The Garden Landscape Guide

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

The original gardens were created for Augusta, Princess of Wales around her home, Kew Palace. She was much helped by Sir William Chambers who was influenced by oriental gardening and designed the Chinese pagoda in the grounds and other buildings. The estate was acquired by the nation in 1841 and enlarged to become a place for the scientific study of horticulture. It now contains the largest collection of plants in the world with tropical and sub-tropical plants being kept in appropriate conditions in magnificent Victorian glasshouses. The variety of plants is overwhelming but Kew has a magic far above the ordinary run of Victorian plant collections, perhaps because of its size and the underlying but unobtrusive formality of its structure. The Queen's Garden is a faithful copy of a 17th century garden with parterres, sunken garden and pleached alleys.  A new treetop walk by Marks Barfield Architects (who designed the London Eye) opened in May 2008. The walkway is a steel structure, 200m long and 18m high.

Kew, Richmond, Surrey, England, TW9 3AB

All year. Daily except 24th and 25th December. Open 9.30am to 6:30pm (7:30pm weekends) or dusk.

Adult £13.00

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  • over 3 years by Anonymous 1 / 5

    The most unrelaxing gardens I've visited due to the very low flying aeroplanes every minute blasting your ears. I'm sure the actual gardens are brilliant but I didn't stay long enjoy due to the continual annoyance. Would never go again.
  • almost 4 years by London_lover 5 / 5

    Kew may sound expensive, but only it is only adults pay the entry fee. So any one two adults can take any number of children (in reason and well controled manner) into the Gardens.
    So for £13 or £26 for a day out in the fresh air, picnicing, visiting the various glasshouses and events or just wandering around the glorious gardens costs much less than a fiver each. A quarter of the cost to enter a well known local theme or amusement park.
    The food can be a little expensive but it is good and well worth treating yourself, especially in the autumn or on a showery day. So all in all very enjoyable educational, and good value!
  • almost 5 years by Anonymous 5 / 5

    Kew is a fantastic must see botanic garden it is not a garden design site it is a botanic garden so as far as I am concerned the criticism re design is ludicrous Its history dates back 250 + years and the tours are brilliant the history is great Hooker etc
    It has many champion trees the student beds are always of interest Wisley has an entirely different purpose so comparing the 2 is comparing oranges and apples
  • almost 6 years by Kat 5 / 5

    Kew gardens is an absolutely amazing place. Plants and flowers from all over the world, beautiful park land. Excellent for a peaceful day or an educational trip. I have travelled all over the world and it is great to recognize the flowers and plants.
    Kew gardens started as a study of plants and now has evolved into a beautiful place to visit.
    It is very expensive and could be a lot cheaper to encourage families to appreciate the wonders of our world.
    However, it is 5 star as it is a great place to visit. Great place to have a picnic or a cup of tea at one of the cafe/restaurants.
    The gardens change all year round and found that spring and late summer is the most productive time.
  • over 6 years by Charlotte 5 / 5

    It may be expensive, and the parking too, but this is a wonderful garden to visit, particularly in winter. Best to become an annual member if you live in the vicinity because you can return whenever you want and also visit Wakehurst Place, with its amazing Millenium Seedbank.
    There is always something in bloom in the glasshouses;the water lilies are spectacular; the Princess of Wales Conservatory is a great place to take children; and if you like walking, you can't get much better than Kew Gardens - especially in the autumn when the leaves are turning, and spring, when the bluebells are in flower.
  • almost 7 years by Pete 3 / 5

    I'm not sure if its me or its Kew. Lets accept that the plants are magnificent shall we?

    Its expensive? Yup I don't object per se to that but then charging me to park my car......

    It doesn't "feel" like a garden it feels like a museum of plants. To me a really great garden makes me want to pull out a book and sit and soak the atmosphere up. I am sure Kew is the better planted the more interesting the..... but I am more likely to return to Batemans or Pashley. Kew never manages to draw me in the closest it comes, is away from the glass houses by the lake where the gardenmaffia tend to keep away.

    I felt the same way about Wakehurst Place. Amazing, stunning but lacking in soul.
  • over 7 years by Selina Botham 3 / 5

    I think that the children's garden and educational play area (there's even a flower to play in) make Kew a great place to visit with a young family and of course no dogs are allowed so you can even let toddlers toddle without worrying about dog mess! The High tree walkway is also an amazing new attraction for older children.

    As a Garden designer however, I am disappointed that nothing much seems to change in terms of the design of the planting. With RHS Wisley leading the way and commissioning new garden design why doesn't Kew follow suit and give us some new design to inspire us. I really feel that gardens shouldn't just be museums but should be places to be inspired and see new ideas....
  • almost 8 years by Anonymous 5 / 5

    It is not correct to say that there is not a car park, there is right next to one of the entrances.
    I agree that it is costly especially for families but it is competitive with other attractions in London and it is a whole day out.
    A unique world heritage site.
    Take a picnic!
  • almost 8 years by Stan Lovegrove 1 / 5

    Kew is an amazing place however it is spoilt for visitors by being overpriced at £13 [US$26] entrance fees and very high prices inside. Having to pay £7 [US$14] for two ice-creams for my youngsters is in my opinion over the top. To make matters worse there is no car-parking - howe crazy is that?? Surely after all these years the muppets at Kew would have been able to set aside some land [even underground] to make a car park so that visitors can visit - however maybe that would be vastly overpriced as well.

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Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Roy2x Photograph ©
Roy2 Photograph ©
Kew Gardens, Autumn Photograph © Charlotte Weychan
Lily, Kew Gardens Photograph © Charlotte Weychan
Kew Gardens, 2009 Photograph © Charlotte Weychan
Glasshouse, Kew Gardens Photograph © Charlotte Weychan