Home Places to visit RHS gardens December and Christmas events

RHS gardens December and Christmas events

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Cornus Midwinter Fire and Betula Greywood's Ghost at RHS Harlow Carr
Cornus Midwinter Fire and Betula Greywood's Ghost at RHS Harlow Carr

Festive fun for kids and plants and food for adults

Until December 24: Festive lunches and afternoon teas, Wisley
Two-course lunch, including a glass of prosecco and tea or coffee, £25 per person. Third course £5 extra.

Until December 31: Winter Sculpture Exhibition, Rosemoor
An exciting and eclectic mix of exhibits from a diverse collection of sculptors spread throughout the garden.

The Chinese Pavilion in the snow at RHS Garden Wisley
The Chinese Pavilion in the snow at RHS Garden Wisley. Picture; RHS/James Arnold

Most of the pieces exhibited are for sale. Plus free, guided sculpture walks leave the Visitor Centre at 11.30am most Wednesday mornings.

Until 7 January (Thurs–Sat, excluding Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve); Magical Winter Garden Illuminations, Rosemoor
See the Winter Garden as you’ve never seen it before, as hi-tech colour changing lights illuminate the trees and shrubs to create an enthralling show.

1 December-2 January: Christmas Glow, Wisley
See even more gigantic illuminated ‘blooms’ as they light up the winter landscape and spark the imagination. There will be plenty of beautiful natural Christmas decorations to enjoy as you stroll the garden, too. Some of Wisley’s most magnificent trees will be lit up, including the Liquidambar on Seven Acres West Lawn, giant redwoods around the Pinetum edge and the Scots pine by the Loggia.

RHS Hyde Hall Garden, Essex. The Dry Garden in winter
RHS Hyde Hall Garden, Essex. The Dry Garden in winter. Picture; RHS/Jerry Harpur

1-2 December; 8-9 December; 15-16 December: Christmas Stories with Santa, Wisley
Join Santa for a classic Christmas tale, have a sing-along and a story with the man himself, and receive a small gift (booking essential). Sessions last about half an hour and there will be an opportunity for photos.

2 December: The Magic of Christmas, Hyde Hall
There’s a special visit from Santa Claus and his elves, a story time session before you meet Santa, and remember to bring your letter with you! To meet Santa, you will need a book a timed session, spaces are limited (strictly one child per two adults). Alternatively, just join in the Christmas crafts, these will be available all day from 10.30am-2.30pm, on a drop-in basis.

2-4 December; 9-11 December; 16-24 December: Christmas storytelling sessions with Santa, Harlow Carr
Book on to a Christmas Story with Santa. Snuggle up for a classic Christmas tale, have a sing-along and a story and receive a small gift. Sessions last approx. one hour and there will be an opportunity for photos (booking essential).
As part of the Magic of Christmas events, try decorating a Christmas cookie; making a ‘thank you Santa’ Christmas Eve kit; follow the festive Garden Detective trail and take a family photo with the polar bears and penguins.

Hyde Hall's dry garden
Verbena bonariensis in Hyde Hall’s dry garden in winter. Picture; RHS/Jerry Harpur

3 December-4 January: Christmas display in The Glasshouse, Wisley
Enter into a scene of a magical Christmas lodge and garden filled with Poinsettia and colourful seasonal plants, along with 10 Christmas trees designed by local schools. In the arid section, look for spider-form hippeastrums and candy canes with seasonal flowering plants such as Schlumbergera. The Glasshouse Gallery will feature an exhibit of the Wisley Citrus Collection.

3 & 10 December: Live music, Wisley
St Lawrence Chobham Handbell Ringers.

3-4 December; Christmas Sparkle Gift Fair, Hyde Hall
Explore an array of stalls selling inspiring gifts while sipping on mulled wine and listening to the Essex Chordsman singing Christmas carols.

3-4 December; 10-11 December; 17-18 December; 20-23 December: Decorate Gingerbread, Stories, and Songs with Santa, Wisley
Gingerbread decorating workshop followed by a Christmas story with Santa and Mrs Claus. Sessions last about one hour and there will be an opportunity for photos. Booking essential.

Wisley Glasshouse on a frosty winter's day
Wisley Glasshouse on a frosty winter’s day. Picture; RHS/Carol Sheppard

4, 11, 18 and 21 December: Christmas Lunches, Rosemoor
Delicious Christmas lunches will be served using the best local produce from noon-2pm.

6 December: Sharing the Wisley Library Treasures, Wisley
Conifers: historical introductions and use of foliage in winter displays
Drop-in and see this display from the special collections and chat to the librarians.

7 December: Little Acorns, Hyde Hall
Pre-school gardening and craft club aiming to engage children with the wonderful natural world around them. This month’s theme is Christmas Plants.

9 December: Garden Walk: Harlow Carr in Winter
Join Katherine Musgrove at this beginner-level workshop to discover the special plants that provide winter beauty, in the winter walk, woodland and ornamental borders.The walk will end with a mince pie and warm drink and a potted holly to take home.

Rosemoor in winter
Rosemoor in winter. Picture; RHS/Mark Bolton

10-11 December: Yorkshire Christmas Shopping Showcase, Harlow Carr
Visit the RHS Shop & Plant Centre for ‘try before you buy’ samples from well-known Yorkshire food and drink suppliers, with a talk on Christmas houseplants. Stock up on natural tree decorations, wreaths, mistletoe and holly, and exclusive ‘Made in Yorkshire’-branded Burgon & Ball garden tools.

10-11 December: A Christmas Carol, Rosemoor
Music, merriment, and mirth featuring Rob Pudner plus a surprise appearance by a seasonal guest. There is no extra charge for this event and timed tickets will be available on the day. Children of all ages welcome.

11 & 18 December: Live music, Wisley
Woking Salvation Army Band Performance, main entrance, 2.30pm-4pm.

Harlow Carr
Alpine house snowdrops at Harlow Carr

17 December: Live music, Wisley
Weybridge Male Voice Choir, The Glasshouse, 3.30pm-5.30pm.

17-18 December: The Magical Christmas Garden, Rosemoor
Free Plant Centre event.

20 December: Festive Flower Arrangement in a Gift Bag, Hyde Hall
Learn how to make a beautiful arrangement in a decorative gift bag. Also learn techniques to make your gift wrapping look extra special by adding flowers, foliage, and berries. All materials included in the price, booking essential and places limited.

26 December: Christmas sale starts, Rosemoor

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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