The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status in July 2003 due to its work on history and development of garden landscapes and its role in science and plant research. Enjoy these photos and find out about visiting Kew Gardens.
This is the stunning Glasshouse near to the Victoria Gate entrance. At one end you can see the world's oldest pot plant, a Cyrad.
The Palm House is very humid — look up for the high steam jets. The plants are divided into areas of the world. Beware of overhanging plants on the walkways. See the ornately wrought iron spiral staircase up to the gallery and down to the aquatic display. In the basement, you can wear 3D glasses and try 'swimming with plankton'!
Palm House Interior
Wear flat shoes as narrow heels will go through the holes in the grated floor in the Palm House.
Plane Over Lake
Kew Gardens is on the Heathrow Airport flight path. Noisy planes go overhead every few minutes. Initially this is distracting but, honestly, you soon get used to it and stop noticing them.
Xstrata Treetop Walkway
The Xstrata Treetop Walkway opened in May 2008 and at 18 meters high, it offers visitors the chance to explore the tree canopy. (More below.)
The world's largest surviving Victorian glass structure. It took 38 years to build.
As you enter the Main Block there is a 'wow factor'. It has a stunning high ceiling and the plants are huge. It is not uncomfortably hot, like the Palm House. In the center see the world's tallest indoor plant, a Chilean Wine Palm.
The Pagoda was completed in 1762. The ten-storey octagonal structure is 163 ft high (nearly 50 m).
Princess of Wales Conservatory
Opened by Princess of Wales on 28 July 1987, the design now seems rather '80s and dated.
Treehouse Towers opened in 2010 and is a tree-themed outdoor play area for 3-11-year-olds, next to Climbers and Creepers.
Treehouse Towers has space for up to 300 kids to climb up ladders, clamber across rope bridges and slide their way down from the three towers. Each one varies in height and as children scale between them; they'll find each one more of a challenge. The area features giant swings, zip wires, scramble nets, slides and a mountaineering ramp, for families to enjoy, whilst also offering educational opportunities for children to learn about and appreciate trees.
Covering some 5,000 square meters, the Japanese Landscape was designed to complement the Japanese Gateway.
Kew Palace is the smallest and most intimate of the royal palaces. Find out more below...
A visit to Kew Palace firstly means a visit to Kew Gardens as it is located within. Kew Palace was the residence of George II's daughters, then the family home of George III (1760-1820) who lived here with Queen Charlotte and their daughters: Princesses Charlotte, Augusta, and Elizabeth. You will discover it's origins as a rich merchant's house to its time as the royal home of George III and members of his family.
Yes, King George III is the one who went 'mad' and you can find out more about his apparent insanity and more about the actual problem (porphyria) including the shocking 'treatments' his doctors tried.
It's a much more 'cozy' palace than somewhere like Buckingham Palace so it won't take long to visit but it is a nice Georgian building and I enjoyed the People's Library upstairs where I could use touch screens and read books to discover more about the building and its famous residents.
After Queen Charlotte died in 1818 and King George III died in 1820, Kew Palace stood empty. Queen Victoria gave Kew Palace to the nation in 1898 and Historic Royal Palaces now look after the building so the public can visit. The rooms above the ground floor have been left in some unrestored state so we can see how the building was left and abandoned for almost two centuries.
Note, there is no longer an additional charge to visit.
Kew Palace Gardens
Kew Palace has beautiful gardens to the rear.
Queen Charlotte's Cottage
Queen Charlotte (1744-1818) used this as her summerhouse to picnic with her family.
Davies Alpine House
Bizarre glass structure, reminiscent of the new Wembley Stadium.
Beware of the wet floor from the noisy waterfall. This area is meant for kids so they can learn about plant evolution.
This was designed for the giant waterlily (Victoria amazonica) but it never thrived there. A close relative, Victoria cruziana, inhabits the pond instead.
This is a bit surreal as it's grown sideways. From China, it is grown in Buddhist Temple grounds.