Kew Gardens: a magnificent botanical garden in West London
Located in southwest London, between Richmond and Kew, Kew Gardens is home to one of the world's largest plant collections over an area of 121 hectares.
This living plant museum, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, is also one of the largest botanical research centers in England.
It is impossible to name all the botanical attractions of the garden, here are the most spectacular and the unmissable ones to discover.
Brief history of Kew Gardens
In 1759, Prince Frederick and Princess Augusta, parents of the future King of England George III, moved to Kew Palace and created a 2 hectare garden around the palace.
They receive the support of Sir John Banks, avid explorer of nature, who has just returned from a trip around the world in the company of James Cook who help them to realize this botanical garden project, by bringing many species of plants. exotic.
What to see in Kew Gardens?
Palm House "the mother of greenhouses"
Built in 1844 by Richard Turner, this Victorian wrought iron greenhouse was a revolutionary innovation at the time. Its vocation was to shelter the tropical plants that the explorers brought back from their distant adventures in Africa, Australia and America.
The spiral staircases and the galleries installed high up allow you to look at the trees up close and admire the magnificent glass roof.
Even today, The Palm House recreates a tropical forest climate where palm trees, cocoa trees, coffee trees, sugar cane ...
Finally, in the basement, there are aquariums with multicolored corals and pretty fish.
Temperate House the largest Victorian greenhouse in the world
Twice the size of Palm House, Temperate House is the largest Victorian greenhouse in the world. This 5 m² “cathedral” with 000 glass panels is made up of five buildings aligned in perfect symmetry: two wings attached to a central body by two octagons.
It preserves more than 10 exotic plants - many of which are rare and endangered - from around the world. It is home to temperate plants from Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific Islands.
To take advantage of an overview of the collections; Take the passageway hanging about ten meters high, which is reached by spiral staircases.
Princesse of Wales Conservatory
Inaugurated in 1987 by Diana, Princess of Wales, this greenhouse with modern architecture is compartmentalized into 10 different climatic zones ranging from the desert to the tropical forest. You can observe giant cacti, orchids, and carnivorous plants.
Waterlily House is the warmest and wettest greenhouse in Kew where there is a large pond with varieties of giant water lilies with leaves up to 2m in diameter.
Davies Alpine House
Davies Alpine House was designed to create the cool, dry and windy conditions that alpine plants favor
This greenhouse donated by the Australian government in 1952 to commemorate the visit of the director of Kew Gardens, Australia in 1949 features an interactive exhibition on the evolution of plants.
This royal palace open to the public from April to October, was the summer residence of King George III and is the oldest building in Kew Gardens. Inside is a collection of royal toys including a dollhouse that once belonged to the king's daughters.
The great pagoda
Erected in 1762, this pagoda, 15 m in diameter and 50 m high, is decorated with 80 glass dragon heads.
When to visit Kew Gardens?
De november to january, on the occasion of christmas lights, Palm House is dressed in tens of thousands of twinkling lights. A dazzling spectacle and a good plan to take magnificent photos.
To attend this show collapsed, online reservation required.
En february, Kew Garden hosts the annual Orchid Festival.
Without doubt the ideal season to make the most of the gardens. Events are also offered such as a music festival in July and in September Kew Gardens hosts the marathon Richmond Runfest.
What to do with the kids at Kew Gardens?
The Kew Explorer train
Departures every 30 minutes between 11 a.m. and 16:30 p.m., only during spring and summer. Ticket valid all day and to be purchased in cash directly from the driver.
200m long and 18m high, this walkway offers a spectacular view of the garden and a walk through the tree branches.
Although the park has several restaurants and self-service restaurants, it is also possible to have a picnic and even in the shade!
Practical information and advice
- Free one-hour guided tours are offered every day at 11 a.m. and 14 p.m. Departure from the guides office at Victoria Plaza.
- To find your way around the gardens, don't forget to take the detailed map at the ticket office.
- To make the most of the park, arrive in the morning and spend the day in Kew.
- In good weather, bring water especially if you have children. It is very hot in the greenhouses.
How to book your visit to Kew Gardens?
First of all, I advise you to book your visit on the internet to avoid long queues and have the best price.
To reserve, two alternatives are available to you: the site of GetYourGuide either the site of theGreat Britain Tourist Officewhere you can compare their respective offers.
The visit to Kew Gardens is also included with the London Pass or London Explorer Pass.
Kew Gardens are free for children less than 4 years old.
What are the opening hours of Kew Gardens?
The botanical garden is open every day from 10 a.m. to 00 p.m. Last admission at 19:00 p.m.
Closed on December 24 and 25.
How do I get to Kew Gardens?
The easiest way to go to Kew is by metro (Zone 3), accessible with a Oyster Card or a Travelcard.
The nearest entrance is Victoria Gate, located a 5-minute walk from the tube.
By train with the company South West Trains. Departures from Waterloo station. Info and reservations on the website trainline.
If you have time, you can go to the garden by boat with the company Thames River Boat and visit London and its surroundings along the Thames. Depart from Westminster Pier. Allow about 90 minutes to go to Kew.
Address : Kew- Richmond – Surrey – TW9 3AB London