Angry parents have slammed Kew Gardens for setting an “appalling example” by using fake grass in its kids’ playground.

Fans of the world-famous South West London park said they had even cancelled their membership and would not visit while others blasted the grass for being a “polluting plastic carpet”.

The kids’ playground opened in the botanic park in 2019 and includes an area of fake grass along with sand, bark and gravel.

But shocked social media users slammed the move as “madness”, “beyond disappointing” and “damaging”.

Kew Gardens said installing the fake grass was “not a decision taken lightly” and that it means the area is “fully accessible” and can cope with the huge number of kids who visit every year.

It said fake grass is not used anywhere else in the park.

But commenters called for the grass to be removed and expressed fears for kids and their futures.

George McGavin tweeted: “I can hardly believe it … there really is no hope. How many people are now going to rip up their lawn and lay this environmental abomination because ‘if Kew Gardens uses it, it must be just fine!'”

Sarah wrote: “Our future is threatened by microplastic pollution and habitat loss. Kew Gardens should know better than to use plastic carpet in their landscaping.”

Spyros said: “I guess for some reason natural grass wasn’t suitable for that area.

"But why would artificial grass be the only alternative? It’s a kids playing area, it’s not a Premier League stadium.”

Other people argued children are “supposed to get muddy” and “play on real grass”.

Community action group Surbiton Wildlife also slammed the grass as a “shocking decision”.

Commenters even said they would not visit again.

Saurabh Sethi wrote: “Here goes my Kew Membership… shame on you.” Another said: “That’s my visit cancelled then!”

A spokeserspon for Kew Gardens said: “The children’s garden at Kew opened in 2019 as a safe space for children to encourage creative play, promote nature-based learning and nurture a love of plants.

"The garden contains over 180 trees, 19,000 shrubs, bulbs, grasses and a huge variety of perennials, along with 500 metres of beech and mixed native hedge – all of which creates an incredibly diverse landscape.

“To ensure the area is fully accessible and can safely cope with the impact of over 160,000 children who visit each year, we made the decision to use artificial lawn in a very small area of the children’s garden, with the majority of surfaces featuring sand, bark and gravel.

"This was not a decision taken lightly and we carefully considered all other options. We do not use artificial lawn anywhere else at Kew.”