I haven’t posted a travel post in a while but in the summer we had my partner's parents come to stay from Manchester and we had alot of fun going to alot of different places. Since they live so far from London they’ve never got to see some of the more popular attractions so we thought we’d take them on a day out to Kew Gardens! If you haven’t been or aren’t sure what that is, Kew Gardens is one of the most important horticultural sites in the UK, this botanical garden is spread out across over 300 acres and houses over 8 million plants! It first opened in 1840 and it features a whole host of attractions from two huge glasshouses that have an entire jungle safely kept behind its doors as well as a lake, house, giant Japanese pagoda, and miles of grounds to stroll through at any time of the year. Kew is also twinned with Wakehurst Botanical Gardens in Sussex which houses the Millennium Seed Bank; this huge facility houses millions (if not billions) of seeds from all over the world as a scientific record of horticulture and to hopefully battle species loss, I haven’t got to visit there yet but I’d love to at some point.
I’ve always loved Kew Gardens and when we moved to London it was one of the first places I took my partner because I wanted him to experience everything I love about the place, and thankfully, he feels the same way.
So we entered Kew Gardens with our pre-booked tickets (these cost around £17 for a single adult), grabbed a very nice ice cream and headed over to the Palm House, this is one of those large conservatory-like buildings I was talking about, that description really doesn’t do it justice but I’ll leave a picture here for you.
Inside here is a whole host of incredible plants, trees and shrubs from all corners of the planet. BUT, before we made it inside we met this adorable Kew Gardens cat, I didn't catch her name but she was beautiful and very sweet.
Whilst inside the Palm House I spotted a pineapple plant, then I spotted that there was a baby pineapple growing on it!! I’d never seen a pineapple growing before so that was pretty cool.
Once we’d had our fill of the Palm House we headed out and into the Waterlily House, this part usually gets quite busy as it’s very small but if you manage to find a time when it’s quiet it's so serene in here.
Inside this little greenhouse are a huge family of Waterlilies and carnivorous plants. Some of these waterlilies were wide enough to fit an adult (but not hold them above the water!) and all the flowers growing in and around the Lillies made it look like a bit of a paradise.
Outside on the floor the Kew team had rescued a damaged lily pad and had tuned it upside down on the concrete, I couldn’t believe how intricate the underneath was and how much it resembled a human placenta, crazy how all of nature is connected right?!
From the Waterlily House we took a bit of a walk to the Princess of Wales Conservatory, this is arguably my favourite part of the entire gardens as it houses a huge selection of cacti and succulents! If you didn't know, I have a bit of an obsession with owning and caring for cacti and succulents, so much so that I think I have around 15 different plants at home with another 15-20 living at my parents house so this conservatory is everything I dream of as a cactus owner. The conservatory takes you through all the different species as well as a special section just on carnivorous plants from different parts of the world, I always have a great time in this part and there's always something new to see.
We walked from the Princess of Wales Conservatory to a new-ish art installation in the gardens called The Hive, this huge metal structure has thousands of LED lights that blink on and off like worker bees zipping around a hive, you can walk up through the structure and see how the metal has been formed into its unique shape but we chose to stand underneath and listen to the choir of low hums that replicate the sound waves bees produce when in the hive, it was incredible and I've never seen anything like it before or since, they also have a wild garden surrounding it so that they can attract some real bees as well!
And that was about all the pictures I got from our amazing day at Kew Gardens, we finished off our trip at the gift shop (obviously) where I found an amazing book of traditional children's stories from famous authors, it was half price at £12 and I can’t wait to show you when I finally get round to reading it. If you’ve never been to Kew Gardens and get the opportunity I highly suggest you go, it is a HUGE place and although they have a very well laid out map it doesn’t quite prepare you for how vast it really is, they do offer a little land train that goes from sight to sight but I haven’t been on that so I can’t tell you wether it's free or whether it's any good, haha! I try and go to Kew at various points in the year to see how the landscape is changing with the seasons and that's a lovely treat each time I go.
Kew is good for all ages, it has a children’s garden as well as a few play areas, ample seating for those of us who need to rest whilst walking around and it also has some lovely cafes and restaurants dotted around, and although they will be a little on the pricey side alot of the food comes from Kew’s own kitchen garden so you can guarantee its freshness!
The gardens also offers loads of seasonal activities such as a Gruffalo’s Child exhibition, an exhibition on Japan and its native flora, cheese and honey tasting and plenty of special Christmas events on the way too.
I’m hoping we might visit Kew again around Christmas if not then in the new year, hope to see you there!