Kew Gardens is a botanic garden in southwest London that houses the "largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world".
Kew is an ideal place for all ages. Smaller kids will get lots out of exploring and unstructured play as well as experiencing the different environments in the hot glasshouses. There's lots of information on plants and plant biology for older children to get stuck into as well.
Founded in 1840, from the exotic garden at Kew Park in Middlesex, England, its living collections includes some of the 27,000 taxa curated by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, while the herbarium, which is one of the largest in the world, has over 8.5 million preserved plant and fungal specimens. The library contains more than 750,000 volumes, and the illustrations collection contains more than 175,000 prints and drawings of plants. It is one of London's top tourist attractions and is a World Heritage Site.
11 MUST SEE ATTRACTIONS AT KEW GARDENS
Children's garden is a fun, interactive space to climb, run, jump and explore everything that a plant needs to grow.
Exciting new garden is especially designed for children from 2 to 12 years old. Based in a natural setting the size of 40 tennis courts, children can explore all the things plants need to grow; earth, air, sun and water. Over 100 mature trees are spread over this beautiful landscape, with hidden treasures and adventures around every corner, leading to a 4m high canopy walk wrapped around a 200-year-old oak in the heart of the Children's Garden.
To make sure that everyone has the space to play and explore safely, there is a limit the number of visitors that can access the garden at any one time. As a result, on busy days visitors have had to queue for a timeslot, and it’s been difficult for visitors arriving later in the day to access the garden.
To make it easier there are available online booking for the Children’s Garden. This will allow people to select a 90-minute timeslot in advance of their visit (at no extra cost). Tickets will then be scanned either from paper or a mobile device upon entry to the Children’s Garden.
A canopy walkway, opened in 2008, takes visitors on a 200 metres (660 ft) walk 18 metres (59 ft) above the ground, in the tree canopy of a woodland glade. Visitors can ascend and descend by stairs and by a lift. The walkway floor is perforated metal and flexes under foot; the entire structure sways in the wind.
The Palm House was the result of cooperation between architect Decimus Burton and iron founder Richard Turner, and continues upon the glass house design principles developed by John Claudius Loudon and Joseph Paxton. A space frame of wrought iron arches, held together by horizontal tubular structures containing long prestressed cables,supports glass panes which were originally tinted green with copper oxide to reduce the significant heating effect. The 19 metres (62 ft) high central nave is surrounded by a walkway at 9 metres (30 ft) height, allowing visitors a closer look upon the palm tree crowns. In front of the Palm House on the east side are the Queen's Beasts, ten statues of animals bearing shields. They are Portland stone replicas of originals done by James Woodford and were placed here in 1958.
The Waterlily House is the hottest and most humid of the houses at Kew and contains a large pond with varieties of water lily, surrounded by a display of economically important heat-loving plants. It closes during the winter months.
It was built to house Victoria amazonica, the largest of the water lily family Nymphaeaceae. This plant was originally transported to Kew in phials of clean water and arrived in February 1849, after several prior attempts to transport seeds and roots had failed. Although various other members of Nymphaeaceae grew well, the house did not suit the Victoria, purportedly because of a poor ventilation system, and this specimen was moved to another, smaller, house (Victoria amazonica House No. 10).
Kew Palace is the smallest of the British royal palaces.The construction method is known as Flemish bond and involves laying the bricks with long and short sides alternating. This and the gabled front give the construction a Dutch appearance.
To the rear of the building is the "Queen's Garden" which includes a collection of plants believed to have medicinal qualities. Only plants that were extant in England by the 17th century are grown in the garden.
In front of the palace is a sundial, which was given to Kew Gardens in 1959 to commemorate a royal visit. It was sculpted by Martin Holden and is a replica of one by Thomas Tompion, a celebrated 17th-century clockmaker, which had been sited near the surviving palace building since 1832 to mark the site of James Bradley's observations leading to his discovery of the aberration of light.
The Royal Kitchens
Visitors are given exclusive access behind the scenes and they see the preparations for royal banquets in the newly refurbished Royal Kitchen, which boasts one of Europe's largest collections of copperware.
The Royal Kitchen is equipped and furnished as it was in Christian X’s day. More specifically, visitors can follow the preparations for a gala dinner to mark the king's Silver Jubilee on the 15th of May 1937, which was the largest royal banquet to be held for 90 years and catered for 275 guests.
The Sackler Crossing bridge, made of granite and bronze, opened in May 2006. Designed by Buro Happold and John Pawson, it crosses the lake and is named in honour of philanthropists Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler.
The minimalist-styled bridge is designed as a sweeping double curve of black granite. The sides of the bridge are formed of bronze posts that give the impression, from certain angles, of forming a solid wall while, from others, and to those on the bridge, they are clearly individual entities that allow a view of the water beyond.
The bridge forms part of a path designed to encourage visitors to visit more of the gardens than had hitherto been popular and connects the two art galleries, via the Temperate and Evolution Houses and the woodland glade, to the Minka House and the Bamboo Garden.
Explore collection of 14,000 trees, a unique living landscape shaped by the seasons.
A journey inside this unique collection is a chance to experience the beauty and diversity of forests around the globe.
The 14,000 trees rooted here represent more than 2,000 species, including rare and ancient varieties. This great collection contains trees as old as the Gardens themselves, many that cannot be found anywhere else in Britain.
Every tree planted here is a source of knowledge, helping conserve the habitats of beloved native trees and protect some of the world’s most fascinating species at risk from deforestation.
Queen Charlotte's Cottage
Within the conservation area is a cottage that was built sometime before 1771 for Queen Charlotte by her husband George III. It has been restored by Historic Royal Palaces and is separately administered by them. It is open to the public on weekends and bank holidays during the summer.
ACCESS AND TRANSPORT
Young person (17 - 25) £7.25
Children (16 and under) Free
Tickets are cheaper if bought online rather than at one of the entrance gates.
The distance between Kew Bridge Station and Kew Gardens (Station) is 3194 feet. How do I travel from Kew Bridge Station to Kew Gardens (Station) without a car? The best way to get from Kew Bridge Station to Kew Gardens (Station) without a car is to line 391 bus which takes 5 min and costs £2.
Kew Gardens is accessible by a number of gates. Currently, there are four gates into Kew Gardens that are open to the public: the Elizabeth Gate, which is situated at the west end of Kew Green, and was originally called the Main Gate, the Brentford Gate, which faces the River Thames; the Victoria Gate , situated in Kew Road.
YOU SHOULD KNOW :
Can you take food to Kew Gardens?
However picnics are allowed on all the grassy areas in Kew. If you decide to take a picnic to eat as you wander around, then you could head to one of the many cafes or restaurants for a hot drink instead.
How long do you need at Kew Gardens?
It is suggested that most people take around three hours to explore the whole of the length of the Gardens. (It is about one mile across and takes about 40 minutes to walk across.) If you have time, spend the whole day at Kew.
Enjoy your holiday leading the way on an adventure around Kew Gardens. It will be memorable for everyone!