When a friend suggested we venture out on a sub zero degree January morning to Wisley Gardens, I was a little apprehensive that we would freeze. However, I had been gifted a membership for Christmas, which I was keen to get plenty of use from. Trying to live up to my belief that experiences make much better gifts than just things.It’s a great gift as gives twelve months of unlimited access for yourself and a guest, plus all under fives free. It wasn’t one of those vouchers gifts which leave the recipient empty handed on Christmas day either as it came in a sweet little tote bag with seed for gorgeous sweet peas and tomatoes, a Mary Berry cookbook, and money off vouchers, along with some lovely postcards I must frame. So I dressed intrepid bebe up in her multi layer michelin man get up, donned my own snow boots and set off.
have been to Wisley several times since we moved back, as it’s close by and offers plenty of space for little ones to run around. It is also a stunning location, peaceful, despite being easily accessible via the M25 and A3. They have varying special exhibitions through out the year such as sculptures, and festive activities. It also have a couple of excellent cafes, which was a pleasant surprise, a small soft play area, and lots for children in the school holidays in their education block.
We needn’t have worried about wrapping up, as the Wisley Glasshouse has been transformed for the Winer into a rainforest tropical paradise with more than fifty species of free-flying exotic butterflies from Central and South America and South East Asia. You really forget you are in Surrey as you negotiate around banana plants, and palm trees, whilst more than 6,000 brightly coloured magical creatures flutter around you.
Intrepid bebe loved the butterflies-we kept coming back to the glass house. We ended up spending five hours at Wilsey, which included a nap (bliss, I sat in the Oriental pergoda over looking the pond, attempting mindfulness gahh why is thinking of not much so freaking hard?!). We also had a delicious lunch (french chard and white bean stew if you’re interested), which i ate in the soft play area with her, which mean I actually ate a hot meal (still a novelty these days).
I would thoroughly recommended it as a day out, especially with children as they get so much freedom to roam. The butterflies are there until the first week of March, but there are activities throughout the year including lots of workshops which you can check out here
doesnt everyone snack on their guidebook?
a perfectly timed nap from the insomniac bebe after an energetic day
Below is details of the special activities they have on at the moment.
Special dates for your diary
14 January – 6 March
Flights of Fancy
Round off your viewing of the butterflies with our tasty teatime treats. Inspired by these winged beauties, Taste of Wisley bakers are making butterfly-decorated cookies and cupcakes.
More about eating at Wisley
11 – 19 February
February half term
Butterflies are sensible creatures and don’t come out in the rain. Join us, whatever the weather, to create butterfly-themed weather crafts. Make your own rain stick decorated with butterflies, create your own butterfly watering can, make a bubble-art butterfly or bring in your outgrown wellington boots to decorate and upcycle, by planting them up with flower seeds to attract butterflies.
Activities vary daily, all activities free with normal garden admission.
26 January and 1 & 10 February 2017
Tutored butterfly photography mornings
Discover how to capture beautiful images of our tropical butterflies with expert advice. Join Adrian Davies for this morning workshop covering techniques, equipment and image processing. You will enjoy exclusive access to the Glasshouse before it opens to the public at 10am.
8am – noon. Members £54, non-members £68 (includes tea/coffee). Book on 020 3176 5830 (from 9 November, lines open Mon – Fri, 9am – 5pm).
Untutored butterfly photography mornings
A chance to visit the Butterflies in the Glasshouse before opening hours to capture their beauty. You will have a base in the Clore Learning Centre where refreshments will be served and are free to visit and photograph the glasshouse and butterflies as you please.
8am – 10.15am. Members £23, non-members £37 (includes tea/coffee). Book on 020 3176 5830 (from 9 November, lines open Mon – Fri, 9am – 5pm)
4 and 5 February
NEW: Butterfly and moth metamorphosis in watercolour
Get up close to one of the most awe-inspiring and beautiful processes in the natural world.
Artist and conservationist Cath Hodsman will guide you through creating detailed and unique paintings with anatomical accuracy, using either a microscope or macro-photographic material.
10.30am – 4.15pm. Members £165, non-members £179. Book on 020 3176 5830.