Kew Gardens

Attractions , Parks and gardens Kew
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 (Waterlilies House)
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Waterlilies House
 (Winter at Kew © A.McRobb)
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Winter at Kew © A.McRobb
 (Summer at Kew © A.McRobb)
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Summer at Kew © A.McRobb
 (Autumn at Kew )
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Autumn at Kew

Exotic flowers, wild meadows and a walk among the treetops in leafy west London

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew are 250 years old, but there’s plenty here for the modern outdoor adventurer. You can still wander the old Victorian Palm House and indulge in a little old-fashioned promenading like someone in a BBC costume drama, but these gardens, originally developed in the back yard of the royal palace favoured most by George III, are one of two national bases for research and education into botanical studies. So while you’re seeking out the luscious flora (including the giant, stinking Titan Arum in the Princess of Wales Conservatory), there are scientists beavering away in labs and offices, out of sight.

Each of the glasshouses has a different, maintained climate, designed to nurture everything from the world’s largest water lilies to delicate Alpine flowers to tropical blooms. (The Temperate House is closed until 2018.)

If you’ve got a head for heights, take the Tree Top Walkway where you get a bird’s eye view of some of the park’s centuries-old trees, then stroll down to the Chinese Pagoda, built in 1762. Towering over the southern end of the Gardens, it must have been an awesome and strange sight to eighteenth century Londoners.

Come here to be inspired for your next garden makeover or to stroll the vast landscape of formal gardens, but then make time to seek out sculptures like Henry Moore’s  ‘Reclining Mother and Child’ in a stunning setting that changes with the light of each season.

There’s plenty to do. In fact, art alone could take up your entire visit – see the Eduardo Paolozzi sculpture ‘A Maximis Ad Minima’ and visit the Marianne North Gallery and the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, all included in the main entry price.

Whenever you visit Kew Gardens, there’s something in bloom. The website has a dedicated ‘what to see this week’ section, so even in autumn or winter, you can be assured you won’t just see a lot of old twigs.

Venue name: Kew Gardens
Contact:
Address: Royal Botanic Gardens
Kew
London
TW9 3AB
Opening hours: Mar 27-Aug 29 Mon-Fri 10am-6.30pm, Sat, Sun and bank holidays 10am-7.30pm; Aug 30-Oct 29 daily 10am-6pm; Oct 30-Feb 10 2017 daily 10am-3.45pm; Feb 11-May 25 2017 daily 10am-5.30pm. Closed Dec 24 and 25. (Last entry 30 minutes before closing, some attractions close earlier, check on arrival.)
Transport: Tube: Kew Gardens Rail: Kew Bridge
Price: £15, £14 online adv, £14 concs, £13 concs online adv, under-15s £3.50 (online adv £2.50), £37.50-£32 family.
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  • Exhibitions Until Sunday December 31 2017
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  • Exhibitions Until Monday August 29 2016
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  • Tuesday August 30 2016 - Sunday September 25 2016
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  • Festivals Thursday September 22 2016 - Sunday September 25 2016
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  • Wednesday November 23 2016 - Monday January 2 2017
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Average User Rating

4.8 / 5

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LiveReviews|29
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jeaniekarl
Tastemaker

Sometimes it's easy to forget that London has an incredible amount of green natural spaces amongst the city smoke. Kew Gardens should be high up on the list of must see places to visit within London for any tourist or any Londoner. These world famous royal botanical gardens have been in existence for 250 years are worth the trek across down to south west London where you can see beautiful landscapes, a huge variety of different plants and flowers in all their glory. It is easy to forget the crucial work that places like this do regarding botanical research. This place is ever evolving so there will bound to always be something new or different to see whenever you visit. I’m already keen to see the newly renovated Temperate House and tree houses when all the work has been completed.

I would definitely recommend going on a sunny day to see the gardens at their best. The treetop walkway is always a great spot to visit although you’ll probably get a bit dizzy if you’re scared of heights! There is now a lift making it accessible for all making it an ideal way to view nature from above. The Hive is a fairly recent addition and smaller than I had envisaged. Soothing chiming music with lights linked to the activity of the bees in this metallic structure was a clever interesting art installation surrounded by gorgeous stunningly landscaped new great broad way borders and wildflower meadows. The hop on/ off bus train is a 30 minute whistlestop tour around most of the main points of interest throughout the gardens and provides the ideal overview of the gardens at the cost of an additional £5 you can ride on the bus how many times you want. I have also visited during the winter months where they have held a seasonal illuminated winter trail after dark and this is a magical way to see the gardens in a different perspective. 

Photosbysooz
Tastemaker

When we were little my parents used to take my brother and I to Kew Gardens, it probably cost about 50p to go then as well! My memories are of long summer days, rolling in the grass, eating sandwiches and getting an ice-cream. I don't remember anything else, which I guess is the simplicity of childhood.


So what does Kew offer to an adult? Well quite simply, it's anything other than just a park really. Stunning lakes, Roman inspired follys, a Pagoda, an amazing tree-top walkway, greenhouses, cafes and a genuine Japanese farm house. Not to mention all the flowers - depending on the season you visit.


The park is just about a mile from end to end, so it's easy to walk through and see everything, but you'll need extra time if you want to explore the green houses in depth and fit in the tree-top walk. My suggestion is to come early and grab a cuppa at one of the lovely cafes whilst perusing your map. Then do some exploring, stopping for a pic-nic when you find a perfect spot. Explore a little more, as you work off your lunch and then after visiting the tropical green-house, grab an ice-cream to cool off before having a little lie down in the sun as the day comes to a lovely close.

A glorious sanctuary in London that really is worth returning to time and time again.

Sarah R
tastemaker

Immediately after getting off the train at Kew Gardens stop, I am filled with excitement. Just the tube station itself and its surrounding seem like I’ve stepped into some lovely English countryside town.

Kew Gardens are vast and therefore full day activity if you want to do a thorough job, so you should dedicate it full afternoon. I made sure I was there on a sunny day with cloudless sky. Of course that meant that a lot of people had the same idea and lines seemed a bit discouraging at first, but don’t worry, they move very quickly.
You get handed park’s map which I don't advise throwing away because it will prove very useful. It is best to make a quick plan what you want to see and which way to go because you might end up walking in circles.
The new addition to the park is The Hive, which is Wolfgang Buttress’ installation representing honey bee and the important role of pollination. The iconic glass house and view of the lake are absolutely breath-taking. Great Broad walk borders and Rock Gardens are especially good during summer and make you want to have your own rock garden full of herbs and spices. Pagoda is something out of a movies and really made me wish I could take a sneak peak in… Everything is picturesque so if you own a better quality camera, make sure you bring it with you. Park has plenty of food places so you won’t be hungry and you can take a little nap on the green soft grass anywhere to rest your legs.

If you haven't been to Kew this summer, don't know what you are waiting for!

MatureLinda

I had such a lovely day here and felt so relaxed, i ended up going at half speed and not seeing everything  I joined the free introductory tour which gave the history of the gardens and the points of interest. The Hive is the latest interesting addition to the gardens, a huge metallic construction which, when you enter, vibrates to the sound of the local bee hives. Very soporific. I hope to return to Kew in the future, and will plan my day more carefully, so that my route takes in everything previously missed, and will also take a picnic, in order to avoid the over-priced refreshments in their cafes.  

Tiago Almeida
Tastemaker

Absolutely fantastic garden. I even dare to say this is one of a kind and worth paying to see it and even making yourself a 'friend' of the garden.

You can spend the entire day exploring, doing a picnic and relaxing.


One of the must see in London and the UK,

kaz m

The bluebell meadows in the springtime are absolutely outstanding - at the north end of the gardens, not far from the rhododendrons (equally spectacular!).   A friend of mine recommended them on Teepee so I knew it would be worth going. 

NakedPRGirl Claire
Tastemaker

I've been three times to Kew Garden; once on a Saturday in June, once to a outdoor cinema thingy in July and last week in May. You come into Kew Garden station which is about ten minutes walk to the main gates. The entry price is around £16 and you can buy online to avoid the queues. My top tip is to avoid the obvious cafe near the gates and go around to one of the other cafes either the Pavillion or the Orangery. They have lovely sandwiches, salads and hot food plus tea, coffee and boozy drinks if you fancy it. It's taken me a couple of trips to get around the whole thing now (it's a full day experience whichever way you slice it) and I have to say the best bits are the rose gardens (in full bloom in June) and the gardens to the right of the main entrances where the greenhouses are! Make sure you go to the Palm House, Waterlilly House and Princess of Wales Conservatory. If you have time, there are bluebell woods and beautiful flower filled paths (Rhododendron Dell lovely in May) to walk around. There's a fab bit called Kew on a Plate too which was featured on the BBC featuring vegetable gardens. One little note, a lot of school children visit on weekdays so if you like to avoid the crowds, go in the greenhouses after 3pm when they've left for home.

Jane G.
Tastemaker

I hold an annual pass, so I try to go as often as I can. It's stunning in all seasons and I never get tired of being there. Take a picnic and spend the day! On my most recent visit, my partne was on crutches, so I thought I'd be clever and buy tickets for the tour train thingy. The ticket person scooped up my £10 before telling me it was the last journey of the day and was leaving at 4:30...it was 4:30. I had to explain to the driver, go get my partner and when we got there it was so full we almost didn't even get on. The speakers were so horrible we couldn't hear the information. People kept opening the doors on the moving train and jumping off. The driver didn't seem to notice but once or twice slammed to a stop and came out scolding the rest of us. Because my partner couldn't walk, I suppose it seemed a good idea but actually it was a waste of money and I will probably never do it again. But that doesn't take away from the rest of the park!! The bathrooms are always clean, the cafe is a bit expensive but edible, I always like a look in the shop. Plan on spending the day and just relax!

Mei M
Tastemaker

Kew Gardens are a wonderful place to visit in London, more than once as everything changes each season. I have been there over Christmas and in Spring, April was an amazing time to visit it - blooming flowers, wonderful smells, just a stunning place to see.


It's great for dates, family days or just to have a great, relaxed time with friends. Have a meal at the Orangery and you will be stunned on how beautiful it is!


The ticket is not the cheapest - £15 - however it's really worth it. I've  been there twice and would love to go again.

Grace I
Tastemaker

The best part of these stunning gardens is that they are never the same on any given month, so that you can wander around the bluebell fields in April, explore the rhododendron dell in May, marvel over the stunning varieties of roses in July and August and visit the tropical gardens (including the best displays of orchids I've ever seen) throughout the year. The cafes are pleasant, but the real selling point for visitors after oohing over the plants and flowers is the lovely gift shop. The entrance fee for Kew is pricey (£15 for adults, without donation), so if you want go frequently, buy the annual pass, which allows unlimited visits and includes one guest. Act like a Londoner (not a tourist) and bring your own picnic lunch, or pick food up at shops outside the Kew Gardens tube/train station, and eat it while happily parked on one of the many benches in woods, dales or dells.

Liz G
tastemaker

Simply beautiful. We had a lovely morning walking around Kew Gardens even though it was freezing cold out (yes I can't believe it's the end of April either!)

Stunning grounds and just a really picturesque place to stroll... Highly recommend!

Ladyvp
Tastemaker

This place is fantastic, it is so pretty. You have wondering peacocks, it is never crowded even on some of the sunnier days. They have amazing concerts in the summer and a Easter egg hunt for the little ones. A treat for adults and children. 

bailey1988
Tastemaker

As a local, I have an annual membership to Kew Gardens. It's fantastic to see the garden change throughout the year but I have to say it really comes into its own in spring/summer. For first time visitors, the treetop walk is a must. The Orangery serves fantastic lunch options and normally less popular with families than the White Peaks cafe. I love taking bread to feed the ducks. The garden has fantastic wildlife, keep your eyes peeled for the resident fox, peacocks and bright yellow pheasant - along with the Richmond parakeets.

GP
Staff Writertastemaker

Kew always feels like a mission to me (but like I get that that'll depend on where you live y'know?!) anyway every time I get there I know why we've made the mission, its really vast and you can easily spend the whole day there when the weather is good and we've spent hours there when its pretty bad as there are a few in door areas, great (Massive) cafe/restaurant and often one off events/festivals etc held on site to keep you entertained.

I would advise going early in the day and making the most of it. Lots of cute wildlife knocking artound for kids (and big kids) too.

- oh also check out the late series over summer, drink + sunset in a gorgeous garden wins for me!



Lizzie W
Tastemaker

Wowee. I love Kew and I love Christmas so was so excited to go to Christmas at Kew this year with my best friend.

We booked a 7pm slot on a saturday (the earlier slots do sell out early December so make sure you get in early) and turned up at our allotted time. There was no queue so it was easy to get straight in which was great.
Me being me we headed straight for the food.
Their cafe was open (of which the food looked good) but they also had some food vans serving festive cakes, mulled wine and pulled pork baps with a festive twist (bacon, stuffing and cranberry). The baps were delicious and the mulled wine warmed us up as we wandered around.
The trail itself took us about 1 hour 30 to mooch around but could be done quicker if you don't take 1000's of photos (but the lights were so pretty!).
There is so much going on including beautiful light displays, toasting your own marshmallows, free tea and singing holly bushes.
It is well worth the visit of £16 and I can't wait to go back again next year!

Livvi AT
Tastemaker

Whatever the season, Kew Gardens, which is super easy to get to on the District line, is a great place to spend an afternoon, whether just wandering around their beautiful gardens and greenhouses, or attending one of the many, varied events and festivals they hold during the year.

Obviously, the best time to attend is spring, when the gardens bloom into life after winter. The design elements of the gardening are superb; colours and shapes carefully considered in the planting to create truly stunning landscapes. Take a walk around their spice garden to stimulate another of your senses or climb up to the Tree Walk Promenade where you can walk among the leaves of the majestic old Oaks and Chestnuts.

 Even in the colder months, (Top Tip: Kew often drop their ticket prices during winter) Kew have activities to keep the gardens alive. At Christmas, festive light installations illuminate the gardens so you can see them in a new light, and if the weather is really poor, pop into one of the many greenhouses to see exotic plants and flowers from far flung places. The Orangery restaurant, although very much overpriced, is full of fresh, seasonal dishes. Although ticket prices seem quite a lot to part with for some greenery (£16 high season for adults), you can make a full day of it at Kew and it is definitely one of London’s more sophisticated landmarks to pay a visit to.




TheMixedMedic
Tastemaker

Whether you’re a couple, family, child or OAP this is the London Christmas experience in December. Follow the Kew garden trail with its glowing Christmas tents, colourful trees and inflatable plants. 


Begin by heading over to the entrance food trucks and picking up some mulled wine or coconut hot chocolate to keep you warm along the way. Then savour a stroll through the choir of the holly bushes, each bush has its own speaker and set of coloured LEDs that light up as they sing together in perfect harmony. Next is the mystical fire garden, an impressive display for any garden centre embracing the risk required to keep hundreds of torches burning for hours throughout the night, without spreading across the entire forest. Soft chimes and tropical sounds play in the background and make you feel as though you are somewhere exotic, despite being in London during a cold December. A large golden Phoenix rotates slowly in the wind above you as the smell of warm roasted chestnuts fills the air from a little stall in the corner of the garden. 


Onwards past glowing Christmas tree tents, an immersive hanging LED display, the tunnel of light and an interactive Christmas tree, you will find yourself arriving at the fairground. Save some change for the classic carousel, magic carpet rides, swings, ice cream and waffles. Once you have had your fill of fun, hit the trail again and discover marshmallow roasting pits and the romantic mistletoe cave, complete with wishing well.


For the lesser lothario’s wishing to skip this part, you can head straight onto the wishing tree – make a wish, blow it into the lantern and hang it up on one of the branches or pay 2.50 to take it home with you as a souvenir.

For the kids there is a pantomime featuring Santa Claus before the grand finale of the tour, a stunning light and water display on the Kew garden lake backed by an uplifting classical sound track, enough to put even the biggest Scrooge in the festive spirit – even if it starts to drizzle!

Luisa G
Tastemaker

Beautiful place - make sure you give yourself enough time to explore everything, and don't go during school holidays (unless you have kids with you!).

Sarah J
tastemaker

One of my favourite places, Kew Gardens is simply breathtaking. I went last weekend as part of the Spice Weekends. The tours given by the volunteers were amazing and a definite must-do if planning a trip as their expanse of knowledge is phenomenal and it really helps you put the gardens in perspective with a bit of historical knowledge. We found about the history of some of the different spices and herbs (juniper, olives and turmeric to name but a few) throughout our guided walk - which finished at the Ice House (another gem)! The redwoods were a great find tucked away in one of the corners and the treetop walkway was one of our favourites also. 


The food available in Kew is amazing - hosted by Peyton & Byrne, all the delicious cakes and lunch items we tried were fantastic and I would go back just for the food.


The two great glasshouses (palm house and princess of wales conservatory) were just amazing. We saw banana trees and giant lilypads, and the whole things felt like a tropical holiday - we couldn't believe we were in London.


It's very accessible, only a short 5 minute walk from Kew Gardens (London overground and district line station) to Victoria Gate which is one of the main entrances. 

Susan
Tastemaker

Beautiful place to go when it's sunny and warm. I recommend purchasing tickets for the land train in advance and check out the guided tours schedule. Perfect family programme!

K M
Staff Writer

Kew Gardens is a little haven of tranquility and peacefulness in London. It's a great place to spend the day walking around, taking in the pretty Pagoda and Koi fish, breathing in fresh air. It's perfect! The main greenhouse is boiling, but its beautiful, for a moment you actually forget you're in London.

Tom
moderatorStaff Writer

If you're green fingered this is a great place to spend a few hours amid huge trees and massive glasshouses, that are home to some amazing herbacious specimens. In the summer it's such a great place to relax in the sunshine, take a picnic and have a glass or two of something cold and refreshing. There's so much space it never seems to get too busy, and the summer evening concerts that take place regularly are well worth a visit. Kids also have a great time here as there's a little bit of something for all ages. Would definitely visit more if I lived a little closer by, a geneuinely great park in a great city.

Vishaal V
Tastemaker

Attended the Kew the Music event with Caro Emerald courtesy of Time Out. It was a fantastic event! Really beautiful venue, well organised, and the music all evening was a real treat. Highly recommend. 


Tatiana N
Staff Writer

 I've been living in London for 2 years and have only now just been to Kew Gardens and it was a pleasant surprise. I had such a lovely and peaceful day walking around in one of the prettiest non polluted non-overly crowded gardens near London that couldn't believe I have not been there before. It's a botanical garden and of course you have to pay to get in but it's well worth it. As an added bonus you get to have a play around in the Treetop Walkway, The Log trail, Riverside walk etc. Definitely a must go place if you wish to unwind a little bit and have some fresh air and get away from the city. 

Sarah J Peach

Book a day out at Kew, arrive early to beat the queues (or TIP:  use the less popular main entrances) and have a wonderful day full of beauty, adventure and education.  Just walk around and see nothing more than the gorgeous gardens, the vistas, the trees and the gentle calm they exude, or follow the nature trails, hit the tropical gardens, visit the indoor adventure playground with the kids (and amazing cake in the cafes!) and read all about the history.  It's a truly remarkable place that warrants becoming 'A Friend of Kew' so that you can afford to revisit several times in the year, experience the changes in the seasons, and have a chance to see every treasure it offers.

Ed G

My girlfriend and I took her grandparents for a day trip to Kew Gardens and all had a great day out, there was so much to do and see that we'll definitely be going back again as we barely saw a fraction of it. So much thought has been put into the entire place that it caters for all needs, interests and tastes. You feel transported to a different country just 20 minutes on the train out of London.

Nicolas Casana

My parents from USA toured the garden with me and they loved it very much as the garden itself preserved and cared for the living plants from all over the world .,.,.,,...A good place for everybody to visit .,.,.

Claudia Baptista

A good place to spend the day. The gardens are so big that I didn't manage to see all, since I arrived there after lunch time, but I loved every moment. From the cafés to the diferent kinds of gardens and the shop it was really lovely. Probably a little bit pricy since we were 2 adults and the ticket doesn't include anything else (not the ride on the little train for e.g.), but I enjoyed every moment.

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