Set hearts aflutter this winter with exotic butterflies among plants from far-off shores in the paradise of the Glasshouse. Be amazed by the many colours and sizes of butterflies in our ‘jungle’ and learn all about them with our interactive displays.
The tree ferns, tall palms, lush-leaved creepers and dazzling flowers of the Tropical Zone provide a dramatic backdrop to the butterflies. Spot striking blue morpho, giant owl, king swallowtail and Malay lacewing among the nectar-rich flowers and fruit. You’ll see butterflies feeding at special feeding stations, learn about their lifecycle in the Butterfly Box and watch wings unfurling in the puparium.
Find more butterfly displays
Follow the Winter Walk through the garden and find a display of butterfly and caterpillar sculptures by Shere-based artist Alison Catchlove. Her work has been inspired by previous visits to Butterflies in the Glasshouse. Plus, let your children get creative and enter the competition to win their butterfly design made especially for the event by Alison (details below).
Special dates for your diary
Butterflies in the Glasshouse opening weekend:
16 & 17 January
To celebrate the arrival of the butterflies, we’re putting on a special weekend of activities for our younger visitors. There will be face painting each day of the weekend (small charge applies), and free willow weaving workshops to create huge butterfly sculptures (10.30am – 12.30pm and 1pm – 3.30pm) that we’d like everyone’s help with.
February half term Secret lives of insects:
13 – 21 February
Bring your family to RHS Garden Wisley, and discover the hidden world of the butterfly while you explore their secret lives. Learn how butterflies move, see and feed through craft and hands-on gardening. There's a free family activity every day, and there are more details coming soon.
Flights of Fancy teatime treats: 16 January – 6 March
Round off your viewing of the butterflies with tasty butterfly-decorated cookies and cupcakes created by the Taste of Wisley bakers.
Remember to plan an afternoon tea in the Restaurant. During January and March afternoon tea is £17.50 per person, or from Monday to Saturday during February you can enjoy afternoon tea for £12 per person.
Book your table online or call 01483 225329.
Tutored butterfly photography mornings:
28 January and 5 & 12 February
Discover how to elevate your photography skills with expert photographer Adrian Davies, who will cover techniques, equipment and image processing. 8am – 12 noon.
Members £53, non-members £66. Book on 020 31765830.
Untutored butterfly photography morning: 2 March
Arrive early to capture the beauty of the butterflies before the garden opens. 8am – 10.15am.
Members £22, non-members £35. Book on 020 31765830.
NEW Butterfly art with Cath Hodson: 4 and 10 February
You haven’t experienced the full extent of a butterfly’s beauty until you have viewed it under a microscope. This two-day course helps you see butterflies as you have never seen them before, as you learn how to draw and paint them with anatomical accuracy under the expert tuition of artist and conservationist Cath Hodsman. 10.30am – 4.15pm.
Members £162, non-members £175. Book on 020 31765830.
Butterflies in the Glasshouse RHS Members prize draw
Enter our RHS Members prize draw for the chance to win an exclusive tour of Butterflies in the Glasshouse on 21 January (8.30am – 10am), followed by breakfast. You’ll see the release of butterflies into the Glasshouse and enjoy an informal talk about them. There are 25 pairs of tickets for RHS members to win. Entries close 22 December 2015; winners drawn 23 December. Entries open soon - more details to follow.
'Design a butterfly' competition for children
Get creative with the kids and design an insect inspired metal sculpture for Alison Catchlove to create. The winning design will be recreated as a 30cm x 30cm metal sculpture by Alison in her workshop, and will be displayed in the garden during the Butterflies in the Glasshouse event. A selection of the designs submitted will also be on display.
At the end of Butterflies in the Glasshouse, the winner with be able to take home their specially created butterfly sculpture.
Closing date: 16 December. Winner will be announced on 11 January.
By email: Please send designs to: firstname.lastname@example.org
By post: Wisley Events Team, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, GU23 6QB
Plan your visit
Normal garden admission applies (RHS members free)
Beat the queues and pre-book a time slot on any day
Buy garden entry tickets