- THE SKIP GARDEN, LONDON (pictured) Created during the regeneration sparked by Eurostar project, King’s Cross Skip Garden is a vital place of respite and solace for many of the area’s workers, families and visitors. Made from a series of building skips, so it can be moved around the rapidly developing area behind the station, this sustainable oasis situated in a heavily built-up area of London is a place for eating – at the gorgeous Skip Garden Kitchen – for learning; you can take part in ‘twilight gardening’ sessions, find out about beekeeping, gardening, making furniture and jams, or even how to market and sell produce, and wonderful family events; from ‘wizard schools’ where gardeners, story-tellers and chefs reveal the magic around us, to summer evenings toasting marshmallows around a campfire. Alternatively, just drop in and wander around the blooming and budding skips – it’s a great place to recharge if you’re visiting London and need a place to escape the relentlessly urban surroundings. kingscross.co.uk/skip-garden
- RYTON ORGANIC GARDENS, NEAR COVENTRY If you’re interested in organic gardening, a trip to Ryton is like a wander into Oz. Only even more green! These inspirational demonstration gardens are home to patches bursting with bounteous heritage vegetables, a sensory garden, and a visitor centre packed with information about gardening and nature. Their courses are outstanding; book up to learn more about every aspect of horticulture, from pruning and planning, composting and worming, right through to the basics of biodynamic gardening and fitting a small-scale organic garden into a tiny space. As well as the serious business of learning to grow, there’s a lot of fun to be had for younger children exploring the site and visitors centre; pick up a Go Discover map and tick off what you see, smell and touch! Free until March 26. gardenorganic.org.uk/plan-your-visit-ryton-organic-gardens
- JUPITER URBAN WILDLIFE CENTRE, FALKIRK Set in the middle of industrial Grangemouth (pictured), this wildlife haven is home to ponds, meadows and woodlands. It’s a brilliant place for exploring and enjoying the out-of-doors; there are free activities on offer including pond dipping, mini beasts hunts, birdwatching or shelter building. You can even hire a barbecue. A strong programme of events includes such joys as moth walks, craft sessions and nettle days where you can find out more about the uses of the abundant crop. The centre serves as an inspiration for all gardeners to create wild areas of their garden – the friendly rangers are more than happy to chat about how to make your patch animal and bird-friendly. tiny.cc/jupitergarden
- CENTRE FOR WILDLIFE GARDENING, LONDON Tucked away in a quiet corner of Peckham is this stunning wildlife garden and visitor centre, created in the 1980s on the site of an old vehicle depot. Wander around this tranquil, green spot to explore its four ponds, chalk bank, wildflower meadow, woodland copes, herb garden and permacultured-up raised beds. The events here are brilliant; family days, where parents and children can find out about growing and planting, including some excellent two-day courses based around edible plants with plenty of foraging, cooking and medicine-making! Wander around the visitor centre to find out more about environmental building techniques, the art of permaculture and ways to make your garden blossom. tiny.cc/centrewildlife
- ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN, EDINBURGH Only one mile from the city centre, these lush gardens are an inspirational place for children to visit; the incredible landscaped vistas are home to thousands of tropical and rare species of plants; explore the enormous rock garden with its 5000 species, the 15m-long herbaceous border, and the Scottish Heath Garden which recreates the landscapes of the highlands. You’ll have to pay to enter the humid, exciting glass houses, but it’s totally worth it. There are plenty of experts on hand, who are more than happy to answer the nerdiest of questions; the edible gardening team can be found every afternoon in the demonstration garden – tap them up to find out what jobs you should be doing in your garden seasonally, and to help with growing queries. There’s also a monthly Sunday Art Explorers club for families, which celebrates nature through crafts. rbge.org.uk
Plant the seed for a life-long love of growing crops and creating beautiful beds in your children with a visit to one of Britain’s inspirational gardens; these places aren’t museum-like spaces; they’re hands-on, with courses, classes and chances to really get your hands dirty. Dig in!