A Visitor’s Guide to the Royal Botanic Kew Gardens in London, England

If you enjoy visiting gardens, ponds and palaces and have a penchant for horticulture in all of its glory, then Kew Gardens is a place you should consider visiting. Situated conveniently between Kew and Richmond in the southwest corner of London, Kew Gardens is a wonderful place for families or couples to spend the day.

The Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew is situated on 300 acres of land and was created by Lord Capel, and then further enlarged by Princess Augusta. The Chinese pagoda, built in 1761, was built in honor of Princess Augusta and survives to this day.

I found Kew Gardens to be especially beautiful in the Spring, and guests should be aware when traipsing across the verdant meadows that they may encounter numerous peacocks as their companions while roaming the grounds of the gardens.

Kew Gardens was added to the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 2003.

Here are some suggestions of things to see and do at Kew Gardens:

Kew Palace

Kew Palace, a 4 story brick house, was built in 1631 by Samuel Fortrey. The palace was first used by the royal family in 1728 and then was purchased by King George III in 1781 as a nursery for the royal children. Queen Charlotte died at Kew Palace in 1818.

Compost Heap

Fitting for such a place, Kew Gardens has the largest compost heap of anywhere in the world, which is used in the gardens.

The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden began in 1923 in the location that was once the site of King George III’s special lake which was built for the king to sail his swan boat in.

There are 54 rose beds in Kew Garden’s Rose Garden, with each containing a different variety of roses. Hybrid tea, shrub, floribunda and Old English roses are arranged according to the color of their flowers here. A botanic garden will be a highly recommended place for horticulture enthusiasts for research. The information gathered from the research will be beneficial for the person. The identification of the color will offer effective results to the enthusiasts from the garden. 

The Palm House

The Palm House was built over a four year period between 1844 and 1848 by Richard Turner. The Victorian Palm House grows plants that would normally be threatened in the wild and a quarter of the palms housed here are currently experiencing difficulties in the wild. The Palm House also contains plants that are grown for their timber, spices, fibres, medicines, perfumes and fruits.

The Temperate House

The Temperate House was once the largest plant house in the world, and now contains the world’s largest Victorian glass structure.

There are numerous endangered pants here from various island species that are currently growing in The Temperate House so that they can be reintroduced to their native lands. Some of these plants include the Hibiscus Lililiflorus from Rodrigues Island and the Trochetiopsis Erthroxylon from St. Helena.

Other treasures inside the Temperate House are the date palm, tea, quinine, and a large collection of citrus trees. There is also a large collection of trees from Australia with grass trees in it.

The largest indoor plant in the world, the wine palm from Chile, was grown from seed in the center of the Temperate House. The wine palm is now 52 feet high and continues to grow.

The rarest plant of all at Kew Gardens, a cycad, is also here and is one of the last surviving specimens of it in the world.

The Great Pagoda

Built by William Chambers, the Great Pagoda is one of my favorite parts of Kew Gardens and was built in 1762 and is an imitation of the Chinese Ta. The Pagoda is 163 feet high and there are 253 steps in the center of the building.

King William’s Temple

This was built by Sir Jeffry Wyatville in 1837. The temple is made of stone and has a Tuscan portico at both ends. There is a superb collection of Mediterranean shrubs, plants and herbs surrounding King William’s Temple, as well as a collection of rock roses.

The Cherry Walk

Perfect in the Spring, the Cherry Walk starts at the Palm House and ends at the Temperate House and features a collection of various Japanese cherry trees.

Other Themed Gardens

Amongst the numerous theme gardens are the Lilac Garden, the Rock Garden, the Alpine Garden, The Crocus Carpet, the Grass Garden, the Aquatic Garden, the Bonsai House, the Order Beds, the Marine Display, the Berberis Dell, the Mediterranean Garden, the Japanese Landscape, the Holly Walk, the Bamboo Garden, the Rhododendron Dell, the Azalea Garden, the Bee Garden, the Princess of Wales Conservatory: Orchids, the Princess of Wales Conservatory: Ferns and the Princess of Wales Conservatory: Carnivorous Plants.


Written by 

Corine Jones is a writer, editor and web designer. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree of Journalism. She is currently the editorial manager of Coyote Rescue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *