We went to Wakehurst Place for the afternoon, late lunch.
Been once before, more details here
I over heard the Nurse talking to her NCT friends that Wakehurst were now charging for the car park, I didn't think about it anymore.
It takes us forty minutes to get there, I am sure we go a different way to everyone else we know, and the car park is nearly empty when we get there.
I am not keen on gardens like this as lovely as they are, specimen planting I think they call it, I much prefer a more organic flow like Vermont.
But you just can't help trying to spot the perfect Christmas tree.
And then there it is.
We find the bee hives whilst following the sound of a lamb who honestly bleats as if being murdered That could be normal, I'm not so outdoorsy.
I finally see the Seed Bank, it is amazing.
A turn takes us through the Pinetum.
Could have been the weather but on that afternoon I know it was the most perfect place on earth.
Then we got a late light bite which I think set us back the best part of £20 and the kids were amazing and choose one of those plastic animals from the shop.
So we pay for that and the parking, £10! What!
When you drive in it does say in really BIG LETTERS
Free Parking for the first 30 minutes
Pat on the back!
This is nothing to brag about, you are giving information, what can you do for thirty minutes in Wakehurst Place?
I don't have a go at the woman at the cash desk, she looks like she has had enough but I am tired from the sun and probably a little short when she tells me it's £10 for a full day and I reply how much is it for half a day?
We don't qualify for that rate, we've been there longer than two hours.
Shocked AND wounded I tell her that I didn't see the tariff and she assures me that it is at the top of the ramp as you come in.
But you will probably miss it. It seems the only sign and you walk past it rather than toward it and it isn't flashing the most important information any normal person in the UK cares about.
I did stop and read it and sure enough at the bottom of the sign there it is written in a type size no bigger than 18 I am sure, £10.00
I should have taken the hint at the nearly empty car park and questioned what was up.
Basically if you are National Trust members you get into WP free with your membership but
Kew Royal Botanic Gardens doesn't get any revenue from this, something to do with the lease they hold that isn't up for another 50 years or so.
That Seed Bank isn't going to run itself so it's now pay to park.
I do feel for them.
We would have paid had we known the charge on entry. £10 is not terrible for a full day but most of us like to know the cost up front.
I've grown as a person, 10 years ago I would have driven up there parked
and gone in for a wee, validated my parking, drunk a pint of water and
gone in again. Maybe ten times just to try and make a point.
I am not sending an email to complain, because I feel like I'd be getting involved with people who don't think like normal people, who think that if you make such a change it is ok to take down the big sign that tells everybody whats happening within two months of it going up.
I presume there was a big sign at some point.
The lovely bits will stay a memory but the not cafe and the sparsely populated car park and not because they are over priced it is ultimately the service someone thinks you deserve.