This Summer if there is one place I’d recommend visiting its Kew Gardens. On a glorious sunny Sunday, Danny and I decided to pop down for a look around. It is one place in London I have never been to and with their new restoration finished after five years in the making of the Temperate House, I decided we should spend an afternoon there.
Kew Gardens is just a short walk from Kew Gardens tube and railway station. As you step off into the Kew Gardens village, it just is so pretty and the Royal Botanic Gardens await at the end of the road through the regal looking gate. The gardens are huge, set in 326 acres of landscape, there is plenty to see and it is the perfect place to chill out and enjoy the sunshine.
We got in and headed towards the Palm House, past the lake with plenty of geese, swans and carp fish which seemed to keep the children happy who were playfully feeding the geese. Already I was taken aback by the beautiful plants outside the Palm House. The Palm House is a giant glasshouse, housing plants of the tropical rainforest, so as you would expect it can get pretty steamy in there. The humidity is the first thing that hits you and if you go up the stairwells and walk along the top, well you really feel it hit you. They say heat rises and boy does it in here, the plants must love it but for me, I wouldn’t last long as a plant that’s for sure.
Next up we decided to get some lunch so made our way to The Orangery restaurant, as we walked along the views are incredible and all the flowers and plants are just stunning. The Orangery itself is a grand building and I was pleasantly surprised by the food on offer. Plenty of choices from sandwiches and lighter bites, to the most drool worthy cakes and roast dinners which looked amazing, as well as a wide selection of drinks from soft drinks to bottles of Sancerre. I was so impressed with the food choice and it tasted great too. Not to mention the delicious ice-cream stands dotted around the gardens, I recommend the bubblegum flavour.
After lunch we took a stroll through the secret garden and past The Hive, designed by Wolfgang Buttress and inspired by scientific research this structure helps you discover the life of bees. We then made our way towards the new Temperate House building. What’s great about the gardens is it’s like its own little island and everything seems such a slow space, it’s great.
We passed the Great Pagoda, which isn’t open until July to go up and onto the Temperate House. This is the biggest glasshouse in the world and is divided into seven regions around the world, which you’ll find over 1,500 plant species from four continents and 16 islands. Inside are some of the rarest plants in the world. This restoration took five years and saw 15,000 panes of glass being replaced and scaffolding the equivalent to the length of the M25, so you can understand what a big project this was.
Inside we walked around, there is a mini waterfall and lots of amazing plants to see and we also went up the spiral stairs onto the walkway. Afterwards I was going to go up the Treetop Walkway just across from the house which lets you climb 18 metres high for a bird’s-eye view of the gardens, but I’m not keen on see-thru walkways so I chickened out on that one, but it would be great for the view.
We had such a lovely day in the sunshine, there is so much to see and we never even made it round some of the gardens as it just so huge. Oh well I can save that for next time!
For more info or to book tickets visit www.kew.org.