You’ll find many typical attractions at Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens: beautiful flowers, intriguing trees, and an overall sense of serenity. But the botanic garden is also home to something a bit more surprising. Bennett’s wallabies have roamed there since the eccentric naturalist Sir Edumind Loder introduced them in the late 1880s.
The species is native to the Australian island of Tasmania, where it often experiences harsh weather conditions and temperatures. As such, the wallabies have evolved thick and dense winter coats that have allowed the species to thrive in the United Kingdom and Ireland after they were introduced by the Victorians.
Today, more than 100 wallabies, some of which are albinos, roam the Australian garden at Leonardslee. They’re particularly entertaining to watch in the spring when mothers rear their young in their pouches, and summer when males perform boxing-style bouts with one another to compete for mates.
Wallabies aren’t the only animals you’ll see at the gardens. The grounds also house three species of deer: the Japanese sika, the Indian Chital, and the native fallow deer.
Know Before You Go
The gardens are open daily during the spring/summer season from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during autumn/winter. The entrance fee is £12.50. Please don't feed the wallabies or deer any human food, as they are fed a specially formulated diet.