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.
The stunning glasshouses are favourite strolling spots within the grounds, featuring some impressive Victorian structures – including the largest surviving Victorian glasshouse, known as Temperate House – and some lovely later additions. Inside each of them the climate is maintained to nurture everything from the world’s largest water lilies to delicate Alpine flowers to tropical blooms. (The Temperate House is closed until 2018.)
Those with an adventurous streak, and a head for heights, should climb up to the Tree Top Walkway, which stands at 18 metres tall and winds it’s way through, well, the tree tops. Once you’ve come back to earth, stroll down to the Chinese Pagoda, which was built in 1762 and towers over the southern end of the Gardens.
Given the exceptional upkeep and wide variety of fauna, you’re sure to be inspired. And if the green stuff is doing the trick, try seeking out the sculptures, which feature Henry Moore’s ‘Reclining Mother and Child’ in a stunning setting that changes with the light of each season.
There’s plenty to do at Kew. In fact, the 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/Kew Bridge rail|
|Price:||£15, £14 concs, £3.50 ages 4-16, under-fours free, £19-£34 family. Online: £14, £13, £2.50, £18-£32.|
|Do you own this business?|
Pick a dateto
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 2017
Things to do
Joseph Hooker: Putting plants in their place
British botanist Joseph Hooker was the Galileo of plants. He spent his life studying every petal, stem and behaviour of shrubs and flowers around the world, earning him the title the 'King of Kew'. This exhibition charts his discoveries through botanical...Exhibitions Until Sunday September 17 2017
The Luna Cinema
It's location, location, location with Luna Cinema. The beauty of this touring outdoor cinema is walking into a palace, Royal park or other equally magical location with a picnic just as everyone else is leaving. Luna's most popular venues include Kew...Wednesday June 14 2017 - Thursday September 21 2017
Sculpt at Kew
Gorgeous sculptures in gorgeous gardens: is there any better combo? Over 30 artists working across bronze, ceramics, glass and woodwork will be showing their stuff in this open-to-all exhibition. (FYI: access to the show is included in the general admission...Monday September 18 2017 - Sunday October 15 2017
Average User Rating
4.8 / 5
- 5 star:40
- 4 star:11
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
What a great place to visit on a warm summers day. Absolutely beautiful. There is so much to do and see at Kew Gardens you can easily get lost in your surroundings and spend the whole day admiring all the different plants and architecture.
The cafe there also sell some great quality food!
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.
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.