The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has introduced a new scheme that will enable thousands of families and individuals from low income households, and who are less likely to have access to a garden at home, to benefit from visiting an RHS Garden.
Starting on 1 April 2023, the brand new Access for All scheme will afford visitors in receipt of Universal or Pension Credit the opportunity to access all RHS Gardens for a reduced ticket price of just £1, and will run all year round.
Access for All will make RHS Bridgewater, RHS Harlow Carr, RHS Hyde Hall, RHS Rosemoor and RHS Wisley accessible to a wider and more diverse audience and builds on existing offers whereby free entry to gardens is granted to a number of groups. These include carers with a disabled visitor, school children on guided and self-guided school visits, and Under 5s, affiliated horticultural societies and community groups supported by the RHS Community Outreach programme.
The RHS recognises that entry fees are just one of the financial barriers that might prevent people from visiting its gardens, and to that end are also investing in sustainable and affordable public transport options across all five sites, to enable even more people to visit.
The popular RHS Wisley shuttle bus which runs between the garden and Woking Station costing just £2 each way, returned on 4 February, of which one visitor said: ‘The shuttle bus makes the garden so much more accessible for those who don't have a car. Thank you for this important initiative’. Meanwhile RHS Bridgewater’s shuttle bus (which stops at Manchester Piccadilly Station, Salford Crescent, and Walkden Station, and also costs £2 each way) will return on 1 April.
Details of upcoming shuttle bus trials for RHS Harlow Carr, RHS Hyde Hall, RHS Rosemoor will be available on the RHS website in due course.
Helena Pettit, RHS Director of Shows and Gardens, says: “One in ten people don’t have a garden or access to one and many can’t afford to visit a public garden, yet green spaces are an important lifeline for so many of us. We believe it is vital that everyone should have access to a garden or green space, which is why we have launched our ‘Access for All’ scheme and we hope that many people who might never have thought to visit an RHS Garden before will take advantage of it.”