Kew Gardens is one of those places that I’ve wanted to go to for absolutely ages but never got around to it because the weather wasn’t quite right, or I wasn’t in the mood for a long journey on the tube…
Finally though, I managed to shake off all my excuses and head to south-west London.
And I’m glad I did!
We arrived at Kew Gardens tube stop just before lunch and so hit an all-day Australian brasserie nearby for a dose of avocado, eggs, fresh smoothies and a latte to fuel us up for the day. Antipodea at Kew was just a short walk from the station and had a gorgeous interior – stripped back with wooden panels and overflowing plants. It was as close to the Oz insta pics that you’ll get in London!
After brunch we strolled to Kew, soaking up the incredible sunshine on the way. There was a bit of a queue on arrival but that was expected considering the weather was on our side and that it is a ‘must-do-see’ attraction.
Once in, we found ourselves on the map and began the walk around the stunning grounds. You can navigate yourself around whichever way you wish – along the paths, over the grass or even by hopping onto the land train which gives you a guided tour of Kew’s flora and fauna, historic buildings and conservation work.
G and I chose to wander at our leisure, stopping here and there to sit on the grass and enjoy the views. It was a super hot day and so we needed regular shade stops to reenergise!
We made sure to visit some of the iconic landmarks of Kew on our travels through the grounds, including Temperate House. This is the largest Victorian glasshouse in the world and houses international collections of plants that span Australia, Africa, Asia, Pacific Islands and New Zealand. Not that I am an expert in plants at all, but it was refreshing to walk through overhanging trees and look at beautiful flowers – among them were some of the rarest and most threatened in the world!
The Palm House is another glasshouse, that has a rainforest climate inside to support the tropical plants on show. You could definitely feel the humidity inside and I really felt as though I had stepped into a rainforest with canopy palms towering above me.
Alongside these beautiful structures you can enjoy the Marianne North Gallery which hosts art of botanical themes and The Hive which is a unique, multi-sensory experience designed to highlight the extraordinary life of bees!
One of the most spectacular shows was the Great Broad Walk Borders which is home to over 30,000 plants. It did not quite feel as though we were in London anymore as every breath we took was so fresh and there was open space every time you turned a corner.
There is so much going on at Kew – not only the striking plants but things to do for children and adults alike including eateries, Kew Palace, tours by a giant gnome, treasure hunts, lots of pop-up art exhibitions and an aerial performance by Cirque Bijou in Temperate House. It really is a fab day out and you can make it into whatever experience you like. Because we went on a Sunday G and I had more of a relaxed time, soaking up everything from a distance rather than getting involved with the activities.
I’d really recommend going to Kew if you haven’t already and don’t make excuses for so long like I did. Although it is a bit outside of London, travel is fairly easy and if you make a day of it, it is worth every second! Either enjoy brunch at Antipodea before going in or take a picnic to enjoy in the gardens – it’s your choice!
To find out more or to plan your visit, check out Kew’s website here.