Get 25% off entry to RHS Garden Wisley when you travel by train
With one of the world’s largest plant collections, covering a vast 240 acres, RHS Garden Wisley is a fabulous day out for the family or as a solo serene escape. As the first ever Royal Horticultural Society garden, this botanical haven is filled with exotic and rare plants, towering trees and phenomenal flowers throughout the year. So, whether you’re visiting to admire glorious spring blooms, to enjoy its colourful displays in the summer holidays, or as an autumn family day out where you’ll enjoy rich reds and browns as the leaves change, this garden is certainly worth a visit.
Providing an educational excursion for people of all ages, there’s plenty to see and do, including exploring The Library in the RHS Hilltop and The Laboratory (that opens to the public for the first time in 2022), and getting involved in workshops and courses. As popular spots go, Surrey’s RHS Wisley is the second most visited paid entry garden in the UK, attracting more than 1.2 million visitors each year. Read on to discover more about the beautiful RHS Garden Wisley, including where it is, what you can get up to during your visit, where to stay and how to get there, plus if you travel by train you can get 25% off entry to RHS Wisley.
Where is RHS Wisley?
RHS Garden Wisley is located in Woking, Surrey, between the villages of Cobham and Ripley. To avoid disappointment, checking opening times before your visit is advisable.
How do I get to RHS Wisley?
Avoid the hassle of parking at this popular attraction by taking public transport to RHS Wisley instead. Plus get 25% off entry when you arrive car-free, showing a valid train or bus ticket, taxi receipt, or bike.
After arriving at Guildford station, take a direct bus to the attraction. The 715 Guildford-to-Kingston bus runs every hour from Monday to Saturday, and every 90 minutes on Sundays and public holidays.
As well as exploring its renowned range of gardens, with many more set to open over the years, there’s so much for you to discover at RHS Wisley, whether you’re visiting on a group day out or treating the family to a day trip. From wandering through the buildings and glasshouses to getting involved with activities and events, you’re sure to have a marvellous day out.
Gardens and walks
While there’s lots to explore, we’ve selected some of RHS Wisley’s key spots. Perfect for strolls, its well-laid paths will take you through some of its most special walks including The Bonsai Walk, lined with varieties of bonsai trees that are up to 80 years old. For a blissful waterside walk, you’ll love the Jellicoe Canal and Wisteria Walk – particularly in spring – that works its way around the Jellicoe Canal and RHS Wisley’s Laboratory building.
Head on to The Wellbeing Garden, designed by an award-winning RHS Chelsea designer, which ties gardening and wellness together with its carefully curated landscapes featuring water, calming foliage and seating areas to unwind at. Stop off at The Wildlife Garden next, with gloriously vibrant pollinating flower beds that are a haven for insects of all kinds.
At The Exotic Garden, you’ll find non-traditional plants and flowers that thrive in RHS Wisley such as bananas, dahlias, and palms. After lunch, walk onwards to Seven Acres where you can take in the sights of water features, towering trees, bright floral displays, and a Winter Walk. As one of RHS Wisley’s oldest features, with the site’s oldest plant (its Japanese larch), a visit to The Rock Garden is a must, with weeping-branched trees and a carefully designed layout to suit a range of plant species.
A place to truly relax, The Walled Gardens showcase the variety of ways to display and shape foliage plants. Then make your way to the stunning Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden with a spectacular assortment of rose species and other supporting flora. Budding gardeners or those with allotments will love The World Food Garden, with 50 different varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs that’ll inspire you to level-up your landscaping. Later, meander through The Pinetum, where you’ll find RHS Wisley’s oldest tree collection.
Buildings, Centres and Houses
In between revelling in the magic of the gardens, there’s plenty to learn and enjoy indoors, too. Kids and adults alike will thoroughly enjoy a visit to RHS Hilltop, which is set to open in June 2021. A significant addition to the garden, it will form the UK’s first dedicated horticultural scientific centre of excellence, with a focus of protecting plants and the planet by creating a greener future. The space will allow you to see the work that the garden’s experts are putting in behind-the-scenes to keep the garden thriving.
The Glasshouse was built to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the RHS and is a staggering 12m high and covers the area equal to the size of 10 tennis courts. Explore the three climatic zones of Wisley's world-class collection of glasshouse plants from around the world; moist temperate, dry temperature and tropical. A visit to the cathedral-like Glasshouse is a must all year round, so make sure you plan enough time on your visit.
Also not to be missed is The Laboratory – a historical and iconic landmark in the heart of the garden which has been used for the training of horticulture students and apprentices for decades. It’s currently undergoing an exciting transformation, and in 2022 parts of the ground floor will be opened up to the public for the first time in 100 years.
Before heading off, you’ll no doubt be filled with inspiration, and your green fingers will be tingling and ready to give your garden an overhaul. Venture into the Wisley Garden Centre and stock up on the incredible plants, flowers and shrubbery grown in its nurseries. Spruce up your home and garden with the decorative pieces on offer too, such as sculptures, garden furniture, pots and more.
Events and activities
From incredible flower shows and garden design tours to blissful mindfulness walks and monthly garden showcases, there are events and activities to partake in all year round.
Be sure to check out what’s on at RHS Wisley throughout the year. In spring, don’t miss the Cherry Blossom Celebrations, with a spectrum of pink-hued blossoms filling the gardens. One of the biggest events of the year is, of course, the annual RHS Garden Wisley Flower Show, which is held in September and showcases breathtaking displays. At Christmas, the unmissable Glow at Wisley will leave visitors in awe, featuring light illuminations, a mystical trail and more.
Throughout the year, kids and families are in for a treat with the Back to Nature Garden where there’s play areas, tree houses and so much more. On selected dates, visitors can also delight in Walkies at Wisley, where dog owners can bring their four-legged friends for a fun stroll through the gardens. There are also slots for free school visits where students can get stuck into hands-on workshops.
Food and drink
RHS Wisley makes for a rather active day out, and you’re sure to build up quite the appetite. Fortunately, there are a variety of eateries and cafés to refuel at throughout the day. If you’re visiting for a special occasion such as a birthday celebration, enjoy a sit-down meal or indulgent afternoon tea at the Terrace Restaurant. Alternatively, grab an al fresco bite to eat from the Food Hall, tuck into the Glasshouse Café’s freshly baked pizzas and other scrumptious snacks, or treat yourself to a tasty snack in the Wisley Café. For nibbles on-the-go, try offerings from The Honest Sausage Van or Stone Pine Café.
Places to stay near Wisley and Guildford
With an array of places to stay for every budget, why not turn your day out into a weekend getaway in Surrey. There’s plenty to do in neighbouring Guildford, which we’ve rounded up for inspiration. Near to RHS Wisley, you’ll find luxury options including The Hand & Spear Hotel, Oatlands Park Hotel and Brooklands Hotel & Spa. Or for budget-friendly stays, try Best Western Ship Hotel, Surrey Homestay, Warren Lodge or The Bridge Hotel. For laidback bed and breakfast options, book a night at Birchwood House or Broadway Barn.
RHS Wisley accessibility
There are many wheelchair-accessible routes at RHS Wisley, but some areas of the garden and the Wisley Garden Centre are inaccessible due to their layout. You can also hire wheelchairs and mobility scooters at the gardens, but it’s advisable to get in touch ahead of your trip to reserve one and have any questions answered.