Wakehurst, or Wakehurst Place, is a set of botanical gardens and house in Sussex, England. They’re run by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew who also manage Kew Gardens (funnily enough) but are owned by the National Trust, meaning if you’re a member you’re granted entry for free.
In England at the moment the weather is really beautiful and sunny (potentially too much so) so my family and I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and drive down to visit the gardens and escape busy city life for the day. Whilst the journey was long and far too hot, it was certainly worth it, we’ll probably just not make it again any time soon (I mean it was ~5 hours travel in total so can you blame us?).
Wakehurst is home to the Millennium Seed Bank, a growing collection of seeds from around the world which aims to provide a security net in the event of plant species’ extinction. They have scientists working on site with glass windows, meaning you can observe what they do on the daily. In addition, they have posters and writing all around the building, leading you on a tour explaining how they store the seeds, starting from the initial picking.
Onto the main attraction of Wakehurst, the gardens themselves.
Wakehurst has a variety of garden types, of which I will name only two due my provincial knowledge on the subject: mansion and wild. The mansion gardens were more of what I was used to, considering my many visits to stately homes, however their wild gardens were really beautiful and featured a lot of flowers and plants that I wasn’t used to seeing.
However, my favourite garden was the Himalayan Glade, which was one of their curated landscapes, showcasing plants from China. They had a bit of exposed cliff and rocks, which added variety from the constant green, as well as steep slopes and stairs reflecting the more mountainous landscape which the plants were native to.
Similar to the Himalayan Glade, there were many gardens focused on different geographical locations, for example Coates Wood, woodland reflecting Australasia and South America, the Tony Schilling Asian Health Garden (I assume you can figure that one out) and Loder Valley Nature Reserve for fauna and flora native to England.
To help you structure your day, Wakehurst has a variety of paths which guide you around their gardens along with a map detailing the terrain type – so you know which you can access if you’re less physically able or pushing a buggy/wheelchair around, meaning that the gardens can be enjoyed by all.
If you’re local or in the area, I would certainly recommend a visit to Wakehurst. I know from living in the city that you can forget to appreciate the scenery and wildlife around us, much of the time simply due to not being around any and instead being surrounded by concrete. So taking the time out of your week to breathe some fresh air and admire the endless horizon can be beneficial, both physically and mentally.
If you’re considering giving it a visit I’ve linked their website here so you can check it out!