Lifesaving as a sport. The lessons learnt here really do help to save lives and enables all participants to safely enjoy messing around in and about the water.

On average each year the the program reaches over 800 kids from across our region. The inner confidence gained by some of the children is amazing to witness and the event has incredible reports from carers, teachers and parents relating to the transformation in the youngsters wellbeing and attitude following the days experience.

To get your school involved please contact [email protected]

Are your child’s spots just itchy and sore or a symptom of something more sinister? Jackie Hall, team leader of Health at Hand nurses for AXA PPP healthcare gives you the lowdown on which spots to worry about.

1. Meningitis

This is the scary one every parent dreads. Remember though, a rash is often one of the last signs of meningitis or septicaemia, so do see a doctor if you are concerned about any of these symptoms:

What to look for
“A child with meningitis would normally be very unwell with reddish/purple spots which look a little like tiny fresh bruises on the skin – the key is that these do not blanch in colour when you press on them. The glass test is a very useful way to check,” explains Jackie. “This is if you press the side of a clear glass firmly against the skin and the rash doesn’t fade, it’s a sign of blood poisoning (septicaemia) and you should seek medical attention immediately. The rash may be harder to see on darker skin so check for spots on the paler areas, such as the palms of the hands, soles of the feet or the abdomen.”

How to treat it
If meningitis is suspected, then the child must go immediately to an Accident and Emergency Department.

Is it contagious?
Bacterial meningitis can be contagious and you will be advised by the professionals looking after your child of actions that need to be taken.

2. Slapped cheek syndrome

What to look for
This is caused by parvovirus and causes a bright red rash on the cheeks. It is accompanied by slight fever and the child will feel mild/moderately unwell but get better after a few days.

How to treat it
Slapped cheek syndrome is usually mild and should clear up without specific treatment. If you or your child is feeling unwell, you can try the following to ease the symptoms:

  • Rest and drink plenty of fluids – babies should continue their normal feeds. Dehydration poses the greater risk, particularly in the young.
  • For a fever, headaches or joint pain you can take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Aspirin should not be given to children under 16 years old.
  • To reduce itchiness, oral antihistamines can be taken and/or emollients used – some antihistamines are not suitable for young children, so check with your pharmacist first.
  • Those who should contact a GP include: pregnant women exposed to anyone with slapped cheek syndrome or who have symptoms of the infection, those who have a blood disorder, a weakened immune system or those with symptoms of severe anaemia, such as very pale skin, shortness of breath, extreme tiredness or fainting.

Is it contagious?
The virus is spread by inhaling droplets that are sneezed or coughed out by someone infected or by touching a contaminated surface or object and then touching your mouth or nose. It’s very difficult to prevent slapped cheek syndrome because people who have the infection are most contagious before they develop any obvious symptoms. However, making sure that everyone in the household washes their hands frequently may help stop the infection from spreading.

Someone with slap cheek syndrome is infectious during the period before the rash develops. Once the rash appears, the condition can no longer be passed on. Unless you or your child is feeling unwell, there’s no need to stay away from school or work once the rash has developed. It is however a good idea to notify your child’s school about the infection, so children who develop early symptoms can be spotted quickly and vulnerable people can be made aware that they may need to get medical advice.

3. Chicken pox

What to look for
At first your child will seem a bit off-colour, they may be off their food and quite lethargic for a few days. Then a few, itchy, red, raised spots on the neck, face, chest or back or other body parts will start to appear. These turn into little fluid-filled blisters, which can be itchy and painful. The child can be infectious for several days before spots appear and for 5 days or more after spots become visible.

How to treat it
Chickenpox is usually mild and can be self-managed from home. Most people feel better within a week or so. But some people can become more seriously ill and need to see a doctor. There’s no cure but the treatment below can help relieve the symptoms while the body fights the infection.

  • Rest and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • For a fever, painkillers can help, such as paracetamol. Ibuprofen shouldn’t be given to children with chickenpox as it can make them very ill and do not give aspirin to children under 16.
  • IMPORTANT: Always read the packet or leaflet that comes with the medicine to check it’s suitable and how much to take. Speak to a pharmacist or your GP if you’re unsure.

You can buy topical preparations to apply directly onto the rash or administer an oral antihistamine to help reduce itching and soothe the skin– some antihistamines are not suitable for young children, so check with your pharmacist first.

An antiviral medicine called Aciclovir may be recommended if there is a risk of severe chickenpox and you already have symptoms. It ideally needs to be started within 24 hours of the rash appearing.

Is it contagious?
Chickenpox is highly contagious and can make some people very ill, so it’s important to try and avoid spreading it to others. If you or your child has chickenpox, stay away from nursery, school or work until all of the blisters have dried up and scabbed over. This usually happens five or six days after the rash first appears. You may continue to have spots on your skin for another week or two, but you’re no longer contagious if the spots are dry and scabby.

Certain people are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they become infected with chickenpox. These include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Newborn babies
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People in these groups should avoid contact with people with chickenpox and consult their GP if there is a risk that they have become infected.
  • Chicken pox can be spread through contact with objects that have been contaminated with the virus, such as toys, bedding or clothing. You can prevent it spreading by cleaning any objects or surfaces with a disinfectant and wash any infected clothing or bedding regularly.

4. Measles

Measles is a highly infectious, unpleasant viral illness that has some characteristic features to distinguish it from other viruses. Furthermore, it has the potential to cause serious complications.

What to look for
A mass of red spots break out around the neck, behind the ears and face but can appear elsewhere too, including the inside of the mouth. Measles can result in serious complications but, thanks to vaccination programmes, the incidence of outbreaks is low.

Initial symptoms of measles can include:

  • A runny or blocked nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light
  • A fever
  • Small greyish white spots in the mouth
  • Aches and pains
  • Cough
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness, irritability and a general lack of energy

How to treat it
You should contact your GP as soon as possible if you suspect that you or your child has measles. Its best to phone before your visit as your GP surgery may need to make some arrangements to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others. There’s no specific treatment for measles, but the condition usually improves within 7 to 10 days. If the symptoms of measles are causing discomfort for you or your child, there are some things you can do to treat these while you wait for your body to fight off the virus.

  • Rest and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used to reduce a fever and relieve any aches or pains if you or your child is uncomfortable. (Aspirin should not be given to children under 16). Speak to your pharmacist if you are not sure which medications are suitable for you child.

Is it contagious?
Stay away from work or school for at least four days from when the measles rash first appears to reduce the risk of spreading the infection. It’s important to avoid contact with people who are more vulnerable to the infection, such as young children and pregnant women.

You can avoid catching measles by having the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Measles is unlikely in people who are fully immunised or who have previously contracted the infection. Vaccination with one dose of the combined measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine should provide about 90% immunity. However, vaccination with two doses of the MMR vaccine, as indicated by the UK Childhood Immunisation Programme, is thought to provide close to 100% lifelong immunity.

Data suggests that the people most likely to present with measles are younger people who have not received the MMR vaccine and who have not been previously exposed to the virus. In the past, there has been measles endemic, but since the introduction of the MMR vaccination, this has become relatively rare. However, in recent years, the infection has become more prevalent due to a failure of uptake of vaccination.

5. German measles (rubella)

What to look for
This is usually a mild illness with small red spots appearing on the face at first and then spreading to other parts of the body. Other symptoms include swollen glands and a cold-like illness. It’s rarely seen nowadays in the UK, thanks to routine vaccination. It is, however, of serious concern if a pregnant woman catches the virus in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy because it can cause birth defects in her baby.

Both measles and rubella are viral, however, the infection with rubella is usually mild by comparison, (symptoms include a rash and swollen lymph glands) but the likelihood of developing complications is rare. The main risk is contracting rubella in pregnancy.

How to treat it
You should always contact your GP if you suspect rubella. It’s best to phone before your visit as your GP surgery may need to make some arrangements to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others. There’s no specific treatment for rubella. The condition is usually mild and improves without treatment within 7 to 10 days. If the symptoms of rubella are causing discomfort for you or your child, there are some things you can do while you wait for the infection to pass.

  • Rest and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used to reduce a fever and relieve any aches or pain. (Aspirin should not be given to children under 16). Speak to your pharmacist if you are not sure which medications are suitable for you child.

Is it contagious?
While you have rubella, it’s important to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others. If you or your child has the condition, you should avoid work or school for four days from when you first develop the rubella rash.

In rare cases, rubella can cause serious problems in an unborn baby, so you should also try to avoid contact with pregnant women for four days from the start of the rash. If your pregnant and develop a rash or have been in contact with someone who has a rash, contact you GP or midwife immediately.

6. Impetigo

What to look for
This often begins as a red patch of skin often around the nose or mouth but can occur anywhere on the body. The red patches then become a crusty/brownish colour after a few days.

It is caused by overgrowth of skin bacteria and can easily be cleared by antibiotics, although spreads easily if left untreated.

Speak to your GP if you think you or your child may have symptoms of impetigo. Impetigo isn’t usually serious, but it can sometimes have similar symptoms to more serious conditions such as cellulitis so it’s important to get the correct diagnosis.

How to treat it
Impetigo usually gets better without treatment in a few weeks. However, treatment is often recommended because it can reduce the length of the illness to around 7 to 10 days and can reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others.

Hygiene measures alone even for small, localised lesions are not recommended. The main treatments prescribed are antibiotic creams or oral antibiotics and duration of treatment is usually one week.

Is it contagious?
During treatment it’s important to take precautions to minimise the risk of impetigo spreading to other people or to other areas of the body. Most people are no longer contagious after 48 hours of treatment or once their sores have dried and healed. It’s important to stay away from school or work until then.

To help prevent the risk of infection spreading:

  •  Wash and loosely cover the sores.
  • Avoid touching or scratching the sores.
  • Avoid contact with new born babies, preparing food, playing contact sports, or going to the gym – until the risk of infection has passed.
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Washable toys should be washed – thoroughly wipe non-washable toys.

7. Eczema

What to look for
Dry/inflamed patches of skin typically form on creases of elbows and behind knees, but can occur anywhere on the body.

How to treat it
Treating eczema fundamentally involves breaking the scratch-itch cycle and replenishing the moisture content of the skin. It will normally respond well to the regular use of emollients/moisturisers and topical steroid preparations for flare ups. It is not possible to “overdose” on moisturisers and what may work for one person, may not for another. Steroid preparations are useful in managing flare-ups but should be used as prescribed. There are also specific bath additives/shower gels/soaps that are targeted to help manage eczema.

Is it contagious?
Eczema is not contagious. It is a chronic skin condition, most prevalent in childhood.

8. Molluscum

What to look for
Little crops of raised, fluid-filled blisters can occur anywhere on the body or limbs. These spots are harmless and the child will not be unwell but they are contagious and spread by person to person contact.

How to treat it
It can take up to 18 months for these to clear. Usually no treatment is needed as they clear on their own.

Is it contagious?
Resolution is spontaneous but it is contagious. It can be spread through close direct contact. If you become infected by the virus and spots appear on your skin, the virus can also spread to other areas. It is not known how long someone with molluscum is contagious for, but it is thought the contagious period may last up until the last spot has completely healed.

9. Allergic wheals

What to look for
These are blistery, reddish, raised blotches to the skin which can appear rapidly on different parts of the body. They tend to be itchy and are usually due to exposure to an allergen e.g. animal hair/dander, grasses or foods/additives.

How to treat it
Antihistamines such as Piriton can be helpful in reducing symptoms and progression. Most often the rash settles quickly over 24 hours but if there is associated swelling of the face, lips or any breathing problems, call 999.

Is it contagious?
Allergic wheals are not contagious. This is because allergic reactions are a result of the unique response of each individual’s immune system to certain triggers. Substances that cause a reaction in one person may not cause a reaction in someone else.

10. Neonatal heat spots

What to look for
These small red spots with a tiny white pimple on top appear on the face, neck and upper chest. They are the result of immature sweat glands becoming blocked when the baby gets hot. They are very common and usually of no concern and will disappear after a few months.

Find out more about the child health care options available to your family. You can also discover more information in AXA PPP healthcare’s pregnancy and childcare centre.

Grab your goggles, slip on a lab coat and get stuck into the Kew Science Festival at Wakehurst.

This is the third Kew Science Festival at Wakehurst and is back by popular demand!

With over 350 scientists and work spanning over 100 countries, Kew is a global leader in plant and fungal science; from carrying out exciting plant discovery expeditions in Colombia, to vital conservation work in biodiversity hotspot Madagascar, and unearthing the fundamental impacts of plants on our daily lives.

This year’s scientific extravaganza will not only focus on the vital importance of conserving the world’s plant biodiversity, but will bring to life, for all ages, the crucial value of plant and fungal science.

The two-day festival is a rare chance to experience vital plant and fungal science first hand and find out what Kew scientists are doing to protect rare and threatened species.

Set in and around the world-renowned Millennium Seed Bank, the festival features marquees on the lawns and will house an extensive programme with something to intrigue everyone.

  • It is also the perfect chance for adults to enjoy our NEW exhibition Surviving or Thriving – an exhibition on plants and us, in the atrium of the seed bank.

Festival highlights

Cryo Corner

Prepare to be amazed at what’s happening inside the vats of billowing nitrogen! Discover how Kew scientists are pioneering new techniques to conserve seeds that can’t be banked in the normal way. Watch ice-cream being made with liquid nitrogen. Science doesn’t get much cooler!

Discover DNA

What does DNA look like? Come and find out for yourself and try your hand at extracting DNA from a strawberry.

Gastronaut: The Wildest Food Show on Earth

TV presenter Stefan Gates’ extraordinary live show about food and science. A blend of bizarre plant biology with explosive chemistry, sensory perception and phenomenal physics to reveal the shocking secrets behind the food we eat every day.

Behind the Scenes Tours of the Millennium Seed Bank

A rare chance to go behind the scenes and uncover the subterranean secrets of the most     biodiverse place in the world. Book early on the day as spaces are limited

More than a Mushroom

Do you want to be a part of the Wood Wide Web? Let our giant fungus introduce you to the wonders of Kingdom Fungi, help you communicate with each other and join the most extensive network ever imagined! A dynamic and interactive installation from Kew’s outreach project, Grow Wild.

Science Café, shows, workshops and more

A programme of inspirational workshops and award-winning shows will keep you enthralled. Drop in to the Science Café and hang out with TV presenter Simon Watt for a series of family games, quizzes and Q&As to get you thinking

Google Goggles – Virtual Field Trip

Experience for yourself what it feels like to be a scientist on a field trip. Step into a virtual landscape with the help of our 360-degree Google Goggles to follow in the footsteps of our conservation scientists.

Wild Science

Explore Wakehurst’s extraordinary wild landscape and uncover how we carry out science in the gardens and in the wild – from the crops grown on site for research, to the conservation of rare plants and seeds. Join a Pollinator Walk, go on a Fungi Quest, and find out how some of our most important, rare and threatened trees measure up for size.

Honey Detective

Become a honey detective and match the honey to the plant it comes from – just why do different bees seek out certain plants? The best-tasting chemistry lesson you’ve ever had! Plus, take a peek inside a live bumblebee colony.


Food and drink will be available all weekend.