Go and visit a garden for more ideas. Most schools now have gardens which will have been designed specifically for children and, sometimes, by children. If you have the opportunity, ask to be shown around your local one.
The National Gardens Scheme
From spring to late summer the National Gardens Scheme opens over 3,500 public and private gardens in England and Wales for charity. Once on the website visit ‘Gardenfinder’ to find one that is open near you. If you type in ‘child friendly’ as a keyword into their advanced search function it will highlight gardens to visit with your children in your area.
The National Trust
The National Trust looks after the largest and most important collection of historic gardens and cultivated plants in the world. More than 200 National Trust gardens are open to the public throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Most gardens have children’s guidebooks, family guides or children’s trails available. Or you can join the Trust’s scheme 50 things to do before you are 11 3/4 www.50things.org.uk/
Children under 5 are free. Free to members of the National Trust and the National Trust for Scotland
The National Trust for Scotland
Scotland’s largest conservation charity with over 35 gardens and many other outdoor locations www.nts.org.uk .
Children under 5 are free. Free to members of the National Trust for Scotland and the National Trust.
All of the following Gardens in London and the South East will give you ideas for your own garden and a good time out with the kids. Unless stated all are suitable for buggy and wheelchair access to their main features. For gardens in the North West of England please see the kidsguide website This website is growing. Gardens, especially in other parts of the country will be added.
Please return at a later date.
Capel Manor Gardens
Bullsmoor Lane Enfield Middx EN1 4RQ Capel Gardens 30 acres of gardens including a number of specimen gardens. One of the best places to visit to get ideas for your own garden.
Free entry to children under 5 and subscribers to Gardening Which
Centre for Wildlife Gardening Peckham
28 Marsden Road, London, SE15 4EE http://www.wildlondon.org.uk/Naturereserves/ Demonstration wildlife garden with a range of inspiring mini habitats, an award-winning visitors’ centre demonstrating innovative environmental building techniques.
Royal Botanical Gardens Kew
Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB www.kew.org Over 300 acres of gardens. Climbers and Creepers is an indoor and outdoor play area for children with a focus on plants and children’s activities in the school holidays.
Free entry to children under 17 and members of Kew
Large outdoor site with native planting, a few sustainable gardens, wildlife area, ponds, willow structures and outdoor soft play area with wetland theme. Children’s activities.
Free entry to children under 4 and members of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
Corner of Larkhill Lane and Studley Rd Stockwell London SW9 A wildlife garden just for children., Gardening and environmental activities for children aged 5 -15. One session on Friday morning for children under 5
Walnut Tree Walk London SE 11 6DN ½ acre wildlife garden. Restricted entry times – check the website.
Thames Barrier Park North Woolwich (Silvertown)
North Woolwich Road London E16 2HP http://www.thamesbarrierpark.org.uk/ 22 acres of lawns, trees and uniquely contoured Yew and Maygreen hedges. An excellent children’s play area Free entry
http://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/kensington_gardens/diana_playground.cfm 275 acres of park with formal avenues of magnificent trees and ornamental flower beds. In the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground there is a sensory trail, teepees, a beach around a pirate ship and various toys and play sculptures Free entry
Groombridge Tunbridge Wells Kent TW3 9QG Extensive formal gardens and an enchanted forest including a spiral garden and many other features designed to amuse, entertain and intrique children.
Free entry to children under 3
North Street Horsham http://www.horsham.gov.uk/leisure_and_tourism/leisure_2557.asp Lake, trees, maze and an extensive landscaped play area. Park House Garden within the Park is a formal sensory garden.
Woking, Surrey GU23 6QB http://www.rhs.org.uk/whatson/gardens/wisley/index.asp 240 acres of garden. A number of model gardens to give you ideas. Childrens’ activities for school holidays the holidays and children’s trail
Free entry to children under 6 and members of the RHS and one guest.
Membership gives you free entry to all 4 RHS gardens with a family guest gardens as often as you wish, free entry to a number of other gardens, and the Garden monthly magazine.
Staunton Country Park
Middle Park Way Havant Hants PO9 5HB http://www3.hants.gov.uk/hampshire-countryside/staunton.htm
1,000 acres of landscaped parkland. Walled garden, sensory garden and maze. There is also a farm and kids play area.
Free Entry to the parkland
Jermyns Lane, Ampfield, Romsey, Hampshire SO51 0QA http://www.hilliergardens.org.uk/ 180 acres of garden. For ideas of all around colour in your garden see the largest winter garden in Europe. The children’s education garden was designed, built and maintained by children. For family activities see the What’s On section on their website and look at Families in the Garden Section. Also organised and charged for sessions for the under 7s.
Free entry to children under 16
Just off the A9 at Blair Atholl Perthshire http://www.blair-castle.co.uk 2,500 acres of garden and a 9 acre walled garden. The castle hosts weekly family friendly days with free activities for all the family including tractor and trailer rides, storytelling, children’s tours of the castle and nature-themed treasure hunt in the castle grounds.
Free entry to children under 5.
Scone Palace Gardens
Inveresk, East Lothian http://www.scone-palace.co.uk/ Over 100 acres of gardens and a Victorian Pinetum. There is an adventure playground for the kids. Its highlight for the children is the unique Murray Star Maze, designed by the world renowned Maze designer Adrian Fisher. Designed in the shape of the five pointed star that features in the Murray family crest, the maze comprises 2000 beech trees, half copper and half green, planted in a way to create a unique tartan effect.