Visiting RHS Wisley in Lockdown Times

RHS Wisley is just a 25 minute drive for us so somewhere we can visit easily. Of course, these aren’t normal times right now – they’re strange, confusing, uncertain times. We’re still in lockdown, so there are restrictions in place as the reopening begins. This is about Wisley in lockdown.

Wisley in lockdown, looking at Wisley from the hill,

Wisley in lockdown doesn’t actually feel much different to normal. You have your staggered entry time, and then you’re free to roam around the grounds as much as you want.

There are queues and markers so you know where to stand and how far two metres are, and it has been a well planned and thought out reopening. Considering we took out membership right before lockdown, I’m glad we can now visit and make the most of it.

Food-wise, we went on a sunny day so found short queues at the stand that sold sausages, bacon and falafel burgers, but long ones for ice cream. Fortunately, there is a third stand outside by the Wisley Garden Centre which sells ice cream tubs which did the trick.

Wisley in lockdown, orchids, Wisley

I did wonder how weird it might be seeing Wisley in Lockdown; Staff wear protective clothing and gloves, everything is kept clean. Queueing for things with space between yourself and the next person is all part of the norm these days.

You book your entry time online, and have an hour to turn up. We parked easily – it looked pretty full – and walked to the far left hand side to enter the grounds away from the shop. You now enter the shop via the front of Wisley, by the Garden Centre.

Once inside, there’s space and plenty of room to continue to be socially distant from the rest of the world. There are trees that can be climbed, routes that can be walked around, you can do a spot of people watching if you really fancy it, and all the flowers are in bloom.

Salvia, Wisley in lockdown

H decided that the salvia plants lining the walkway into Wisley were a bit too bright, but I quite like it – I fancy some for our front garden, but I’ve been overruled. For now….

The rose garden was also in full bloom. H insisted we buy some black roses, I pointed out the best she would get is a deep, dark red. We won that battle.

Wisley in lockdown, white roses

I’ve always wanted to have jasmine in the garden. Three houses ago they had a jasmine wall, and I’ve always longed for their smell in my garden – I used to love catching it as I walked outside. Now I have a plant and just need to get it somewhere in the garden….

In summary, Wisley in lockdown is just the same as you would expect. There’s room to keep your distance and still enjoy wandering around. Book a slot now over at RHS Wisley.

Wisley in lockdown

We’re visiting Kew next weekend for Father’s Day – thanks to Shaun having Corporate Membership with his work!

Wisley in lockdown, foxgloves

Pictures taken on my Moto G8 phone; I was testing out the Macro option to see how well it did compared to my camera.

RHS Membership

Back in March, when the Government weren’t being very clear about where everything was leading, we decided to pop out to RHS Wisley. While we were there we took out a membership – the perfect spot to go when you need a bit of social distancing as there’s plenty of space, should it happen.

We had a lovely time wandering around – it had been a few years since we had last been, and knowing we could go back whenever we wanted and it was only a short drive away was an added bonus.

We knew there would be a warm spell coming, so knew we’d make the most of the membership.


A week later we were all put into lockdown. At least, it seemed like that. So our lovely membership might not be used for some of the best months of the year, unfortunately.

Wisley, Metal Head

So we’re getting monthly gardening magazines and hoping that this will all pass soon so we can make the most of our membership at some point.

I wish the Government had been a bit clearer from the start. Grr.

I crave the clean air of Wisley more than I ever thought I could.

We’ll be back soon…


The sun finally arrived this weekend, so plans were hastily made to pay a visit to Wisley with friends. I knew it was close to us, but had no idea by quite how much.

Wisley is just a little further down the A3 from Painshill Park, close to the A3/M25 junction. To get the most out of Wisley, a RHS membership is essential. I’ve spotted a 20% cashback deal via Quidco, or if you collect Tesco Clubcard points then you only need £17 which are pretty good deals. Otherwise it’s around £45 a year for one person, you are able to take a guest for free and children under 5 go free. A RHS membership also gets you into a few other gardens around the country, though the guest rule doesn’t apply.


After spending the best part of a day at Wisley I’m pretty sure it would take a minimum of four trips to  get to know it better.

There is a lot of parking, a good thing as it was pretty busy. There are good garden shops too, something Shaun made the most of, getting a Burgon & Ball Verti-Plant which will make our back yard look lovely and is an ideal solution for us – we have no garden here, just pots and plants.


It was a glorious day – we started out with layers and ended up with just t-shirts it was so warm. For some reason I had visions of Wisley being like a large garden centre – I was wrong – it’s a huge garden with many areas and plenty to do for everyone.


There’s water, flowers, sculptures, walks, mud, hills, more hills, plenty of food areas, a great outdoor play area and so much more. Areas to sit and take it all in, and areas to wander around watching the world go by. We spent a while on top of the Fruit Mound – a hill with two spiral pathways to get up to the top (check it on Google Maps, it’s pretty cool), where there are seats and fresh air aplenty.


Then there’s the butterflies – so many of them in the hot and humid Glasshouse – we queued for around five minutes to get in though had to keep escaping outside to breathe! The butterflies were amazing, many different kinds (with a handy leaflet to help you identify them – good when you don’t retain information easily like me) – though the exhibition ‘Butterflies in the Glasshouse’ finished today.


If you like National Trust gardens then Wisley will appeal. It gave H and her friend a freedom she hasn’t had for a few weeks, where they could play together in the dens, run around the grounds, spot fish, admire the butterflies and so much more. The daffodils and snowdrops were out, and Wisley was such a lovely bright colourful wonderfully floral smelling kind of place. That and there was also a giant apple to study – part of a sculpture exhibition in the grounds running until the end of March 2014.

H was pretty tired after all the walking around, but enjoyed it. We ate in the Glasshouse Cafe and found the food to be reasonable, a decent vegetarian choice and good strong coffee. They do kids meals in a box with plenty of healthy choice on offer as well.


Linking in to Country Kids, Wisley’s site is over here. Huge thanks to Lianna for allowing me to be her guest!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall