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Visiting Kew Gardens – London, England

By alison - April 28, 2010 (Updated: February 29, 2016)

UNESCO-Listed Kew Gardens in London England

Although I’ve made several trips across the channel to London, England, Friday was the first time I visited Kew Gardens. Although I had been looking forward to it, Kew was even better than I expected.

For starters, it’s enormous; 132 hectares to be exact. There was no way I’d be able to see everything in the few hours I had to spend, so I decided to focus on several attractions and take the time to enjoy exploring and photographing them.

My first stop was the Temperate House. Kew Gardens is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage sites list and the fantastic glass houses are one of the reasons why.

The Temperate House is the world’s largest surviving Victorian glass structure and at 4880 square meters, it is twice the size of the nearby Palm House.

The plantings in the Temperate House are organized by zones that include the Americas, South Africa, Asia, Australasia and New Zealand. The centerpiece is the Chilean wine-palm, the tallest indoor plant in the world. At 16 meters tall, it will soon reach the ceiling.

The Temperate House

The Temperate House

My next stop was the Japanese Garden. I’ve always loved the simplicity and tranquility of Japanese Gardens and the one at Kew is stunning. The centerpiece is the Chokushi-Mon or Gateway of the Imperial Messenger, which was built for the Japan-British Exhibition in 1910. Surrounding it are carefully clipped shrubs, blooming beside pebble paths that represent running water.

This time of year, is particularly lovely in the Japanese Garden, as the cherry blossoms are blooming. When there is a light breeze the petals blow around in the wind. It feels like being inside a Japanese snow-globe.

The Japanese Gardens at Kew

The Japanese Gardens at Kew

The Waterlily House contains one of my favourite collections at Kew Gardens. The house was built in 1852 to contain the giant Amazonian water lily Victoria amazonica. Seeing these enormous lily pads in bloom is a spectacular sight.

Nymphaea Carpentariae X violacea Waterlily Blooming in Kew Gardens

Nymphaea Carpentariae X violacea Waterlily Blooming in Kew Gardens

Beside the Waterlily House is the Palm House, my final stop for the day. The Palm House is another stunning piece of architecture that has been restored and was re-opened in 1990.

Although the giant palm trees are the star exhibit, the Palm House is filled with all sorts of plants from tropical regions, many of which are useful in medicines, perfumes, and fibers as well as for their fruits and spices.

Palm leaf with water drops

Palm leaf with water drops

The basement of the Palm House contains an aquarium featuring marine plants and the fish and other sea-life that depend on them for survival.

Although I spent hours at Kew Gardens, I feel I hardly scratched the surface of this magical place and I plan to return soon to continue exploring.

Here are a few more of my favourite photos from Kew Gardens:

Flower Parterres in front of the Palm House

Flower Parterres in front of the Palm House
Erica 'Helene'

Erica ‘Helene’
Isopogon Dawsonii or Nepean Cone Bush

Isopogon Dawsonii or Nepean Cone Bush
Angiozanthos flavidus or Evergreen Kangaroo Paw

Angiozanthos flavidus or Evergreen Kangaroo Paw
Grevillea rosmarinifolia (Rosemary Grevillea)

Grevillea rosmarinifolia (Rosemary Grevillea)
Clivia miniata Citrina (commonly known as Kaffir lily or Bush lily)

Clivia miniata Citrina (commonly known as Kaffir lily or Bush lily)
Iris confusa also known as the Bamboo iris

Iris confusa also known as the Bamboo iris

Reaching Kew Gardens is an easy trip from central London. Simply catch the District Line tube in the direction of Richmond and the Kew Gardens station is a five-minute walk from the entrance gate to the park. Admission is around 13£ and annual passes are available.

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Alison

Alison

Big Cheese at CheeseWeb
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of Cheeseweb.eu. She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
Alison
Cheese + Goats = My personal heaven. We discover an oasis in the cheese desert. https://t.co/Os8U86UEiX - 5 days ago

5 comments

  1. Comment by Mom

    Mom April 28, 2010 at 16:15

    I’ve just added this to my list of places I want to see on our next visit :)Lovely photos!

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  3. Comment by Alison

    Alison April 28, 2010 at 16:44

    You would love it! (I have another one I’ll be writing about soon that should also be on the list). Plus, if we go to London, Dad can finally take the Chunnel 🙂

  4. Comment by Carolyn

    Carolyn April 29, 2010 at 13:58

    I just discovered your blog (via Sion’s wonderful paris (im)perfect) – wow, what fabulous photographs of Kew Gardens!

    My partner and I were there last year; found it a bit pricey, particularly in comparison to London’s wonderful free parks, but I agree it’s a beautiful place. Your post makes me want to revisit it despite the 13 pound entry fees.

    Cheers from Sydney (and sometimes Paris) and I look forward to exploring your blog (and admiring more of your photos!).

    Carolyn
    My Sydney Paris Life

    P.S. here’s a link to the post I wrote about Kew in case of interest http://mysydneyparislife.wordpress.com/2009/05/03/to-kew-or-not-to-kew-a-comparison-of-two-days-in-london/

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison April 29, 2010 at 14:11

      Hi Carolyn! Welcome to CheeseWeb 🙂 You’re right, Kew is pricey when so many things in London are free like the parks and museums. I do have to say that in comparison to most gardens of this scale I’ve been to in Europe, it’s pretty much on par in terms of cost. If I lived closer I would definitely go for a season pass, but that’s just me and my garden obsession 🙂 I’m off to add your blog to my RSS so I can catch up. Sydney is definitely on my must visit list! Hope you stop by CW again 🙂

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