One of Britain’s most vibrant and glorious nature-focused attractions, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are a perfect place to visit for all lovers of the great outdoors and those wishing to see some of the rarest blooms in the whole world during their visit to the English capital.
Stunning attractions at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Home to more than one million species of plants and flowers from around the world, the important work that is carried out at Kew helps to safeguard and better understand the flora of this precious planet.
Visitors can walk through the many biomes that have been specifically created at the gardens to provide a stable and authentic habitat for each of these species, while at the same time learning about the important history and conservation efforts that go into making the gardens possible.
It is not just the outstanding array of rare plants that the gardens have to offer though, as there are also a number of excellent individual attractions that visitors will not want to miss during their time here, such as:
The Hive: A unique and critically-acclaimed structure built in the heart of the gardens, The Hive was inspired by scientific research into the lives of bees and was designed by UK-based artist Wolfgang Buttress. It offers multi-sensory elements to intrigue and entice visitors, aiming to provide insight for guests into what life would be like as part of a thriving colony.
Marianne North Gallery: Restored as part of a £1.8 million renovation in 2008, the Marianne North Gallery features each of this prolific painter’s 833 works that were created during her lifetime. Showcasing the breadth and talent of her works, the gallery is a recent and stunning addition to the gardens’ list of standout attractions.
Queen Charlotte’s Cottage: Built in the late 18th century, the cottage is a one-storey building located at the edge of the area known as the New Menagerie. Queen Charlotte’s Cottage derives its name from the building being a popular retreat for George III and was awarded to Queen Charlotte as part of their marriage settlement.
Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Arts: Home to some of the world’s earliest illustrations of botany, the gallery is a treasure trove of exquisite illustrations, artworks and drawings of botanical works. The collection at Kew extends beyond 20,000 pieces, with many of the best works on display here.
Treetop Walkway: Located in the Arboretum of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Treetop Walkway offers spectacular views of the gardens below. Stretching for 200 metres and standing at more than 18 metres tall, it was created in 2008 by the team that designed the London Eye and was opened in commemoration of International Biodiversity Day.
Opening times and information for guests
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are open to visitors from 10 am throughout the year. However, closing times vary depending upon the season.
- Spring/summer (March 27th to August 29th) – 6.30 pm weekdays/7.30 pm weekends and bank holidays
- Late summer/autumn (August 30th to October 29th) – 6 pm every day
- Winter (October 30th to February 10th) – 4.15 pm every day
- Early spring (February 11th to May 26th) – 5.30 pm every day
Visitors can also enjoy a range of refreshments and shopping opportunities during their time at the gardens, with the Pavilion Restaurant, Victoria Plaza Cafe, Victoria Plaza Shop and White Peaks Shop all open throughout the year.
How best to reach the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Visitors planning a trip to see the many wonderful sights and attractions of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew can be assured there are a number of simple travel options available, no matter where they are staying in the city.
Individuals keen to make use of London’s extensive Underground network can do just that by heading to Kew Gardens Station, located on the District line and connected to London overground rail services. It is just a 400-metre walk from the station to the Victoria Gate entrance to the gardens.
Meanwhile, bus services to the area operate around the clock and visitors can make their way to both the Lion Gate and Victoria Gate entrances via the Route 65 service. There is also the Route 391 service that stops near Kew Gardens Station, as well as the stop for Routes 237 and 267 at Kew Bridge station.
Motorists keen to drive to this popular attraction are also well catered for in terms of parking, with the gardens clearly signposted from all major routes in the area.
Kew Gardens car park is located near the Brentford Gate and offers space for up to 300 vehicles. However, due to the popularity of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, there is often insufficient spaces for all those wishing to park here.
As a result, motorists are also advised they can make use of free parking after 10 am on Kew Road (A307), with the gardens’ Victoria Gate entrance just a short walk away.
One form of travel that visitors might wish to enjoy during a visit is the River Boat, which operates throughout the summer months and runs from Westminster Pier in the heart of London to the Pier at Kew – located just 500 metres from the Elizabeth Gate entrance.