Visit: Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens is an incredibly important and scientifically significant place – the Millenium Seed Bank which has a mission to conserve 25% of the world’s plant species by 2020.

LocationLondon Borough of Richmond upon Thames, England
Opened1759

Fun facts

  • Kew Gardens has its own police force, Kew Constabulary, which has been in operation since 1847.
  • It has the only tube stop with its own pub
  • The world’s oldest pot plant is found there

My grandmother used to go regularly when she was younger and it only cost her sixpence entry!

The particulars

  • £17 each for adults, we got a 2 for 1 voucher with Grow Wild
  • Opens at 10, closes at 7 (or earlier Autumn/Winter)
  • £7 parking all day, Ferry Lane car park at Brentford Gate (TW9 3AF)
  • Took us about an hour from Oxford
  • Make sure to arrive quite early if you’re driving (10- 10.30) as the car park is quite small
  • We walked about 15k and were there about 7 hours and still didn’t see everything so there is plenty to do. We left feeling quite tired
  • You can leave for lunch – go out the Victoria Gate (speak to one of the staff members)  and 4 mins walk you will find a cafe, Starbucks and Tesco. The food inside Kew was quite expensive (£5.50 for a sausage roll) and the queues long!
  • Water points all the way round so take a bottle to fill up
  • Lots to do for kids

My favourites

  • Marianne North gallery 

Marianne produced 832 amazing paintings in 17 countries and collected wood samples from around the world which are all carefully labelled in this gallery.She commissioned the building of the gallery and & paid for the construction opened in 1882

 

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Photo: Kew Gardens website as no photos allowed inside!

  • Treetop walkway

Not for those scared of heights. This gives you a great idea of the scale of trees and you are right among the treetops. Lots of steps so be prepared.

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  • Princess of Wales conservatory 

This was my favourite of the three glass houses and is the biggest. The plants are from 10 different climate zones

Other sights:

  • Shirley Sherwood Gallery 

Beautiful collection of botanical drawings.

  • Temperate House 

This has been recently restored, the plants look much better from above than ground level in my opinion.There are huge boiler rooms underneath which keep it warm.

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  • The Hive

Learn about the extraordinary life of bees in an interactive display.

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  • Palm House

This is very warm and wet inside!  The world’s most important surviving Victorian glass and iron structure.

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  • Pagado & Japanese gate 

Built in 1762 by Chambers who was one of the only people to have seen similar structures in China. This has also been recently restored.

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When to go

We went in mid May and there was lots of blossom, wisteria, and still some bluebells. Everything was very green. Spring – Autumn is probably best but there are glasshouses with plants year round.

  • April / May -when the thousands of rhododendrens, azaeleas & daffodils are out
  • June / July – roses  (flower til November)
  • October – autumnal colours

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Visit my post about my visit to Oxford’s Botanic Garden

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