It was forecasted to be quite a dull day, not raining but very wet from heavy rain the night before. I woke up rather indecisive we almost drove down to the sea! I wanted to pick somewhere Stroller friendly as I wasn’t feeling 100% and Jamie has a bad back at the moment. Instead we drove to The Royal Horticultural Society’s garden Wisley, it turned out to be a fantastic choice. On arrival we opted to become members as I felt it would be another great venue to add to our portfolio of places we can go for family picnics and outdoor time. Membership is quite reasonable for the year, It’s going up in price tomorrow I believe but we paid £42.75 for a year by direct debit at the time.
I’m really excited about this place, It’s huge and I wish we had planned to stay longer as we didn’t cover half of what was on offer. I can only imagine how beautiful it is in Summer when all the flowers outside are blooming. I do believe that if you visit somewhere at its weakest point and love it, that’s a great sign.
There is a neat wooden seating area near the fountain which you can sit and admire the water from, it’s sheltered from the rain and in part the wind. In my childless days I could imagine coming just to sit and read here. After a short while we wandered off up a long path to go and explore the rock garden, there is an accessible path way but we only found this out after. I decided to take the long way round and Jamie took a little trip up to check things out. The paths are really great for pushing the stroller around and Wisley are renovating many of the other paths that are a little more bumpy but still very accessible.
At the top of the rock garden are lots of alpine plants some growing outside and some cleverly inside greenhouses which are open to walk through. We really loved the Bonsai walk, I’ve always admired the Bonsai but never been able to successfully keep one alive. I loved how it all came down to this big tree point and I can’t upload it here but I took a large panoramic photo. From the end of this path you get a high view across the gardens, in which you can see the huge Glasshouse built around a lake.
Before heading down to the Glasshouse we stopped off at the teaching garden.
I love how the teaching garden (used mostly by school trips) had everything down at child level. I look forward to taking Ariella there on days out when she is older to study gardening, learning about insects, growing vegetables. It’s great to see such a neat resource available, the garden was surrounded by classrooms which must be used by the school also.
Before heading into the Glasshouse we stopped by the Glasshouse Cafe attached, it has a soft play but it was closed. I ordered a couple of coffees, they weren’t bad but they weren’t amazing – on par with the stuff Waitrose normally hands out.
I was really amazed by the underground Root Zone section, fascinating that they built it a level down so you really do feel under the roots of the trees above. Lots of interesting facts about roots, it was very sensory and Ariella enjoyed all the screens and lights. You could spend quite some time wandering around the different zones in the Glasshouse, we didn’t head up to the very top-level as we weren’t sure if it was accessible and had plenty to look at going through the zones.
Ariella found the roof of the glasshouse really fascinating and kept proclaiming “wow” as we walked around. Many of the trees overhung across the top so she must have got quite an interest view.
It was fascinating that they had lots of little waterfalls and various water running through, it reminded me a lot of the Eden Project but on a smaller scale. We went to the Eden Project back in the Summer 2016, I highly recommend you go – although it’s quite a trip down to it.
Being big coffee lovers I couldn’t help but snap a shot of one of the coffee bean plans growing, I’ve never seen beans growing in person. I have a lot to thank this plant for!
We ended our trip by taking the winter walk path up to the exit, that’s the featured photo at the top. I wasn’t expected much from a garden in Winter but I was throughly impressed by Wisley and can’t wait to go back. I think it will be a firm favourite as Ariella grows up, once she is walking then it will be a great way to tire her out. Cost wise it’s really very good, we pay a lot more for the National Trust membership in comparison.
Check it out! We will be going back soon, check back for more updates.