Families will be transported to Alice’s Wonderland at RHS Garden Bridgewater this summer, as the world’s leading gardening charity partners with Macmillan Publishers to celebrate 150 years of the iconic and classic stories Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, which has been reimagined for contemporary audiences by multi-award-winning illustrator Chris Riddell.

Inspired by Alice’s spirit of curiosity and a host of quirky characters from Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, families can view the garden through the eyes of Alice. Meet your favourite characters and enjoy performances, storytelling, minibeast hunts, planting and craft workshops and more. Perhaps on your adventure, you'll discover the Cheshire Cat among the trees, or spot a table set up for a mad tea party!

All Wonderland activities are free and are either drop-in or can be booked at the ticket desk on the day of your visit (subject to availability). To access the garden, all visitors will need to pre-book a time slot ahead of their visit from rhs.org.uk/bridgewater

Event highlights

Wonderland Wednesdays: Every week, 28 July–25 August

Immerse yourself in another world on Wonderland Wednesdays. Picnic with your favourite characters, dress up in your best mad hatter hat, take part in competitions and enjoy wonderful treats in the café.

Alice and Friends: Saturday 24 July–Sunday 1 August

Enjoy theatre performances throughout the day on Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 July. See which Wonderland characters you can find in the woodland, then join in with themed crafts (Wednesday 28 July) or planting workshops (Thursday 29 and Friday 30 July).

Relax with Alice-themed family yoga (Saturday 31 July at 11.30am) or get immersed in storytelling (Saturday 24, Sunday 25 July and Sunday 1 August from 11am).

Looking Glass Beasts: Monday 9 August–Sunday 15 August

Alice meets all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures on her trip through the looking glass, but what can we find in our world? See real-life birds of prey with Wild Wings Birds of Prey

(Monday 2 and Tuesday 3 August from 11am–3.30pm) and get up close with fantastic creepy crawlies with ZooLab (Monday 9 and Thursday 12 August from 11am–4pm).

Relax with Alice-themed family yoga (Saturday 7 August at 11.30am) or get immersed in storytelling (Sunday 8 August, Saturday 14 and 15 August from 11am).

Wonder-Landscapes: Monday 16 August–Tuesday 31 August

The pool of tears, the chessboard, the garden of live flowers... Alice has adventures across many landscapes in the stories. Explore our woodlands to enjoy your own Wonderland adventure, then enjoy Alice-themed craft (Wednesday 25 August) and plant-themed workshops.

Relax with Alice-themed family yoga (Saturday 21 August at 11.30am) or get immersed in storytelling (Sunday 22 August from 11am). Discover the fascinating world of cacti and succulents at Cactus World Live (Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 August), with displays and family activities to get you growing at home.

A range of Alice books and merchandise will be available to buy from the Garden Centre

RHS Image Credit: RHS

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was first published by Macmillan Publishers in 1865 and Lewis Carroll completed his sequel Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There in 1868, but his determination to have John Tenniel continue as the illustrator for Alice saw a wait of three years before the book arrived in bookshops in December 1871. Celebrating this 150th anniversary and Tenniel’s inspiration, Chris Riddell has brought his own inimitable style and a twenty-first century approach to these classic stories. Macmillan publishes his new, illustrated edition of Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There on 24th June 2021.

Tenniel and Riddell have much in common; both being celebrated political cartoonists of their day, for Punch and the Observer respectively, while also creating some of the most loved and iconic illustrated classics for children. Chris Riddell has often said that Tenniel was one of the reasons he became an illustrator as he loved his illustrations as a child, particularly the White Rabbit. His books have won a number of major prizes, including the prestigious CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal an unprecedented three times, and the Costa Book Award. He was the 2015-2017 Children’s Laureate and was awarded the OBE by the Queen for his services to children’s literature in 2019.

Richard Green, Head of Site at RHS Garden Bridgewater said: “We’re thrilled to be bringing the gardens to life with Chris Riddell’s amazing interpretation of Alice in Wonderland. We know this will resonate with members and visitors – especially families – and add a new dimension to their garden visit.”

Alyx Price, Associate Publisher, Macmillan Children’s Books added: “We are delighted to be working with the RHS again and that the team has chosen Chris Riddell’s Alice as the inspiration for their summer theme in this anniversary year. Alice is all about curiosity and discovery, and this can all be explored in a fun and engaging way in the RHS’ beautiful gardens. It will be a wonderful visit for all ages.”

Related

RHS Garden Bridgewater
Formal Garden
RHS Garden Bridgewater entrance, cafe and shop

Reviving the gardens of the historic 156 acre Worsley New Hall estate to create RHS Garden Bridgewater represents one of the largest gardening projects in Europe at this time.

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