RHS Garden Wisley
Discover Wisley the flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural Society
RHS Garden Wisley
In 1903 Wisley was gifted to the Royal Horticultural Society and is now one of the most remarkable gardens in the world. The plant collections exceed 30,000 and are some of the largest examples on earth. Year on year visitors flock to Wisley Gardens and with 240 acres of beautiful experimental gardens to explore, they come to learn, get ideas and admire.
Wisley is of worldwide interest, and a tour here is much like trekking the planets jungles, desert regions, rainforests or temperate zones. It’s home to one of the most extensive collections of plants anywhere.
The RHS Garden Wisley is only one hours drive from London. It works well if you include; Hampton Court Palace in the morning (another fabulous garden) Or Windsor Castle, stop for lunch and Wisely in the afternoon. Our suggested Great Gardens of the South itinerary features RHS Wisley, and please take a look.
RHS flagship garden
A pace of discovery
RHS Wisley is not just a show garden. It is a place of discovery and inspiration; experts on hand to discuss your garden problems, horticultural disasters and niggles. An RHS team member can offer professional advice on-site, face-to-face, online or on the telephone. We encourage our foreign visitors to become members and enjoy the connection to one of the worlds great organisations.
The current size of the garden is 240 acres and attracts around one million visitors a year. There are 75 permanent staff members, 25 students and 100 volunteers, that make your experience top-notch.
The organisation is at the forefront of scientific research. The new centre for Horticultural Science and Learning (opened 2021) will include three cutting edge laboratories. These facilities will accommodate a team of up to 70 scientific advisors, scientists and PhD students, with the focus on resolving the planets environmental challenges.
The Society (RHS) was founded in 1804 and received the gift of Wisley from Sir Thomas Hanbury, a wealthy Quaker upon their centenary. The acquisition of land provoked the move from Chiswick, on the edge of London to Surrey. They were bringing the garden away from the pollution of London.
Features of the garden
The Canal accommodates the largest collections of waterlilies in the UK and is an impressive sight after entering. Around the canal, the area is walled gardens for tender plants. The fifteen-foot walls provide a microclimate for the permanent displays of subtropical species.
The central area with mixed borders contains intricate planting of floral displays. The 400 ft long arrangements are at their best in during July and August. The fragrance from the rose garden in the central area drifts across and draws you into their domain.
Battleston Hill is ideal for growing acid soil loving rhododendrons, camellias, magnolias and azaleas. Much of the planting dates post great storm of 1987. Winding paths navigate the hillside planting, and of course, May and June are the months to enjoy these ancient flowering plants. Acers provide vibrant autumnal colour in this area.
The Model Gardens are a fantastic idea. They are small and offer the viewer the chance to gain inspiration for their average-sized plots back home. Many of the designers have been winners at the Chelsea Flower Show.
The Glasshouse funded mostly by private donations is an award-winning design. Peter van de Toorn Vrijthoff designed the cathedral-sized structure; the curved sheets of glass and orientation enable the maximum amount of light to penetrate the building. The high-tech facility is a living and breathing building with computer-controlled vents and thermal screens. The technology helps to create three climatic zones; moist temperate, dry temperate and tropical zones. It is here that you stroll through the world of plants, from the Canary Islands to Australia and beyond. There is even a waterfall.
The root zone is a fascinating insight into the underground world of plants, its roots and the quality of the soil. There is so much more to see, such as the Rock Garden, Alpine meadow, The Wild Garden and Seven Acres with a beautiful pond. Children love to feed the carp from the edge of the water.
Touring and accommodation
We can include RHS Garden Wisley in our suggested Great Gardens of South Tour. If you prefer a day tour from London please consider combining a tour with Hampton Court Palace. We can design a day tour from London for you.
If you would like to stay overnight, we suggest Cliveden House Hotel, which is in the perfect location for access to Heathrow Airport, Windsor Castle, Hampton Court and RHS Wisley. Cliveden House Hotel is also only one hour drive to London. Great Fosters Hotel is a lovely historic gem with delightful gardens.
If this is your first time to England, we would recommend a custom version of our Town and Country Tour; it covers the famous places and allows you to utilise your private driver-guide by getting-off-the-beaten-path. Our Classic tour of Ireland is a good place to start for the first trip to Ireland, and we suggest the Classic tour of Scotland for your first trip to the bonny Highlands. There is a wide choice of accommodation in the UK; Cottages, Manor House Hotels and traditional Guest Houses.
The Flagship Garden of the RHS
One of the Great Gardens of the World
- 240 Acres of World Class Experimental Gardens
- See the Model Gardens for Inspiration
- Largest Collections of Waterlilies the UK
- VIP Tours Available
- See The Glasshouse with Climatic Zones
The Borders Bursting during July
Honey Bees at Wisley
Help us make your trip exceptional
Our UK, EU and US office-based staff will listen to what you want to see and experience.
Whether you are a honeymoon couple, a family or a corporate incentive group, our team’s collective resources will be brought together to build the experience that’s right for you.
We will require your arrival and departure dates, details of your personal preferences and places that you would like to visit as well as the events you would like to experience.
We will then prepare a draft itinerary and send it to you by email for your approval. Once agreed, we will send you a Booking Confirmation with Personalised Itinerary and Information Pack via email.