Tuesday, 26 July 2011

An Afternoon in Kew Gardens

On Sunday we visited Kew Gardens.  Kew Gardens is located between Richmond and Kew in south-west London and is one of the leading botanical gardens in the world.  The site itself is massive at 132 hectares and it is the type of place that you need to visit several times as you can’t possibly see everything in one day. 

In order to plan your visit around the landscaped gardens and botanical glasshouses, Kew Gardens offer a free mobile app that you can access by searching for “Kew” in your app store.  They also have free Wi-fi hotspots throughout the site (with no tricky sign-up protocols either) so it really does make getting around the site easier.

All of this was important during this visit to Kew as it was absolutely belting it down with rain.  We’d already postponed our visit a month ago because of the rain so we decided to push ahead with the visit on Sunday.  It was the type of rain that leaves you drenched regardless of your raincoats and umbrellas so we were thankful of the ability to rush from one glasshouse to the next.

When we arrived, we headed straight for the White Peaks Cafe and Shop.  We had yummy tea and cake and I was impressed with how spacious and push chair-friendly the cafe is.  In fact, the whole of Kew Gardens is child-friendly and my little 13-month-old companion certainly enjoyed himself.

Princess of Wales Conservatory Kew Gardens

We visited the modern Princess of Wales Conservatory next.  The conservatory was opened by Diana, Princess of Wales on 28 July 1987 but it actually commemorates Princess Augusta who married Frederick, Prince of Wales, in 1736 and who founded the Gardens. 

The conservatory has ten climatic zones and houses an aquatic display too.  My favourite part of the display was the lilies.

Water lilies in Princess of Wales Conservatory Kew Gardens

Next, we visited the beautiful Victorian buildings that house the Palm House.  On the way there, we stopped to feed the swans in the pond outside the Palm House and admired the parterre looking out over the pond towards the Plants & People Exhibition.  The parterre are a series of intricately patterned geometric beds that were created around the Palm House by William Andrews Nesfield when construction of the Palm House was completed in 1848.

Outside the Palm House

It might surprise you to find out that The Palm House was full of palms.  It was really lovely in there and there were palms from Africa and Australasia in there so I felt quite at home.  I really loved the structure of the Palm House itself, with the intricate steel and glass details and the winding staircase up the middle. 

The Palm House Kew Gardens

There is a really nice tropical marine display in the lower level which we enjoyed.

We certainly didn’t spend as much time as we would have liked to at Kew Gardens and it is a pity that the weather was so miserable.  We felt that we had only seen one corner of the site and would have loved to have seen the wildlife conservation area in the north-west corner, or the Japanese gateway and pagoda in the south-west corner. 

There is also a wide range of photography exhibitions, a contemporary art show, free guided tours and hands-on sessions going on and you can read more about that at the Kew Gardens website.  Kew Gardens opens at 9:30 am every day.  The cost is £13.90 for adults and £11.90 for students and senior citizens.  Children under 17 go free.

I’d like to thank Frida from 247social.co.uk and Kew Gardens for inviting the five of us to visit Kew Gardens.  It was fun and we’d certainly visit again.

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25 comments

  1. I do like Kew Gardens. We have membership, so we visit several times a year. It's very local to us (we live in Kew).

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  2. It is interesting that the Palm House was built way back in the 1840s, and is famous because it was the first large-scale building made largely from wrought iron. Not surprisingly it became a model for everybody else in Europe.

    But what happened to the parterre? You mentioned that they were created around the Palm House soon after its completion, in 1848. But I had never heard of them, until I tripped over them by accident. Perhaps the wrought iron and glass extravaganza was sexier.

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  3. It's been some years since my last visit to Kew Gardens, but it is a gorgeous place, I could spend hours there just chilling out. Love the way you've grouped the photos together ;)

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  4. Not getting out to Kew is one of my major regrets from my London sojourn. Definitely on the list for any return visits. Thanks for reminding me!

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  5. Another beautiful journey from you, Emm! What a lovely place. It seems like a place you can return to time and time again and discover something new. When you do, I hope you take us along!

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  6. I've been wanting to go for ages. Must make it there before summer is over.

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  7. Superbe visite...
    Une très belle promenade,
    Merci Emm !
    Belle journée,

    Pierre

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  8. Kew Gardens are indeed a fantastic place. When I was there a few weeks ago, I was bit luckier with the weather, there was only a couple of light showers. I managed to see a lot of the outdoor areas, but never had enough time to see inside any of the Conservatories, which was a shame, but there is always next time...

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  9. Wow...so fab Emm..a truly beautiful place..I love the magical photos..so beautiful! I always enjoy your posts...full of a unique world I don't get to see!I so appreciate that! You rock..

    And yay...thanks for your awesome comments as always..I'd love to see you sketches ,,they sound very powerful and amazing! Shine on kindred!
    kiki

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  10. Hi Emm - glad you enjoyed your day at Kew. My wife and I went there a few years back. A return journey will be on the cards one day when my son has grown out of pirates and knights!

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  11. This really looks like a paradise for all the lovers of everything green out-there and a nice change for someone who got a bit bored with London parks.

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  12. I love going to gardens. I have never been to London before and the images you posted look so beautiful.

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  13. I've watched countless TV programmes featuring Kew Gardens but have never visited personally. Glad you had such a fantastic time.

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  14. I like how you think, go to the cafe first for goodies to give you more energy to walk around. Such a lovely place! It kind of reminds me of the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco, but nowhere near as big as Kew Gardens.

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  15. I've been to several botanical gardens but nothing as lovely as Kew Gardens. The Lily garden would have been my favorite as well, as lilies and orchids are my favorite flowers.

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  16. Kew Garden is nice but even nicer is cycling around the area.

    Richmond and Wimbledon areas are like a fresh breath of mint, especially when squeezed between horrible areas like Hounslow and the notorious Brixton.

    Funny how good and bad areas can be just next to each other.

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  17. Fantastic photos. LOVE the lotus and garden images. Great job Emm!

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  18. The upkeep on a place like that must be massive so my sharp intake of breath at the entry prices was probably unjustified. I've never been because when my sister lived nearby, our offspring were teenagers, and even free entry wouldn't have persuaded them it was worth a visit. :(

    I think they were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site relatively recently.

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  19. We were going to go this weekend but the line was ridiculous. Also, on their website you can play a game and get 2 for 1 admission :) Just print the coupon!

    It was good to see you and Melizza the other day for Turkish food!!

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  20. Looks like a place worth visiting. Great place for the hole family. Beautiful pictures you have taken.

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  21. I didn't see any of these things when I was in London. I did the tours, need I say more? I love that I can come here and really learn about the real places.

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  22. I worked in walking distance to Kew Gardens for two years and I only went there once! Great place, but I think the Palm House must have been closed when I was there (we went late in the arvo). I loved the Japanese house - it was so ornate.

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  23. such a wonderful garden with plenty of great photo ops. the water lilies are so gorgeous.

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  24. Thanks for posting about your visit to Kew Gardens. We’re pleased to hear that you had a lovely day, despite the weather.

    Did you know that we run a Flickr group for the gardens? If you share your photos with us here and geo-tag them, they'll appear in our new garden app.
    http://www.flickr.com/groups/yourkew/

    We look forward to welcoming you again!

    Kew Digital Team

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  25. I love Kew!
    Can spend a whole day there easily!!

    How are you doing Em?
    Hope your area is safe!

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