Why RHS Wisley Hall Garden is the perfect post-lockdown trip

RHS Hilltop – The Home of Gardening Science and Wellbeing Garden at RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, England.

RHS Hilltop – The Home of Gardening Science and the Wellbeing Garden during final planting at RHS Garden Wisley. - Credit: RHS / Joanna Kossak

Now, more than ever, do we have a profound appreciation for the great outdoors. With spring in the air and summer around the corner, it’s time to begin planning those long overdue post-lockdown trips with family and friends. 

We speak to garden curator Matthew Pottage of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Wisley Garden in Woking, Surrey, about this year’s spring highlights and why the garden makes a perfect family day out. 


Q: What’s looking good at RHS Garden Wisley right now? 

The Bowes Lyon Rose Garden is home to over 100,000 camassia, creating vast swathes of blue flowering meadows. Beyond these, you can find an allium meadow and a new planting of white camassia adorning the lane from the Glasshouse Landscape all the way to RHS Hilltop. 

At Battleston Hill, you’ll find rhododendrons and azaleas covering the garden with pockets of bright colour. Large plantings of peonies and alliums add bursts of purple and pink hues amongst the green foliage at Seven Acres. 

The heather at Pinetum forms patchwork carpets of colours and textures, bringing an essence of beauty to its tranquil landscape. With over 1,000 varieties, heather is the epitome of springtime cheer, planted in ribbons of vivid colour to mimic the Surrey heathland. 

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From May 17, 2021, Wisley’s must-see bicentennial Glasshouse and alpine houses will reopen to showcase their special and unusual plant collections. 

Flowers blooming at RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, England.

Flowers blooming at RHS Garden Wisley. - Credit: RHS

Q: What makes Wisley Garden so special? 

Environmental and scientific research is the beating heart of Wisley and all that we strive to achieve here – we're exceptionally proud of the work we do. Wisley conducts valuable research into the challenges posed within horticultural science including climate change and plant disease. We are opening RHS Hilltop, The Home of Gardening Science at Wisley on June 24, 2021 – the UK’s first horticultural scientific centre of excellence. 

The centre will provide a space to view previously unseen work and watch experiments taking place. Understanding the science behind our gardens allows us to prepare and adapt to changing environmental conditions such as pollution, extreme weather, pests and diseases that pose a threat to, and challenge the growth of our plants and flowers. 

Built with environmentally friendly techniques, Hilltop will be installed using renewable energy sources. The centre will consist of three gardens designed by RHS Chelsea medal winners: The Wellbeing Garden, World Food Garden and Wildlife Garden. The gardens will incorporate Hilltop’s latest research to inspire its visitors to absorb and integrate into gardens at home, school and their communities.

Stunning landscape in the meadow at RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, England.

Stunning landscape in the meadow at RHS Garden Wisley. - Credit: RHS

Q: What should you know before visiting? 

The gardens open from 9:30am-6pm (9am-6pm on Saturday and Sunday) via pre-booking only, requiring booking confirmation upon arrival. We ask all guests to wear face coverings inside buildings and enclosed spaces, and remain socially distanced from other visitors once within the gardens. 

Refreshments are available for takeaway and outdoor dining only. The Terrace Restaurant is available for outdoor lunch and afternoon tea and will provide an indoor offer from May 17, 2021. Wisley offers a variety of cafés, and if you’re looking for a quick bite, The Honest Sausage Van and The Welcome Terrace Van are also open. The Garden centre remains open daily with no requirement to pre-book.  

Q: What are the benefits of an RHS membership? 

The RHS membership offers a bounty of opportunities for its members throughout the year, including unlimited visits to RHS gardens with another guest or two children. You get 25 per cent off for the first year with direct debit. 

Unlimited online gardening advice will be made available to you, including a monthly subscription to The Garden magazine. You can also sign up to My Garden, our online RHS gardening coach, aimed at inspiring you to grow your garden at home. The membership supports our charitable work, instilling an enthusiasm for gardening into the next generation and continuing to inspire resolutions for environmental issues. 


Visit www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley  for more information. Alternatively, contact wisley@rhs.org.uk or 01483 224234.