RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey
At RHS Garden Wisley, lose yourself in water features, green spaces, sculptures and bursts of blooming flowers. Discover the ‘Taste of Wisley’ by stopping off at one of the many eateries en route.
For a foodie and floral day out in Surrey, visit the RHS Garden Wisley
If you think that the RHS Garden Wisley is purely the domain of dedicated gardeners (especially those of the silver-haired, pink cashmere and pearls variety), you’d be wrong. Foodie Travellers can enjoy a truly delicious day out here and experience the many temptations of this wonderful green space.The Foodie Travel Guide
- Wander around the garden
- Enjoy a delicious Afternoon Tea
- Lunch on the terrace
- Warm up in the hot house
- Shop in the Garden Centre
From Virgin Experience Days
Go for a Stroll Around the Garden
Easily accessible from London and close to the M25, RHS Garden Wisley is the flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural society (it has 4 in total). It offers visitors a tranquil place to connect with nature and a patchwork of garden ‘rooms’ to explore including amongst others – a walled garden, an alpine meadow, a rose garden, an arboretum, a magnificent glasshouse and of course, its glorious mixed borders.
Try a Taste of Wisley
Walking around the garden will make you hungry so there’s something for everyone depending upon your mood. ‘A Taste of Wisley’ ensures that seasonal produce from the garden is always on the menu. If you’ve arrived with a Sunday morning hangover, head straight for The Honest Sausage for hot bacon and sausage baps served with an (optional) beer or a strong coffee. Celebrating a special occasion? Book a table at the formal restaurant with its botanical prints where you’ll find a bottle of Chapel Down Nectar on the wine list.
The contemporary Food Hall with its gleaming stainless steel interior, smartly dressed staff and inspiring displays offers an array of mouth-watering soups, stews and rustic sandwiches. When it’s a sunny day, sit outside on the wonderful terrace and pretend you’re in the South of France. There’s also a coffee shop, a café next to the glasshouse and on summer weekends, a Garden Grill serving juicy burgers.
Smell the Herbs
Expand your knowledge of culinary aromatics in the herb garden where visitors are encouraged to ‘gently brush the foliage to release its fragrance’. You’ll discover tips on how to use the herbs in cooking and be surprised at the different varieties available. There are more than 15 varieties of peppermint growing including the distinctive chocolate peppermint (think After Eights), alongside varieties such as Eau de Cologne mint, grapefruit mint and lavender mint. There’s also an entire glasshouse dedicated to growing chillies. You can stock up in the excellent plant shop before you leave.
Wander the Vines
Wander through the vine collection where different grape varieties are grown side by side. (If you’re an RHS member you can get advice online on how to look after your own). There’s also a small vineyard that produces a dry white wine. Purchase a bottle in the gift shop on your way out.
See the Orchard’s Bounty
Wisley has over 670 different cultivars of apple. Come in the autumn to see the orchard’s bounty in its full glory and inhale the wonderful scent of ripe apples and pears just screaming to be made into crumbles, pies and tarte tatin. In the Forage Garden, bring out your inner forager and discover more unusual trees such as the strawberry tree alongside sloes, elderberries, fungi and wild raspberries. There’s also a traditional vegetable garden.
Take Afternoon Tea
English gardens and Afternoon Tea are like two peas in a pod and it’s one of the highlights of a visit to Wisley. Visit the magnificent glasshouse and treat yourself to a delicious cream tea served with Tiptree strawberry jam at the adjacent café. Don’t leave without tasting the English breakfast tea. It comes from the Tregothan Estate in Cornwall, one of only two tea plantations in the country (yes, really). If you’d like to treat your granny or mother to a traditional Afternoon Tea with fancy cakes and a glass of something sparkling, book into the formal restaurant where it’s served daily from 3pm.
Have Some Flour Power
Before you leave, pop into the Food Hall to buy a loaf of Wisley bread, it’s freshly baked every day, a delicious reminder of your visit.
- Take advantage of the special offer to buy RHS membership before you visit. You can then take a guest in for free and have unlimited access to RHS gardens and their partner gardens throughout the country (selected times) such as the Chelsea Physic Garden. You will also get free on tap gardening advice and a monthly magazine.
- Watch out for special events throughout the year such as the Taste of Autumn Festival with food stalls, family activities, advice on cider-making and a plentiful supply of delicious Wisley apples
- You can visit the Garden Centre, Coffee Shop and the Gift Shop without having to pay the entrance fee.
Did you know there’s a ‘poached egg’ flower? It’s called Limnanthes douglasii.
WHERE TO STAY
Foxhills Hotel & Luxury Health Spa in Ottershaw – Sporty types will enjoy the golf course and spa facilities at this 19th century mansion hotel set on a 400-acre estate.
The Merry Harriers in Godalming – a 16th century pub located in the beautiful Surrey Hills with 3 B&B rooms.
The Swan Inn in Chiddingfold – a small hotel in a village setting with a lovely terraced garden and a 2 AA Rosette restaurant.
Denbies Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast – stay on the vineyard in this 7-bedroomed homely B&B and enjoy views of the surrounding vines.
The Guildford Harbour Hotel – stay in the centre of Guildford at this new contemporary hotel with spa facilities. It’s the latest hotel from the Harbour Hotel Group.
Unfortunately, it’s not a doggy day out for me as they tell me it’s Guide Dogs only at Wisley.