My parents (The Terrorists Grandparents) are huge gardening fans. As such I spent my childhood being dragged round National Gardens and vowing to myself that I would never set foot in one again when I was all grown up! Such is the way of life (parents genuinely being right etc!) I now find that one of my favourite places in the world to hang out is the RHS Gardens at Wisley! Luckily Gardens have upped their game since my day (or my children are nicer than I was!) and it is now a place loved by The Terrorists as well.
We have membership (a bargain as it lets you take a friend in for free and the kids under 5 are also free) and have been coming since The Bear was very tiny. As such we have our day down to a fine art. He it is….
We start off in the coffee shop at the entrance for the obligatory coffee and cake (those who read my blog regularly will know this is pretty much a part of all of our trips – note to self – eat less cake!), and I should state right here that the cake at Wisley is some of the best I have found!
Sadly you are not allowed to take scooters in so instead we go armed with a bouncy ball each (and a few spare in my handbag for when we loose some in flower beds!) and off we trot. One of the loveliest things is that there is just so much space and it is all very well contained and (relatively – there is some open water to beware of) safe so you can literally let the kids run, play hide and seek and totter through little hidden pathways to their hearts content (or at least until they are exhausted!).
The Terrorists however always have a plan! They like to push ahead and get up to the outdoor play area. This is fantastic, there isn’t a swing or slide in sight but instead there are wooden climbing frames, balancing logs and best of all a whole area dedicated to creating giant wigwams out of sticks. This literally entertains the terrorists for hours!
Should the weather not be kind you can head down to the giant glass houses where there are waterfalls, an underground cave (with a giant carrot – one of The Bears highlights !!)). There are also often activities on such as planting seeds and bid displays (check out their website – link below for the details of what is coming up).
There are 3 cafes (one outside and 2 in the gardens) and both serve very high quality food in a love setting. One even has a new mini soft play though we haven’t managed to check it out yet. On our most recent visit the weather was glorious so we ended up with a Yumbox picnic which we enjoyed in the woods (pretending to be Gruffalos!).
Last stop is the shop which has a huge selection of fantastic kids toys and books (amongst other things) – just perfect if you need to pick up a birthday gift.
As kids days out go, it isn’t the most action packed but I can honestly say they love it and that The Bear requests to go and make wig wams as often as he requests Chessington World of Adventures (honestly true!) – so it just goes to show sometimes the old fashioned fun is best (oh and your Mum is always right!)
Top Tip – if you think you will go more than a couple of times in the year then definitely worth a look at their membership packages as they are very good value
Time to visit – I would say half a day though on a beautiful summers day with a picnic blanket and a Frisbee we have often whiled away the whole day
Highlights – the wig wam building and the giant glass houses (make sure you find the giant carrot!)
Getting there – we always drive (free parking). Directions on their website
Pushchair access – everywhere is accessible with pushchairs though a few routes have steps so try and follow the disabled access signs
Price – children are free(under 5) and an adult is £12.50. Membership for the year is £40.50 which gets you and a guest in free every time you visit
Food and Drink – the cafes are all fantastic and serve great, healthy food. The picnic spots are multiple, just remember to take a bag to put your rubbish in as the rubbish bins are only by the cafes
Other attractions nearby – You are only a few miles Chessington World of Adventures – though I am not sure I could manage them both in a day personally
Baby facilities – there is baby change in each of the cafes and a couple of other toilets dotted around and it is very clean and well maintained. Note the toilets are quite a trek from the kids play area so it is worth going before you head up there
Website – http://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley