Kew Gardens was founded in 1759 and houses the World’s most comprehensive plant reference collection. This not only includes 14,000 trees of many species from around the globe but also DNA and Millennium seed banks. First time visitors (like us) realise quite quickly that a single visit is unlikely to allow enough time to fully navigate the 326 acre site and enjoy all that the gardens have to offer.
We visited in early Autumn and covered only around 30% of the well manicured grounds, judging by the map of Kew given to us by a staff member as we queued for entry (only 10 minutes wait). We did however manage to enjoy key attractions such as the Treetop Walkway, which rises almost 60 feet into the air for a close up view of several tree species and long distance views towards central London.
The Palm House was built in 1848 and gives visitors an opportunity to experience a humid tropical rainforest, which includes a giant Cycad which has been housed at Kew for 240 years. An outstanding landmark in the grounds is the 10 storey high Pagoda. The impressive folly was built in 1762 for the founder of the gardens, Princess Augusta.
The well sign posted paths led us to interesting locations such as Japanese Gateway, Redwood Grove and Log Trail. Our visit lasted a little over 4 hours and has wet our appetite to return soon to explore more of the 326 acres. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are easily accessed by public transport, Kew Gardens Station is on the both the ‘District’ (Underground) and ‘Overground’ train lines and is only 5 minutes stroll from the nearest entrance gate to the gardens.
The following images are a sample of what we enjoyed on our first visit but I will update this page with more information and images after our next visit in the near future.