On our way to Italy, Greg and I had a 7-hour layover at Gatwick on New Year’s Eve. It was too much time to wait at the airport, but not quite enough time to make it worthwhile to go into central London and back. So we decided to explore Wakehurst, a botanical garden in nearby West Sussex.
We dropped our luggage off at the airport’s “left luggage” station. Then we hopped in a black cab and headed to a nearby cafe for a traditional English breakfast while we waited for Wakehurst to open. We did land very early in the morning, after all!
Then we headed to Wakehurst. I was shocked at how green everything was. You’d have no idea it was New Year’s Eve by just looking at this picture!
We began at the mansion, the focal point of Wakehurst. Can you imagine what it would be like to live there?! Coming from small New York apartments we had such space envy!
Inside the mansion there’s not much by way of decor. However the structure of the home is beautiful, and we enjoyed looking at all of the detail in the architecture.
The Christmas decorations were still up.
And we found a tree where visitors had hung paper ornaments listing their wishes.
Not wanting to miss out on the wish tree, Greg and I hung our own.
But then we immediately had wish envy when we saw this one:
Forget more adventures, we wish to be dolphins too!
By this point the rain had stopped so we ventured out to explore the gardens.
While wandering, we came across a hidden kids’ play area.
And since there were no actual kids around, we decided to channel our inner children and play around a bit.
Before reluctantly heading back to the airport.
Wakehurst is the perfect place to visit when you have a longer layover at Gatwick. The gardens are beautiful, even in the dead of winter (I would love to see what Wakehurst looks like in the spring!). Plus it’s great to walk around outdoors and get some fresh air after a long international flight. It really helps you adjust to the time change and forget how tired you may be!
To find out more information on Wakehurst, click here.
For all of my England travel posts, click here.