RHS gardens plus Exbury in Hampshire are first to welcome back visitors

As Coronavirus lockdown eases, several of the nation’s most popular public gardens are reopening .

Saturday, May 30 sees Exbury Gardens in the New Forest unlocking its gates, after staff worked hard to put special protective measures in place.

And next Monday, June 1, the RHS is also throwing wide the gates of its gardens at Wisley in Surrey, Rosemoor in Devon, Hyde Hall in Essex and Harlow Carr in North Yorkshire.

Exbury head gardener Tom Clarke gets everything ready for the visitors’ return

With 200 acres of stunning woodland landscape to explore and even some of its world-renowned rhododendrons still in bloom, Exbury in Hampshire will be welcoming visitors back just as its summer flower-power season kicks off.

Special measures will be in place to keep visitors safe including online ticket booking only, a daily visitor limit of 500 people, and time slots for entering the gardens, so arrivals can be staggered.

The Centenary Garden at Exbury Garden in the New Forest

Lionel de Rothschild, chairman of Exbury Gardens Trust, said: “We have 200 acres of space at Exbury filled with the most beautiful plants and trees that look absolutely spectacular at the start of the summer, and we’re so looking forward to sharing it with our visitors again.


“There’s lots of room to roam and experience nature at its best, and we’re putting special protective measures in place to keep everyone safe.”

For full details, visit exbury.co.uk

RHS Wisley and the gardens at Rosemoor, Hyde Hall and Harlow Carr are reopening after lockdown on June 1

As of Monday, June 1 the RHS is reopening its gardens to the public under a strict pre-booking system that will include a series of safety measures including:

  • Strictly limited numbers of pre-booked tickets available for each day;
  • Restrictions on the number of customers allowed to shop at any one time, and a maximum of two people per household allowed into the garden centre together;
  • Separate entry and exit points to the gardens and garden centres where possible
  • Floor markings to indicate appropriate distances while queuing in the garden centres and garden entrances;
  • Screens at the welcome desks and checkouts to protect staff;
  • Hand sanitiser available to staff and visitors at strategic points;
  • Card transactions only – no cash payments.

RHS director general Sue Biggs said: “We look forward to welcoming our members and visitors safely back from June 1 and to bringing the joy of plants, flowers, trees and nature back into people’s lives, which for so many will be a much needed tonic.

RHS, nurseries, growers, plants

RHS chief executive Sue Biggs: ‘WE look forward to welcoming back our members and visitors’

“We will of course be operating at a limited capacity and will have measures in place to ensure that all safety guidelines are followed because our number one priority is to support the Government’s efforts to limit the spread of the virus.

“We are concerned that people will not pre-book tickets so a plea from me to anyone planning to visit an RHS Garden is that it is imperative you book a timed slot in advance on the RHS website. Sadly, we will be turning away anyone who hasn’t pre-booked.”

RHS Gardens will open from 10am to 4pm daily (Garden Centres 10am to 5pm daily). Areas within the gardens where it would be difficult to maintain social distancing, such as glasshouses, alpine houses, bird hides and play areas, will remain closed.

Booking will open at 10am on Friday, May 29. For more information and to book a visit: rhs.org.uk/gardens


We are here for you

Although lockdown is easing, many people are still confined to their homes or concerned about going out because they are vulnerable to catching C19.

Here at AG we appreciate that and are doing our best to keep connected with our readers though the magazine, this website and also through social media.

Our gardening ‘agony uncle’ John Negus is also still working hard. Send him your problems and questions, with pictures if you can, and he will get back to you with an answer withing 24 hours, as he has been doing for decades. Contact him using the AG email address at: amateurgardening@ti-media.com


We already have thriving Facebook page but are also on Twitter and Instagram. These sites are a brilliant way of chatting to people, sharing news, information, pictures and just saying hello – we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Best of all, as gardeners are generally lovely folk, more interested in plants, hedgehogs, tea and cake than political shenanigans and point-scoring, so the chat is friendly and welcoming.

You can find us at:

Facebook: Facebook.com/AmateurGardeningMagazine

Twitter: Twitter.com/TheAGTeam

Instagram: instagram.com/amgardening_mag

So please drop by, follow us, ‘like’ our posts and say hello – we will reply as soon as we can. Happy gardening!