Step into the Wisley Glasshouse this winter as it transforms into a tropical paradise with more than 6,000 free-flying exotic butterflies.
Escape into the warmth to see these colourful beauties gliding around the cathedral-like space - including 15 species never before seen at Wisley.
The butterflies feel right at home in our rainforest-like Tropical Zone, filled with huge leaves and flowers including banana plants, floating wetland plants, bromeliads and palm trees.
Follow the sculpture trail
Follow the sculpture trail through the garden, featuring sculptures created by artist Alison Catchlove. You can see Alison demonstrating her sculpting skills in the Glasshouse Gallery every Friday – Sunday during the event (excluding Friday 17 February).
February half term fun
February half term, 11 – 19 February, will be packed with free family events on the theme of Whatever the Weather for Butterflies.
More about February half term activities
New butterflies to look for
There are more than 15 new species to see this year. How many can you find? New species include:
- Blue Wave (Central America): sapphire blue iridescent wings, delicately patterned with white.
- Giant Swallowtail (North America): at first looks similar to its cousin the UK Swallowtail, but with a much larger wingspan of up to 18cm!
- Tiger Leafwing: a master of camouflage. The tiger-like orange upper wings completely disappear when the wings close, looking remarkably like a dead leaf.
Butterfly Drawing Competition
Open to ages from 1–8 with every Eats for Kids purchase - drop off your drawing and entry form in the Glasshouse Café or Food Hall designated drop off box or post to:
Taste of Wisley,
RHS Garden Wisley,
We will draw a weekly winner to receive a £5 ‘pocket money’ voucher for use in the RHS Wisley gift shop or plant centre and winners will be contacted by email.
Each age group will be judged separately - the judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. We will be exhibiting a range of entrants from all ages in our Glasshouse Café Marquee (please note: given space restrictions we can’t show all entrants drawings).
'Having butterflies in the Glasshouse is the perfect antidote for the mid-winter blues and provides a welcome escape to tropical climes' - Christopher J. Young, Glasshouse Team Leader
Special dates for your diary
14 January – 6 March
Flights of Fancy
Round off your viewing of the butterflies with our tasty teatime treats. Inspired by these winged beauties, Taste of Wisley bakers are making butterfly-decorated cookies and cupcakes.
More about eating at Wisley
11 – 19 February
February half term
Butterflies are sensible creatures and don’t come out in the rain. Join us, whatever the weather, to create butterfly-themed weather crafts. Make your own rain stick decorated with butterflies, create your own butterfly watering can, make a bubble-art butterfly or bring in your outgrown wellington boots to decorate and upcycle, by planting them up with flower seeds to attract butterflies.
Activities vary daily, all activities free with normal garden admission.
26 January and 1 & 10 February 2017
Tutored butterfly photography mornings
Discover how to capture beautiful images of our tropical butterflies with expert advice. Join Adrian Davies for this morning workshop covering techniques, equipment and image processing. You will enjoy exclusive access to the Glasshouse before it opens to the public at 10am.
8am – noon. Members £54, non-members £68 (includes tea/coffee). Book on 020 3176 5830 (from 9 November, lines open Mon - Fri, 9am - 5pm).
Untutored butterfly photography mornings
A chance to visit the Butterflies in the Glasshouse before opening hours to capture their beauty. You will have a base in the Clore Learning Centre where refreshments will be served and are free to visit and photograph the glasshouse and butterflies as you please.
8am – 10.15am. Members £23, non-members £37 (includes tea/coffee). Book on 020 3176 5830 (from 9 November, lines open Mon - Fri, 9am - 5pm)
4 and 5 February
NEW: Butterfly and moth metamorphosis in watercolour
Get up close to one of the most awe-inspiring and beautiful processes in the natural world.
Artist and conservationist Cath Hodsman will guide you through creating detailed and unique paintings with anatomical accuracy, using either a microscope or macro-photographic material.
10.30am – 4.15pm. Members £165, non-members £179. Book on 020 3176 5830.
Plan your visit
- Butterflies in the Glasshouse is free with normal garden entry
- RHS members and a family guest go free
- During February half term ( 11 - 19 February), the garden will open at 9am daily
Buy garden tickets & save 10%