In leafy suburbs of West London lies a historic and important verdant oasis, The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Founded in 1759, the 121 hectare Kew Gardens is the world’s largest collection of living plants. The Garden’s staff of 650 play an important role in the preservation and cataloguing of the world’s plants, the site is also home to a number of historic buildings and formal gardens.
Arranged like a living museum, collections of plants from around the world are gathered into similar types in great Victorian glasshouses; Tropical House is a veritable jungle housing the world’s oldest potted plant, a cycad brought to Kew in 1775. The temperate house is the largest Victorian glass structure in the world and houses plants from around the temperate zone. The herbarium is the world’s largest collection of 7 million specimens for the benefit of taxonomy. Other significant and historical structures include the Pagoda, Chokushi-Mon (Japanese Gateway), The Orangery, Nash Conservatory and Queen Charlotte’s Lodge are all located in various parts of the Gardens. One of the most historically significant buildings open to the public is Kew Palace and and the recently opened Kitchens. The fourth Kew Palace on the site, dates from 1663 and was purchased by King George III, and used by his family and heirs thus forming the humble beginnings of Kew Gardens. Once Queen Victoria ascended the throne in 1837, and moved to Buckingham Palace, she gave Kew to the nation and the foundation of the Royal Botanic Garden was established allowing generations to visit and be inspired by the living museum. I highly recommend a day at The Gardens be on your itinerary if you’re visiting London, it’s a historic, botanic and scenic attraction all in one place.
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is open daily (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) at 0930 and closes 1830 weekdays / 1930 weekends & holidays
Adult admission to The Garden is £16.00, add £6.00 for entry to Kew Palace & Kitchens.
The Gardens are easily accessible by public transport: Kew Gardens Station on the London Underground, (Richmond Branch) District Line is a 5 minute walk, Bus Route 65 stops outside the entrance gate and Route 391 stops at Kew Gardens Station. Trains stop at Kew Bridge, a 10 minute walk.