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 and Kew Gardens for inviting the five of us to visit Kew Gardens.  It was fun and we’d certainly visit again.

Roa’s Crane

Roa's Crane

This is street artist Roa’s Crane on Hanbury Street in London.  This is his biggest work yet and the story goes that he laid down the whitewash for a stork but that a restaurant owner remarked that it looked like a crane.  The crane is revered in Bangladeshi culture and thus the crane was born. 

Once he had painted the white background, he sketched in the detail.  I’d really recommend that you click on either of these photos to see the detail because this work really is exquisite.

Roa's Crane (detail)

I liked this story of the cranes for three reasons:

  • The blue crane is the national bird of South Africa
  • My favourite band for several years was Cranes
  • My original online handle for nearly a decade was Crane

I saw this piece of street art on a recent Alternative London walking tour.  The tour was free of charge and fascinating and I’ll be sure to upload more of my photos in a future post.

Beaumaris, Anglesey


Beaumaris Castle is on the Isle of Anglesey, a little island which lies just off the coast of north-east Wales.  It is a thirteenth century castle built as part of King Edward I's campaign to conquer north Wales but it was never finished.  Beaumaris Castle was the first of three castles that we visited during our short break to Wales at the end of June.

Perhaps in my last post on Time and Travel I should have mentioned what happens when you get back from holiday.  How time just seems to get sucked into a vacuum as you hit the ground running and try to catch up with your life.

I have been unbelievably busy since I returned from Wales and here are just some of the items I have squeezed into ten short days when I should have been blogging: The Wireless Festival at Hyde Park; a tasting of the new Zizzi summer menu; an Alternative London Walk with Melizza from Sifting Through…; and a Fourth of July Party at Melizza’s north London flat. 

It has been wonderful to be so busy but at the same time, I just didn’t feel like blogging at Emm in London (shhh, don’t tell my blog I said that!).  It is a pity too, because my blog turned three-years-old a week ago and I should have celebrated just a little.  I guess it is important to remember sometimes that if the purpose of your blog is to keep track of the life you are living, you are going to need to live your life sometimes!

I’m going to take it slowly and go back to posting just over once a week.  That enables me to stay sane and to keep up to date with my blog roll and comments too.