The Garden Landscape Guide

RHS Garden, Wisley

A garden at Wisley was established by G F Wilson, a chemist and horticulturist, and was bought along with other land by Sir Thomas Hanbury and gifted to the Royal Horticultural Society on its centenary (1903). It has been developed and added to over the years with the whole area covering some 240 acres with 135 acres open to the public. Lanning Roper designed a planting scheme for the new walled garden designed by Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe in 1969 according to The Lanning Roper Papers which can be found at RHS Lindley Library. The second century of the Society has seen the Garden develop and grow into a world class garden.

Head Gardener's Comment

Situated near Pyrford just off the A3, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Garden Wisley was crowned Large Visitor Attraction of the Year 2010. Wisley is the historical home of the RHS and is undoubtedly one of the great gardens of the world – at over 200 acres in size and with over a million visitors to the garden each year, Wisley is a wonderful day-out. With sights to see including the stunning Glasshouse (housing over 5,000 different varieties of tropical plant), Battleston Hill, the Fruit Orchard and dramatic Rock Garden, Wisley is the perfect place to relax or enjoy a stroll with the family. The garden aims to develop growing skills in the beginner, amateur and professional gardener, and a wide variety of inspirational events for people of all ages take place throughout the year, including family activities during school holidays, Craft and Design Fairs, the Wisley Flower Show and A Taste of Autumn.


The Royal Horticultural Society was given Wisley in 1903, although at that time only a small part of the 60-acre estate was actually cultivated as a garden, the remainder being wooded farmland. Today the garden covers over 200 acres and offers a fascinating blend of the beautiful with practical and innovative design and cultivation techniques. For many, it is the beauty and tranquility of the garden that captures the imagination, with its richly planted borders, luscious rose gardens and the exotica of the glasshouses. Wisley is also a leading experimental garden however where many cultivation techniques are tried and tested.

Wisley, nr Woking, Surrey, England, GU23 6QB

All year. Daily except Christmas. See RHS Garden Wisley website for opening times.

Adults 10.75; Children 5-16yrs 4.60; Family (2 adults + 2 children) 27.60; Groups of 10 or more booked and paid for 14 days in advance 9.75. (with Gift Aid: 11.85; 5.10; 30.40)

Visit the RHS Garden, Wisley website

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Designers and Influences


  • almost 3 years by P Harding 5 / 5

    My wife and I visited rhs gardens on 13 7 2012. We were both amazed at the excellent layout and upkeep of the whole gardens and buildings. The staff were very pleasant and helpful, the cafes and restaurants are also very good and your afternoon tea and and scones were out of this world. In my opinion it was one of the best days out I've had for years. I will be telling my friends about our visit. I rate this 10
  • about 3 years by edward rademeyer 5 / 5

    We have been members for almost a year now and visit the gardens more than once a month. The kids love it and there is always something new and exciting on.
  • almost 6 years by Rob Wilson 5 / 5

    Haven't been for a while, so yesterday (23/8/10)it was a real delight to find the Gardens much improved yet again. The grass as you come round the house was a stunning frame for the pond and beds. If you have never been to Wisley make it a day out and enjoy,not only the wonderful garden,but the excellent food and of course the superb glass-house.
  • about 6 years by Marcile Fowler 5 / 5

    I loved this garden...much more than Kew gardens. Lots of diversity. I liked the trials fields where there were row upon row of every possible variety and color of some of my favorite flowers such as sweet peas and delphinium.
  • over 6 years by Anonymous 5 / 5

    it has to be 5 stars an excellent set of gardens and very educational as you'd expect. It almost makes you forgive the mess of a carpark and entrance planting as you enter! but thats its only draw back. There is alot to see for those of us interested in plants and walking although they do need to save the Pinetum from neglect. Its best to go off peak to avoid the hoards of kids towed behind their mums who seem to have little interest in plants and abuse it like a inner city park, but such is the way of ignorant modern society. Well done RHS gardeners keep up the good work.
  • over 7 years by Selina Botham 4 / 5

    In recent years Wisley has become an inspiring garden to visit. Even the bedding as you enter was different this summer. It had been formed rather like a sculpture and made from mounds of red bedding shaped as a dragon. How interesting to see new ideas.

    The planting around the new glasshouse is fabulous and Tom Stewart Smith has designed a master piece. I love the curves of the beds as they encircle the lake and accentuate the topography of the site. The grasses and soft planting contrasts well with the clipped hornbeam which has been used in the straighter more formal areas.

    The Education centre and garden is also very innovative and the teaching staff are happy to try out new things. This summer they have been featuring interactive sound sculptures which local Sculptor Claire Knights made for my Gold medal winning RHS Hampton Court Garden. The small show garden was all about appreciating sound in the garden and the team at RHS wanted to be able to encourage the children to listen to the sounds around them. We are hoping that for half term the percussion screens used in the show garden will also be installed for use during the 'Family Days'. Please see my webb site to see my award winning garden and see my particular style of garden design.

    Witton Street is an opportunity to see some small show gardens which are permanent exhibits and hopefully there will be more of these or they will change every couple of years. I long to see the small gardens get a makeover and a breath of fresh thinking - I expect this will be next. It feels to me that this is a garden to watch and keep returning to.
  • over 8 years by Adam Hodge 5 / 5

    It's impossible to over visit this garden ! Rather like the Hilliers gardens and Arboretum it is a plant-lovers heaven. Pleasantly laid out, with an interesting range of garden design styles and an enormous selection of fascinating plants with lots to admire in flower whatever the time of year. Now that the new glasshouse is built and the plantings are flourishing one can enjoy a day in the tropics as well! It has a good range of exotic flowering plants to always be interesting.

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RHS Garden Wisley, August Photograph ©
Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley Photograph ©
Glasshouse Lake and Borders, RHS Garden Wisley Photograph © RHS Garden Wisley/Allan Pollock-Morris
Carpet Bedding Photograph © Marcile Fowler
Delphiniums, Wisley Photograph © Marcile Fowler
Japanese Garden, Wisley Photograph © Marcile Fowler
RHS Garden Wisley, Woking Photograph © Marcile Fowler