What to see at Kew Gardens

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Join us for a rundown of some of the top sights and experiences that await you on a visit to Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens is a vast expanse of greenery and beauty located just a stone’s throw from central London (just under 30 minutes on the tube to Victoria in fact). 

Spanning over 320 acres, Kew Gardens is one of the world's most important botanic gardens, sitting at the forefront of horticultural and scientific research and sharing the wonder of the natural world with an array of fascinating plants and recreated landscapes from around the globe. Visitors to Kew Gardens can explore a multitude of attractions, from iconic landmarks to stunning exhibitions, here we take a look at just a few of them… 

Enjoy unlimited access to Kew Gardens and Wakehurst through Boundless membership.Members get unlimited admission as well as 50% off entry for an additional adult, free entry for up to five children and a 10% discount in the Kew shop both online and in store.

The Japanese Landscape

japanese garden kew

First built for the Japan-British Exhibition of 1910, the Japanese Landscape combines a Garden of Peace, a Garden of Activity and a Garden of Harmony, making it an ideal spot for quiet reflection. The main entrance leads into the Garden of Peace, with paths that pass between stone lanterns and a dripping water basin. In the Garden of Activity, a slope symbolises elements of the natural world including waterfalls, mountains and the sea, while traditional raked gravel and large rocks represent the movement of water flowing and tumbling. The Garden of Harmony unites the two landscapes. Japan’s mountain regions are represented by stones and rock outcrops, interplanted with shrubs.

The Treetop Walkway

tree top walkway kew

A favourite among visitors (and it’s easy to see why), the Treetop Walkway at Kew offers a unique perspective on the garden’s some 12,000 trees. The 200-metre walkway stands at 18 metres high, providing excellent views of the surrounding landscape. Built from weathered steel that seamlessly blends with the natural environment, this elevated walkway will see you strolling among the branches of oak, horse chestnut and pine trees (to name just a few). Visitors can also learn about the importance of trees and their role in our ecosystem. Plus, the 188 steps to the top of the walkway are surprisingly manageable, being split across several flights with long landings between each.

The Marianne North Gallery

marianne north gallery kew

If you get tired of exploring the stunning outside spaces Kew has to offer (unlikely, we know) the Marianne North Gallery offers a unique indoor reprieve where the botanical artwork of the prolific Victorian artist Marianne North is showcased. Built in 1882, the gallery features 833 of North's paintings, depicting flora and fauna from around the world, set in an exquisitely appointed interior with beautiful wooden panelling and tiled floors. Visitors can learn about North's life as a solo traveller seeking out the world’s most exotic plants over a 13-year period in the 1860s and 70s.

The Hive

the hive kew

Originally created as the UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo, The Hive is a unique interactive sculpture designed to showcase the importance of bees in our ecosystem. The structure stands at 17 metres tall and features a series of over 1,000 LED lights, 170,000 individual aluminium parts and sounds designed to mimic that of a beehive. Visitors can learn about the role of bees in pollination and the importance of protecting our planet's ecosystems while exploring this awe-inspiring structure.

The Alpine House

the alpine house kew

The newest of the glasshouses at Kew (finished in 2006) the Davies Alpine House is a purpose-built structure that provides the perfect environment for the cultivation of high-altitude plants, replicating their natural growing conditions. As you step inside, you'll be greeted with a dazzling display of mountain flora, ranging from colourful flowers to intricate mosses, ferns, and lichens. The house also features a carefully planned rock garden, which provides a naturalistic backdrop for many of the alpine plants.

The Temperate House

the temperate house kew

Alongside the Palm House (more on that later), the Temperate House is perhaps one of the most iconic buildings found at Kew. Built in 1863, the Temperate House is the world's largest surviving Victorian glasshouse and hosts an impressive collection of rare and exotic plants from around the globe. Visitors can stroll through the various sections of the glasshouse, taking in the incredible beauty of over 10,000 individual plant specimens from temperate climates, including palms, ferns, and cacti from areas like Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific Islands.

The Palm House

the palm house kew

When you picture Kew Gardens in your mind, The Palm House is probably the first structure that comes to mind. Built in 1848 (the first to be completed at Kew) this humid and lush space is filled with rainforest plants some of which are now extinct in the wild. If you’re interested in learning more about some of the rarest plants Kew is home to, click here.

The Princess Of Wales Conservatory

the princess of wales conservatory kew

Another of the newer glasshouses at Kew (completed in 1987) the Princess of Wales Conservatory is one of Kew Gardens' most popular attractions, featuring ten different computer-managed climatic zones including the aquatic plants zone, the desert zone, the wet tropical zone and the orchid display. Visitors can explore the stunning collection of plants and flowers contained in each area such as carnivorous plants like Venus flytraps and pitcher plants as well as bromeliads and giant waterlilies.

Do more with Boundless

Enjoy unlimited access to Kew Gardens and Wakehurst through Boundless membership.Members get unlimited admission as well as 50% off entry for an additional adult, free entry for up to five children and a 10% discount in the Kew shop both online and instore.

Boundless members get free entry to top attractions, discounts on restaurants and savings on high-street brands plus dozens of other deals on holidays, experiences and more! If you're working or retired from the public sector or civil service and not yet a member, discover more about Boundless membership here.  

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