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:|
Royal Botanic Gardens
|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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Things to do
The Hive at Kew Gardens
Wolfgang Buttress' 17 metre high, 40 tonne installation already wowed audiences in Milan and now it's setting up home in Kew Gardens for the summer. Visitors can stand, lie or sit within the massive lattice structure as thousands of LED lights flicker...Exhibitions Until Sunday December 31 2017Read more
Things to do
Write on Kew
Now in its second year, this megafestival of literary giants counts Fay Weldon, Robert Harris, Sir Tony Robinson, Michael Rosen and Marian Keyes on the bill. Other celebs include Nadiya Hussain, Brian Blessed and Monty Don. Fiction, nature, history, science,...Festivals Until Sunday September 25 2016Read more
BE perform live inside The Hive
The musical collective behind the soundscape that fills The Hive in Kew Garden is to play their first live show amongst the thousands of glowing LEDs that make up the award-winning installation. The band will perform their album 'One' within the 17m high...Dance and electronic Wednesday September 28 2016 - Thursday September 29 2016Read more
Things to do
Handmade at Kew
Browse exceptional and innovative crafts and design from over 200 exhibitors in a truly beautiful setting at this fair in Kew Gardens. Carefully chosen designer-makers will present ceramics, jewellery, textiles, glass, paper, furniture, sculpture and...Markets and fairs Thursday October 6 2016 - Sunday October 9 2016Read more
Things to do
Christmas at Kew Gardens
The magnificent gardens get a beautiful seasonal makeover once more in 2016, as Christmas at Kew brings illuminations to light up the buildings, trails and planting. The mile-long trail will lead visitors past tow huge Christmas trees, a scented garden...Wednesday November 23 2016 - Monday January 2 2017Read more
Average User Rating
4.8 / 5
- 5 star:30
- 4 star:6
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Quite simply the most heavenly bit of London. Extremely diverse botanical gardenss. The greenhouses are works of art in themselves. The Hive this year has been a welcome addition too.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .,.,.
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.