Thursday, 19 October 2017

Wonderful Wakehurst, a great place to visit all year round

Photo by Anne Frost

Autumn is a beautiful season, don’t you think? The trees are changing colour gradually with a rich mixture of reds, yellows, greens and browns providing such a vivid contrast to the spring and summer. The weather can be variable of course, but fortunately there are still many days when the sun will shine and there will be blue skies, making it the perfect opportunity to get out and about in the South East.

Wakehurst, near Ardingly in West Sussex is the country estate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and is open all year round. Whatever the season you can enjoy many days out visiting with family and friends, young or old to enjoy the varied landscape, explore the wide range of different walks. Find out about the important conservation work inside the 21st-century architecture of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank. Wakehurst is well known for its’ superb botanical gardens and its impressive collection of trees that rightly make this such an interesting attraction.

Photo by Anne Frost

This October is the 30th anniversary of the “Great Storm” of 1987, which sadly resulted in several people losing their lives and caused havoc and devastation across much of the country. Wakehurst experienced significant damage too, losing 20,000 trees overnight. As a result, Wakehurst embarked on an ambitious conservation programme to replicate different types of forest from around the world – and when you visit, the success of this project is clearly evident as well as being internationally important.

Today the gardens are beautifully maintained by the friendly and knowledgeable staff and indeed the many volunteers who work so hard to make Wakehurst such a special place, both for people living locally and indeed for visitors from across the UK and abroad. Acers are a particular favourite of mine and autumn is an ideal time of year to appreciate these stunningly attractive trees with their gorgeous foliage of several colours and hues.

Photo by Anne Frost

Wakehurst covers an area of 500 acres in size, so you are certainly spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding how to while away a few hours or even spend the whole day there. Take a stroll along the Himalayan Glade, spend time in the peaceful surroundings of the Water Gardens, see the waterfalls and lakes or simply have a walk through the various woods and other gardens. There is also a daily tour organised (lasting approximately 1-1½ hrs) that enables visitors to see plants of seasonal interest and also discover more about the fascinating history of the estate.

Photo by Anne Frost

As a year-round attraction, Wakehurst has a number of events taking place suitable for the family… with plenty of half-term fun guaranteed! The Millenium Seed Bank is the venue for a range of science and art activities for children, including a photo trail to discover which Wakehurst trees were storm survivors; an opportunity to make a flying pheasant and a wind tunnel; and lots of wild play in the Children’s Heritage Garden. The price is £3 per child plus normal garden admission. For more information please click onto the website. Enjoy the half-term holidays!

Written by Simon at Hibou Communication

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