RHS Wisley with Kids

RHS Wisley with Kids

When my mum mentioned that she would like to visit RHS Wisley when she was next here and suggested we join her, I did a little bit of an inward groan.  I don’t know much about the RHS but assumed it would be a big posh, formal garden crowded with semi-retired ladies in their M&S scarves, dragging reluctant husbands around with them as they coo over the hyancinths and petunias.  The last thing they would want to see is two hyperactive children that had been let loose after hours cooped up in restrictive car seats on the journey there.

Family fun at RHS Wisley

Scarecrows and Games for all the family

My mum sent me a link to a WI scarecrow trail that was there during August (and was a little disappointing being mainly Bruce Forsyth models for some reason rather than the traditional scarecrows I’d expected) and I started to wonder if perhaps my preconceptions had been wrong. I began to explore the website and found lots of child-friendly indicators. A children’s play area was mentioned, children’s entertainment, children’s activity sheets and trails, baby change facilities; the list went on.  It was looking promising.

With my mum’s membership, her and my dad got in for free and children under 5 also go free (although over the summer holiday this is extended to under 16’s with a paying adult), so for 6 of us, only 2 of us had to pay the £11.85 entrance fee.  Which, apart from food and petrol, makes for a very affordable day out.

Gardens at RHS Wisley

The different vistas

The gardens are huge and there really is lots to see and do. In fact, despite arriving by midday (grrrr M25), and not leaving until the gates were closing behind us, there was still lots more we didn’t see or do.

As you enter, the perfectly manicured lawns and keep off the grass signs, made me doubt the sense in coming, but turning the corner, past the manor house I was immediately reassured as a massive lawn stretched out before us, dotted with children playing and running around.

RHS WIsley house and pond

The formal pond

A large formal pond filled with fish and stunning plants led down to wilder and less formal gardens, large duckponds, more grassy areas with games laid out for families to play and a shelter with children’s entertainers, and through to the glasshouse which houses tropical and succulent plants that are simply stunning.  There was also a fuschia and nature photography exhibition on show that made me more determined than ever to better my photographic skills!

Trees at RHS Wisley

Terrific trees

On leaving the glasshouse, a path leads past the lake and up towards the jubilee arboretum and children’s play area.  This is my favourite part of the garden, as it felt the most natural and I love trees and meadows.

Panoramic views at RHS Wisley

The views

From the edges of the arboretum, a winding path leads to the top of the fruit mount, perfumed with the apples growing on the trees that line it and providing spectacular views across the gardens and beyond from the viewing platform at the summit.

Henry Moore sculpture at RHS Wisley

Battleston Hill and the Henry Moore sculpture

Back on level ground, we wandered past the orchards and fruit fields, past a wildflower meadow and herb garden.  We ran up Battleston Hill to view the Henry Moore sculpture up close and then ran back down again (at twice the speed!).

RHSW Bee RHSW Bees RHSW Bees1 RHSW Butterfly RHSW Cactus RHSW Desert RHSW Lobster RHSW Pot RHSW Slipper RHSW WaterfallThere were model gardens that inspire, cottage gardens, rose gardens and mixed borders.  All teeming with a fantastic mix of plantlife and flowers and busy with bees and butterflies.  The children ran and danced and skipped until they were ready to drop and we all enjoyed ice creams and lunch and cake from the various eateries dotted about.  Unfortunately, we ran out of time for the pinetum, but plan to visit again to explore the areas we missed or didn’t give enough attention to.

This is one formal garden that gets a big thumbs up from me as being not only family friendly, but positively child-embracing.  A truly wonderful day out for all ages with every need catered for.  If you can, go.  Take a camera, take the kids, have fun and be inspired.

I’m linking up with Mammasaurus for her How Does Your Garden Grow linky even though this isn’t my garden or even close to being my garden!  Click the image below to discover more wonderful gardens to explore.

Mammasaurus - How Does Your Garden Grow?
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10 comments on “RHS Wisley with Kids
  1. Up until just over a year ago I lived not too far from Wisley and it was one of my favourite places to go to escape. I have seen it in all seasons and I adore it there. Fabulous collection of photographs! Another great place to go for children to run around not too far from there is Painshill Park xx

    • Faded Seaside Mama says:

      I can so imagine how wonderful it is to see it in other seasons. There is so much diversity of plantlife there it would always have something of interest to see. Unfortunately, we don’t live close by so won’t be able to visit that regularly, but it would be wonderful if we could!

  2. Mammasaurus says:

    Wowsers what a stunning day out and great value too! I love your photos, especially how you laid out the meadow ones. Makes me so happy to see all those bees enjoying themselves too.
    Oh how I’d love to be Lady of the Manor and have a pond like that! I can dream!

    Thank you for joining in and sharing – just looks so good there x

    • Faded Seaside Mama says:

      Thanks Annie! The bees are fab aren’t they – I have a real soft spot for them! The house isn’t open to the public, but just seeing it from the outside got me all wistful to be sat at the window overlooking the gardens and having the views inspire my writing.

  3. Charly Dove says:

    What a wonderful post – I think I loved Wisley because I took so many photos!!! Yours are great, love that bee, sounds like you had a really fun day in the end 🙂

    • Faded Seaside Mama says:

      We have so many photos too! Took our SLR as well but was quite pleased with my phone ones and especially liked the panoramic tool – although I haven’t got a 3D TV to view them properly! Have enjoyed looking through all of your photos too!

  4. Suzanne says:

    We went yesterday and in fact try to go most summers. As always, it didn’t disappoint. We took many similar photos!

    • Faded Seaside Mama says:

      Now we’ve discovered it, I’m sure we’ll go again and again even if it’s a long drive. I love your photos on Instagram – you all look like you’re having a great time.

  5. Jo says:

    Lovely photos and a great write up on one of our favourite places for a great reasonably low cost (if you have membership and take a picnic) day out. I’ve been taking my little boy to Wisely since he was teeny, he’s now nearly 5. It’s a fab day out all year round, rain or shine! Mid January through to end February there are butterflies in the glass house and we make numerous visits to try and spot all the different types. Battleston Hill is our fave spot to finish when the weather is dry as we always roll down the hill together 🙂

    • Faded Seaside Mama says:

      I love the idea of the glasshouse being full of butterflies! I will have to make an effort to visit in each season! That hill was made for rolling – was a bit busy when we were there though!

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