Kew Gardens has been on my list of things to do in London for such a long time. I’ve visited the nearby Richmond a number of times, but have never once visited Kew. My mum bought me and my boyfriend a Virgin Experience Days voucher for Christmas, and this week was the last time we could use it before jetting off to South East Asia. There is so much to see and do in Kew Gardens and on your first visit it may be a little overwhelming. So to help you out here are my highlights from my day there. Just a note, the Palace, The Hive, Temperate House and the Great Pagoda were all closed on the day of our visit for refurbishment, but despite this we still got to see so much.
The Palm House is just one of the iconic Victorian glasshouses in Kew Gardens. It contains a collections of tropical plants from around the world. As soon as you walk in you’ll be hit by the warmth and humidity of the greenhouse, and forget trying to take photos on a camera (the steam will just keep appearing). From the ground you can learn about the different trees and plants housed there, and from the top of the beautiful winding staircase, you’ll be able to appreciate the sheer scale of the greenhouse.
Located close to the Lion Gate entrance of the gardens is the Japanese Landscape. I love Japanese gardens and always find them so relaxing and beautiful and this was no exception. It is made up of three gardens areas- Garden of Peace, Garden of Activity and Garden of Harmony. Each garden was designed to complement the Japanese Gateway (Chokushi-Mon), which is said to be a close replica of the Gate of Nishi Hongan-ji which can be found in Kyoto, Japan.
Marianne North Gallery
The Marianne North Gallery was one of my absolute highlights from Kew Gardens. I’m not a huge art gallery fan, but we decided to pop in just to see what it contained. When we entered the room, we were greeted by hundreds and hundreds of colourful paintings from across the globe.
Marianne set off around the world after the death of her father and spent fifteen years producing these incredible paintings. She painted the plants, animals and inhabitants from India, Australia, America and so many more exotic locations. Be sure to take a close look at her paintings, her signature is hidden within the landscapes she painted, some so well hidden we were unsure if they were even signed.
Princess of Wales Conservatory
The Princess of Wales Conservatory is smaller, and less prominent than Palm House, but that doesn’t make it any less spectacular. It’s made up of ten different climate zones, and housed within this are orchids, cacti and even Venus Flytraps. The dry and wet tropics are the main zones in the conservatory and are located at the southern and northern ends of the glasshouse. You’ll also find a small marine life section, which contains a yellow-banded poison dart frog and a piranha too.
I would definitely recommend a trip to Kew Gardens this spring. As many of the highlights were closed for restoration during our visit it may be worth checking the website or giving them a call to see what will be open on the date of your trip.
Until next time.