Kew's Summer Festival: Incredible Edibles

Kew Gardens , Kew Thursday June 6 2013 0:00
Kew's Summer Festival: Incredible Edibles
Tom Hare's sculptures in Kew Gardens © RGB Kew

Kew’s festival, which began in the summer, changes with the seasons and now ventures into its autumn phase, highlighting the extraordinary diversity of edible plants at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

There’s a focus on fungi with Tom Hare’s Fungi Fairy Ring – gigantic mushroom scuttles made of woven willow that tower up to 4 metres tall along the Broadwalk.

There are daily walking tours uncovering the mellow fruitfulness abundant in the gardens (staring noon from Victoria Plaza), which includes hundreds of pumpkins along the Broadwalk and a 4-metre-high pyramid of squashes in the Waterlily House. The focus on gourds continues with pumpkin carving (outside the Waterlily House at half term (Oct 26-Nov 3, 11am-3.30pm), as well as Halloween face painting for kids (in the Climbers and Creepers area on the same dates as above).

The Global Kitchen Garden, on the Great Lawn opposite Kew Palace, features more than 90 edible plants from around the globe – including grape vines and pomegranate and olive trees – along with stories about their origins and cultural heritage. Coffee connoisseurs should head for the Princess of Wales Conservatory, where there’s a chance to see a coffee plantation and learn about the 100 species of coffee now known to science.

Venue name: Kew Gardens
Address: 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: Incl with Kew admission (£16, £14 concs, under-17s free)