Address: Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB


Time: Generally from 10.00am

Time Information:

Phone: +44 (0) 208 332 5000 (office), +44 (0) 208 332 5655 (24hrs)

Entry Price: £15 for adult


500m from Kew Gardens

2300m from Acton Town

The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew is a 132 hectare (326 acre) site by the River Thames. It’s largely rectangular, being around a mile by half a mile in size.

It started with a red bricked building, built in 1631 for merchant Samuel Fortrey which became a palace when the daughters of King George II moved in. His wife Princess Augusta started the gardens in 1759. Their son George III lived there and his wife Queen Charlotte gave birth to George IV at the palace. From these private beginnings a great public area was created and much of this was down to Augusta’s architect Sir William Chambers, who added 25 ornamental buildings, and Decimus Burton.

Today, it has the largest and most diverse botanical collection in the world and is probably the most important centre of its type with hundreds of scientists, continual projects and one of the largest seed banks to protect species for the future. There are numerous attractions which include three water features – Kew Lake, the Palm House Pond and Water lily Pond and three glasshouse areas. These are the Grade I listed tropical Palm House which was built in 1848 and restored in 1989, the Temperate House that houses plants of a cooler climate, including the world’s biggest indoor plant, and the Princess of Wales Conservatory, named after Princess Augusta, together with nearby Davies Alpine House. There are 39 listed buildings.

A marine section is found below the Palm House and there are 15 gardens. There are seasonal walks that often use the three great vistas and these form a triangular walkway of over half a mile each length. They are the Syon, Cedar and Pagoda Vistas. Other facilities include two art galleries, a library, an exhibition house, an indoor and outdoor kid’s area, two restaurants, two cafes, a treetop walk and a host more. A land train (the Kew Explorer) runs about every 30 mins in the summer and there are also free guided tours for visitors.

It’s a World Heritage Site and you’d do well to see all in a day.

On a warm, sunny day, this must be one of the most enjoyable landmarks in London.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.