Kew gardens, also known as the Royal botanic gardens, is set in 300 acres of land in the London borough of Richmond and is home to the largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world.
I had last visited Kew gardens 10 years ago with my eldest son on a school trip and had vague memories of sweating in a giant green house. This experience was pretty much the same only I just had the responsibility of supervising one 12 year old (The youngest son who reluctantly joined me) and we were free to roam wherever we liked.
Armed with the map of the gardens it reminded me of a theme park for nature lovers as opposed to thrill seekers, I’ve definitely become more of the latter over the years! The park has different attractions dotted around and because we arrived quite late in the day we headed towards the right to see how much we could fit in.
The palm house is a Victorian glasshouse and is home to some unique palms and tropical plants from the warmer climates of Africa and America. It is very warm as you walk in but if you venture up the spiral staircase you have to start removing items of clothing and wiping the steamed up lens of the camera as it is so hot!
We left at the rear exit of the palm house to sit and admire the rose gardens while we cooled off for a bit before heading towards the Hive via the broad walk.
The broad walk
The great broad walk is a stretch of 320 metre pathway with double herbaceous borders described as an ornamental promenade.
It is so much nicer walking from one attraction to another when there are pretty things to look at on the way!
One of the things I was mostly looking forward to seeing at Kew was The Hive. Described as an immersive sound and visual experience, it was designed to give humans an insight into what it is like for a honeybee inside the hive. As it was a sunny summers day with lots of visitors the hive was definitely buzzing and although there isn’t anything to do inside it I did really like the experience.
Princess of Wales conservatory
Described as one of the most complex glasshouses, this conservatory contains ten different environments and houses all sorts of exotic plants. The conservatory commemorates Princess Augusta, who founded the Gardens and it was opened by Diana, Princess of Wales, in July 1987.
Davis Alpine house
This innovative, award winning structure is home to the alpine plants. The design enables it to create the cool, dry and windy conditions that alpine plants favour and this glasshouse is surrounded by beautiful scenery of rock gardens and waterfalls.
There were so many more places within the gardens that we didn’t get to explore including the creepers and climbers and the treetop walkway, I suppose this means we will have to take another visit again soon!
When I asked my children if they wanted to join me on a trip to Kew gardens they all refused, my daughter even decided that she would rather revise for her GCSE’s (which are not until next year May) than come with me. My 12 year old wasn’t very enthusiastic about the trip but came anyway and upon leaving the gardens he declared that when he is older he is going to buy me a house in Kew and get a membership card so we can visit everyday… I think that is a result!