Most people have probably never heard that the world famous Kew Gardens, based in London, have another site in the heart of the beautiful Sussex countryside. Wakehurst Place is jointly owned and run by Kew and by the National Trust, meaning that you can access it for free if you are a National Trust Member (although even NT members will need to pay to park if you are not a ‘Friend of Wakehurst’).
Wakehurst is a fabulous place for families, with a well designed natural play area to encourage adventurous natural play.
The site is huge, but easy to navigate so you can choose either short strolls or a longer walk around its hills, valleys, lakes, woodlands and gardens. The paths are mainly pushchair and wheelchair friendly and even mid winter are free from swampy patches.
Wakehurst has a series of events running throughout the year, including at times the chance to book in on a tour of underground vaults of the amazing Millennium Seedbank (for adults and children over 10 years). The seedbank has a visitors centre open all year round to all visitors where there are great displays
about the history of the site, the importance of seeds, and the work done nationally and internationally by the seedbank, including observation windows where you can watch scientists and volunteers at work. It’s a great way to fire up kids enthusiasm for botany and includes objects and plants to handle, and interactive screens to learn more.
While the main gardens are a bit sleepy for the winter, there is still plenty of beauty to look for, both in the planting and in the art works and sculptures sprinkled liberally around the grounds.
With it’s blend of horticulture, art and play, Wakehurst is a place we will be returning to again and again.
NB this post has not been sponsored, it is just a location I feel is great for families to know about. The site has good accessibility for pushchairs and wheelchairs, although some areas such as the walk to the lake are very steep. The site has places to picnic as well as cafes, and has toilets including accessible toilets and baby changing facilities. The nearest train stations are 6 miles away at Haywards Heath and also 6 miles away at East Grinstead (travel information from National Trust website, please check for yourself before you travel).