The Leura Gardens Festival is altering its opening times.

The Leura Gardens Festival is rejigging its dates this year, to give both garden owners and the gardens themselves a break from the thousands of visitors.

Instead of running for nine straight days in early October, this year gardens will be open from Saturday, September 29-Monday, October 1 (the long weekend) and then again from Friday, October 5 to Sunday, October 7.

Festival president, Brooke Broughton, said the change should make it easier on everyone, from the garden owners to the hundreds of volunteers who make it all happen.

“The main reason we’re doing it is for the gardens and the owners because with the numbers we’re getting, nine days straight is a big ask … and it’s also pretty tough on the gardens,” he said.

“We think it will also help recruit new gardens. It’s something of an experiment but we’ll see how it goes.”

Mr Broughton said the committee was looking for new gardens.

He said the pre-festival tours will continue unchanged, to be held this year from Monday, September 24 – Friday, September 28. The pre-festival tours cover gardens which are not necessarily suitable to being trampled by hundreds of visitors.

The pre-tours also cover gardens outside the Leura area, such as in Wentworth Falls.

The festival, which has been going since 1965, attracts thousands to the town each year. It has raised more than $2 million for the Blue Mountains hospital and other Mountains health-related organisations.