There are so many really fun and exciting day trips you can take when you live in London by car, train, and even on the Tube. Kew Gardens, which I shared a few months ago about the special Chihuly Glass exhibit, is one of those day trips accessible on the subway. Granted, it is not a free attraction like Bath, Cambridge, or Oxford but with the diminished price of travel when you factor in the admission ticket to the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew (£17 or $21) it all evens out.
The gardens are not just flowers, they actually have the largest Victorian glasshouse in the world has reopened and the Palm House is definitely a tropical oasis, though very warm on a Summer day. (In the palm house make sure you take a trip around the upper perimeter, accessible by some beautiful wrought iron spiral staircases). While the green houses were quite pretty and definitely lush my favorite was the Hive. The construction reminded me of some of the pieces of art I saw at the Storm King Art Center back in New York and I enojoyed it from every angle. It is 17 meters high (56 feet) and it quickly became my favorite when I realized the metal strucutre with it’s 1,000 LED lights was connected to an actual behive and that is what powers the light display, in real time.
I also liked the Palace, though as palaces go it was a bit underwhemling. Granted, this British royal palace, aptly named Kew Palace, was built in Kew Gardens in 1631. It is not that large but the rooms that are open to the public were redone in 2006 and restored to how they were under the last royal occupation in the late 1700’s (you can read more here). I would not head to the park just for the Palace but if you are there, it is worth taking a walk through!
I only saw a post after our visit that the average person spends three hours exploring the gardens that was just about how long we sent there thought it is very easy to spend the whole day in all of the different parts, especially if you bring a picnic. Or you can wander like we did – exploring the treetop walkway (nearly 60 feet in the air) and the Kew Palace.
If you are looking for a day trip out of London, highly suggest it, just note it is not open all of the time – from the end of March until the end of October Kew Gardens is open every day from 10am until 6pm. I am definitely planning on going back as I have heard wonderful things about Christmas at Kew, with it’s beautiful lights and illuminations.
Would you visit Kew Gardens?