We love Wisley as RHS members we visit regularly, for this reason I have been planning on writing a post for a while. Today was going to be the day, however our trip didn’t exactly go to plan, with Monkey deciding he wasn’t feeling too good we didn’t get to explore to ur usual capacity. So you will notice that some of the photos in this post are from earlier visits! One of the things I like about Wisley as there is always something going on and its lovely seeing the gardens change through the seasons.
Today we arrived and headed straight over to the Conservatory Cafe for lunch. Food at Wisley is always good. They normally have great selection of hot food and do a lovely sausage plait and salad. For the kids they do a lunch box where they get to pick their own contents from – a sandwich, little pots of carrot sticks, cucumber, raisins, grapes, dolly mixture, crisps, fruit, jelly, yogurt and box juices.
Once finished we went over the Glass House, this is my favourite part. I love all of the tropical looking plants. Just as you go in there is a giant banana tree which has a flower and some green bananas at the moment. This started up a conversation on where bananas come from and how they grow, we actually have some banana seeds at home which Monkey now wants to plant. I am not sure if they will germinate in our conservatory or not!
Also in the glass house they have underground ‘Root’ section which gives the kids chance to learn all about roots and has several interactive TV screens. Its great for school kids. There is a cactus area which fascinates Monkey all the time, especially the round ones which look like footballs! My favourite part is always the Orchids they have some unusual colours and patterns, it gives me something to aspire to with mine!
During our visit today we had a quick look at the waterfall. The glass house is where they also home a myriad of beautiful butterflies normally from January to March. We tend to visit every year to watch them as you get to see them up close. Although be warned if planning on doing the same it gets really busy. It is possible to book time slots for entrance online, which means that you avoid the large queue. We tried this last time we visited and it worked much better especially with young children. During busy times buggies are not allowed into the Glass House, there is a buggy park provided next to the main entrance.
Right next to the Glass House is the Learning Centre which has a lovely enclosed garden for exploration including a pond. Normally they hold the kids activities in the building right next to it. Last time they had the butterflies we made caterpillar crowns. They have a whole programme of Autumn inspired crafts and activities on over the half term. You can find out more about their current events here.
Our plan was to go up the kids play area from the Glass House, but this is when Monkey decided he wanted to go home. However if you are visiting its a great place for a picnic. There is a large area with several prebuilt dens, which you can dismantle and put back together, we normally head here first. The rest of the play are is predominately made out of natural materials. Monkey particularly likes the wooden stepping stones and jumping on and off the logs which are pretty heigh and have been carved into lovely patterns. There is a also a little wobbly bridge, a small assort course and swings.
You can walk across the children’s play area into the fruit fields and then into the fruit gardens. At certain times of the year they will allow you to taste the produce, I remember trying white currants for the first time at Wisley. Its great if you grow your own at home as you can normally pick up some useful tips!
Our favourite things to at Wisley are:
- Visit the butterflies in the glasshouse
- Enjoy a craft activity of the holidays in the learning centre
- Build a den and jump off logs
- Wander along the herbaceous borders
- Smell the roses in the Bowes-Lyon & Jubilee Rose Gardens
- Taste the fruits of Wisley and walk between the vegetable beds
- Marvel at the miniature flowers in the Alpine Houses
- Enjoy the amazing tulip displays in the Spring
- Laugh at the scarecrow competition they hold each year
- Go on a Lindt Gold Bunny Easter Hunt
- Play follow my leader through the rock gardens
- Take you own little part of Wisley home from the garden centre
Be warned the gift shop is like an Aladdin’s cave for kiddies, they also sell some lovely books and it can be challenge not to come out with one.
Things you need to know
- Entrance is free to RHS members otherwise it costs, £13.20 with gift aid for adults and £6.60 for children. Under 5s are free. They offer discounts for family tickets.
- Open everyday except Christmas Day, Monday – Friday 10am to 6pm, on weekends and Bank Holidays 9am-6pm.
- Bikes, scooters and balls are not allowed
- You can find out more on their website – www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley/plan-your-visit
We will be back again during the half term to take advantage of some of the Halloween activities they have planned. Whats your favourite thing to do at Wisley?