What to see at Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew Gardens)?

What to see at Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew Gardens)?

Located in London, in the district of Richmond, the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew (Kew Gardens) are the only botanical gardens in the world to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

With an area of ÔÇőÔÇő120 hectares, they have the largest collection of living plants in the world (more than 30,000 species), distributed in 8 greenhouses and galleries - all dedicated to botanical art, research and conservation of plants.

The Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew (Kew Gardens) have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since July 2003. They welcome more than 1 million visitors each year.

History of Royal Botanic Gardens

Until 1840, the Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew Gardens) were a place of royal residence: the White House (also known as Kew House) and Richmond Lodge (also known as Dutch House) were the summer residences of the British royal family.

Passionate about botany, it is to the royal wives that the royal gardens owe their transformation into superb botanical gardens. Queen Caroline and Princess Augusta, for example, introduced the first exotic plants from other countries, brought back by British explorers.

With the help of architect William Chambers, various buildings were erected, such as La Pagode (The Great Pagoda) - 10 storeys high and inspired eastern, which can be seen for miles around.

The famous botanist Joseph Banks also took care of the Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew Gardens) for many years, which also became a center of study and research.

The Pagoda (The Great Pagoda), Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew Gardens)

The gardens were donated to the British government in 1840.

Visit the botanical gardens of Kew

Almost 40 buildings are present in the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew (Kew Gardens): greenhouses, palaces, museums, restaurants, cafes, shops - and a library housing more than 750,000 books!

You will also find:

  • a pagoda (The Great Pagoda): completed in 1762, it is an emblematic symbol of the friendship between England and China.

  • a Japanese garden
  • a Mediterranean garden
  • a lake
  • an art gallery displaying many works by Victorian artists
  • a museum dedicated to the best artistic works on botany
  • Treetop Walkway (created by Marks Barfield Architects, the same agency that designed the London Eye): a 200m footbridge long, perched 18 m high and accessible by lift or by a staircase of 118 steps - which allows you to walk up to the treetops!
  • The Hive: a giant structure representing the relationship between plants and bees.
The Hive, Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew Gardens)

A visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew (Kew Gardens) is appreciable in any season. Whatever the time of year, there are always species of flowering plants:

  • Spring: Queen Charlotte's Cottage Gardens is covered in wild hyacinths - also known as the grape Muscari - and rhododendrons.
  • Summer: blooming roses and water lilies.
  • Autumn: best season to visit the Bruy├Ęre Garden, near La Pagode (The Great Pagoda).
  • Winter: Christmas lights at the Royal Botanic Gardens (Christmas at Kew) and the sound and light show on the Palm House are unmissable events!
Christmas at Kew: sound and light show at the Palm House
Plan a full day to hopefully explore all of the gardens - otherwise you can take a guided tour of the park by shuttle bus!

A garden plan will be given to you at the entrance to the park.

Greenhouses at Royal Botanic Gardens

The greenhouses of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Kew Gardens) are filled with tropical plants - most of which have been there since the park was inaugurated, that is, since several centuries.

There are 4 of them:

  • Temperate House: also imagined by Decimus Burton, it was for many years the largest greenhouse in the world - and today has the largest plant in greenhouse (a Chilean vine from 1846). The plants are classified there according to their geographical affiliation.
  • To see the greenhouse as a whole, use the circular staircase that leads to its roof.
Temperate House, Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew Gardens)
View from the roof of Temperate House, Kew Botanic Gardens (Kew Gardens)
  • Palm House: imagined by Decimus Burton, it was inaugurated in the 19th century - 40 years apart with the Temperate House. It is home to a wide variety of tropical plants from all over the world: Africa, America, Asia, the Pacific, etc. - which coexist with many fruit trees (banana trees, mango trees, papaya trees, etc.) and an impressive collection of palm trees.
  • The basement of the Palm House has a superb aquarium.
  • Princess of Wales Conservatory: this is the largest and newest greenhouse in Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew Gardens) - inaugurated by Princess Diana in 1987. It has 10 climatic zones.

  • Center for Economic Botany: located in the Joseph Banks Building, it is mainly used for research on the economics of botany.
  • Kew's large library occupies the rest of the building.

Royal Botanic Gardens Rates

The ticket price for the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew (Kew Gardens) includes access to all facilities and attractions:

  • Adult: ┬ú12.50
  • Senior (over 60) and disabled: ┬ú11
  • Young (under 25) and student: ┬ú5.75
  • Child (under 17): ┬ú3.50
  • Child (under 4): free

Entry is free with the London Pass and for group members Friends of Kew.

Royal Botanic Gardens Hours

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew (Kew Gardens) are open year round:

  • Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.
  • From Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The last admissions take place 30 minutes before closing.

Like many monuments, museums and attractions, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew are closed on December 25.

Getting to Royal Botanic Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew (Kew Gardens) are located in the district of Richmond: TW9 3AB, London - close to the famous Richmond Park.

To get there, 2 options:

  • Metro: District line, Kew Gardens or Richmond Station stop.
  • Bus: lines 190, 391, 419, R68, 33, 337, 485, 85, 265, K3, 72, 493, 65 and 371.

Close to Royal Botanic Gardens

Take advantage of your visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew (Kew Gardens) to visit:

  • Ham House
  • Hampton Court Palace
  • Marble Hill House
  • Richmond Park
  • Richmond Bridge
  • Twickenham Stadium