Kelburn’s best kept secret ssshhh……
The Secret Forest is open daily, check out our events!
Find the entrance and immerse yourself in the Secret Forest. Follow the winding pathways and discover houses for Giants, swamps for crocodiles and the tall heights of the pagoda. There is no map to lead you on this wonderful trail so trust in your natural instincts to find your way through and enjoy your adventure.
The Secret Forest is often transformed into another form through our theatrical and imaginative events program. Try visiting when the Gruffalo is here and seek your way through the deep dark wood meeting characters along the way. The popular Secret Forest quiz is always good fun and ensures you have been paying attention!
Inside The Secret Forest
Inside The Secret Forest
The Chinese Gardens
The Chinese Garden is currently under restoration. The roof has been removed and rebuilt by our team. It is intended as a place of quiet and tranquility, planted with ferns and shrubs and dominated by a statue of the Buddha. A small stream runs through the middle that is crossed by a Chinese Bridge.
The Giant’s Castle
Caution: Giants! Enter the Giant’s castle and be careful as you go. Jacks house lies near the bottom of the beanstalk and you just never know when the Giant may be in or out! Look for the secret passage way at the main entrance to the castle and find a safe short cut.
The Maze and The Fairy Village
The Gate with the Three Entrances leads you into the Bamboo Maze. This area is currently harvesting new bamboo and awaiting renovation. Nearby you will find the finest fairy village and keep your eyes open to spot a fairy or two as you explore the magical forest
The Crocodile Swamp and the Grotto
To cross the crocodile swamp or reach the entrance to the Grotto, you must carefully negotiate the wooden stepping stones. Inside is the grotto’s guardian, a reptilian monster who feeds on human heads.
The Celtic Totems
The mysterious Celtic Totems in the centre of the Secret Forest, designed by Elizabeth Brodie as a homage to Celtic and prehistoric art, are three decorated six foot poles, supporting heads of women carved in stone.
The centrepiece of the Secret Forest is the Pagoda designed by Vernon Gibberd. Over 35ftt high, there are 42 wrought-iron steps to the high balcony, which can accommodate up to 50 people at a time and provides a spectacular view over the Secret Forest.Look for the signs of the zodiac high in the trees.
The Gingerbread House
The Gingerbread House is a six-sided building embossed on two walls with cakes and lollipops and all manner of sweet things. It is the home of the witch, who crouches hidden in her kitchen, waiting for children who are tempted to enter in search of sweets and other goodies.
The Woodcutter’s House
The Woodcutter’s House, at the farthest end of the Forest, has been constructed by laying tree trunks horizontally one on top of the other and securing them together with dowels.
The Castle with No Entrance
The Castle with No Entrance is the home of a greedy Goblin who guards his treasure constantly and watches for intruders from his high window in the tower.
The Inner Wood
The Inner Wood lies at the entrance of the Secret Forest and is largely enclosed by trees and branches that form a canopy over your head. Hiding within the Inner Wood are several animals including deer and foxes, a wolf and a wild boar.