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Recommended Reviews for Kew Gardens
36 reviews in English
Review from Heather E.
Our first attempt at visiting Kew Gardens was thwarted by the rain, so we came back the next day. The sun came out... it was meant to be! I had no clue that Kew Gardens was so large... and that it cost 14 quid per person. While I would say that I understand the upkeep, I wasn't expecting that. So maybe not the local park that you jog through everyday.
The greenhouse across the pond from the main entrance was closed, so that was a bit disappointing, but we made due. We actually came in from Lion Gate, so we started from one corner and made our way around. We kept missing the chance to join the tour at the various stops, but be aware that it is an additional cost (4 quid per person).
I love how large the park is and how much there is to see. It really is a full day out. Bring a picnic! The treetop walk is nice, but I found it a bit scary (and I am not one that is afraid of heights) because of the mesh walkway... particularly at the round bits, the metal was a bit warped, so when you would walk across, it would warp inward as you went across making it feel like it was giving way under your feet.
We did not go into the palace... not sure that we knew you could go in, but we did stop at one of the cafes because it looked like it was going to rain. The play areas for the children were impressive and I wished that it was socially acceptable for adults to go play on the jungle gym. I enjoyed what looked like a gazebo made out of the branches of a tree that had grown over a frame. I think our favourite part was the Princess of Wales Greenhouse where they have a number of different areas to see different types of plants... and if you go down the stairs, you can see some wildlife.
I think we probably missed the part of the gardens near the river, but literally it was just too much for us to try and cover it all. Go and spend the whole day, even if you don't end up walking around and seeing everything, bring some snacks, something to sit on, and when you get tired of walking, have a rest and enjoy.
Review from Tanya V.
This royal palace and the garden grounds that surround it are perfect to visit when you just want to relax and experience nature.
The palace itself is quite modest as far as royal palaces go, and really only displays about 5 or 6 rooms finished as they were during George and Charlotte's use. But, you also get to see the rooms that are no longer finished, and the uncovered walls show how the home was built in the 17th century with levels and levels of plaster and secret doors and graffiti and stuff.
The royal kitchen building is also on display and it's always interesting to see what royals were eating and who they were hosting at the palace so many years ago.
The gardens are left extremely natural and are completely explorable. Any direction you want to walk, you can. In one corner of the gardens is Charlotte's cottage, which I loved! It's simply a two-story building with a small kitchen and beautiful dining and sitting rooms. It's quite lovely and so peaceful. If I was Charlotte, I would've spent ALL of my time here!
In general, this experience is fantastic for families and royalty lovers. The cafe is A-ok, and the other greenhouse and decorative buildings are interesting and will take a couple of hours to explore. A perfect Sunday afternoon activity.
Review from Amy S.
Kew Gardens is a gorgeous place to spend the day. The garden is divided into different sections depending on the type of plants in the area.
I really enjoyed the Temperate House with the tropical plants and the Treetop walkway with it's amazing views! There was also the conservatory with the butterfly exhibit and the bluebell field. The amount of plant variety and the size of the grounds are just absolutely astounding and I recommend everyone go there. Although... if you can get there on non-rainy day I'm sure you'll enjoy it much more!
Review from Andrea F.
- 0 friends
I attended the preview evening for Christmas at Kew, the Illuminated Trail is absolutely beautiful and the Christmas Market is not the usual 'German Market' but artisans from around the London area with unique items for sale.
Good food and, of course, mulled wine are on offer too. Rides, helterskelter and Father Christmas for the kids (at extra cost) make for a great family evening out.
Review from Jessica Y.
I'm so in love with Kew Gardens.
We came here with our London Pass cards (100% free entry), and ended up spending many happy hours here. While a few sites were under construction, the vast majority was open and awesome. There were things in Kew Gardens that I've never seen in gardens before, like the Xstrata attraction, very vocal peacocks, a water lily house, etc. And even spending hours there, we didn't make it to everything.
This is an attraction that requires a lot of walking. I understand that there was a hop-on-hop-off shuttle, but it ran quite infrequently (once and hour), and didn't hit many of the sites we wanted to see, and so we passed on it.
Definitely keep the map with you--good for general navigating, as well as finding the restrooms/water fountains.
The little town by the train station is charming but small. The Tesco has cheap water (42p/bottle).
Review from Tibo R.
- 1 friend
I went to Kew Gardens not knowing exactly what to expect... I can honestly say I was so delighted that I'll never forget this place !
I had the impression of travelling around the world seeing all these deifferent set ups of plants and trees.
The glass house of the Princess of Whales is superb and some of the plants are just breathtaking.
I arrived at 11am and left when the gardens closed and I would have stayed even longer if I could.
This is a whole day trip that just make you feel like you are on another planet.
Its worth taking a day if you are staying in London for the week end or longer.
It is really an enchanting place
Review from Olga B.
- 337 friends
San Bruno, USA
Good place for the beautiful scenery!
Every season the picture changes, so it's not boring out there :)
Each day you can come, walk without any rush, make incredible photos of nature, enjoy fresh air - yaaay!
The best idea(if you really like that was listed above) - get the membership.
It'll help you to get into the different calm world :)
Review from Yee Gan O.
Kew Gardens is a real gem in London's crown and can be enjoyed in so many ways and on so many levels. To give it its full title, it is the Royal Botanical Gardens and celebrates its 250th anniversary this year.
Outside of the touristy parts, it does have important functions in scientific study, research and training. It is impressive how old some of their trees are and also to read about how they came to Kew. The Gardens are now bearing few scars of the ravaging it received in the great storm of 1987.
Kew Gardens is easily accessible by Tube or there is parking along a few of its entrances. An individual entry ticket costs £13 this year but if you intend to come back, a season ticket is great value at £39. You can really enjoy yourself in a day here but there is so much to explore and the place and views change with the seasons, so there will always be more to see with recurrent visits.
There are always floral beds to admire and lots of wildlife wandering free. Just be aware that some of the bigger birds like the swans are truly big and can be scary, especially for kids if they're disturbed and decide to react. I've seen many a crying child here!
There are in addition various building to look at and in. There are many glasshouses housing species requiring warmer tamperatures and also a small aquarium. The Chinese pagoda is closed to the public whenever I've been there. The latesst addition is a treetop walk,which was fun and not too scary, even for an acrophobe (fear of heights) like me.
Entry into Kew Palace is an additional £5 this year. I've never been in and can't tell you whether it's good value for money.
There are various cafes and eating options dotted round as well as retail shops and a garden centre - only place I've ever found sorrel for sale.
So if it's a nice day, come to Kew, take a pew and enjoy the view!
Review from Ashley S.
My friend had been telling me for months that when I came to London we had to go to Kew Gardens. I was a bit skeptical, I mean when people tell me it is going to be awesome and build it up, my imagination runs wild and then the real thing is a disappointment. Kew, however, was more than my imagination could handle. :)
I would recommend setting aside a half a day to spend wandering the grounds. One of the favorites of course is walking along the top canopy of the trees. I was also impressed with how many different plants are here and how well it is all laid out.
If you are living in London I would highly recommend buying a year long pass so you can come back often, A few times at £13 and you have it paid off. It is very easy to access from the train as well and well worth the visit if you are traveling to London.
Review from Evelyn M.
- 73 friends
Taking a trip to Kew Gardens during Easter weekend isn't exactly the smartest idea. With bairns doing laps around my calves in their hundreds, I spent most of the day trying to stay on my feet without tripping up over trikes, bikes and wheelies...Who's idea was it to give kids toys that help them slide uncontrollably at a very fast pace?
Aside from all the children, my day at Kew was very relaxing. Not only are the gardens themselves beautiful, but the botanical greenhouses pop up all over the place- at every corner there's another tropical plant, water lily or giant cactus waiting to be discovered. A personal highlight was the mini aquarium underneath the glasshouse- I doubt I'll see a see crab tearing up leaves its dinner again! And I'd have to be pretty heartless not to make an 'awww' sound at the sight of four kids pointing at a clown fish and screaming, 'Mum!!! It's Nemo!!!'
Four a day trip tickets are £13 so it's not the cheapest place to hang out. Still, I would say it's well worth it for one of those days when you just feel the need to get out of the city without really getting out of it at all. A few hours in here had me feeling very tranquil and relaxed. A year long pass is only £64 so if you live locally it would be well worth shelling out the extra cash and making this place your local whenever the sun comes out. Good times and smelly sensations guaranteed!
Review from Amanda L.
- 234 friends
Kew Gardens reminded me of the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, MA, except a whole lot bigger and more expensive.
At first I was a little annoyed about the admission price (£13) but after spending nearly half the day here, I would definitely come again!
You can easily spend the entire day here, as the grounds are absolutely huge and there is a lot to do.
My list of favorites:
- The greenhouses: There are 2 or 3 of them and they are GIGANTIC! I especially love the stairs and walkway around the entire perimeter of the greenhouses, you can get a great view of the whole thing.
- Peacocks: OMG so beautiful, we saw about 4 or 5 of them, including one that showed us his plumage. Amazing
- Treetop Walkway: I'm terrified of heights, but this was awesome! The stairs are not fun, but the views are really cool
- Kew Palace: It's really pretty on the outside, but the fact that you have to pay to go inside kept us from venturing even more. Maybe some day
- Ice Cream: They had ice cream! And it was delicious, and surprisingly affordable.
All the different plants were simply amazing. There were a few items that we missed out on, but it's a perfect excuse to come back when we are in London again! Grab a picnic basket and hunker down here for the day!
Review from Rick A.
My first visit twas this trip and I am sorry I had not gone before. One of the greatest parks I have ever been to and I certainly will return again. I enjoyed wandering around all of the many species of trees in the park and then taking a bit of a warm up in the conservatories.
Everything was very well kept and spectacular. I probably most enjoyed the Princess Conservatory with the many different climate zones from desert to jungle.
Review from Manasi K.
- 15 friends
There is nothing about this place that I don't love. My husband & I had a 1 year membership here which we might soon renew.
The best thing about the Kew is that the colors & landscape here change every season. There's always something new to explore here (if you're a nature lover or botany enthusiast).
I've visited all the cafes here & they carry a great selection of food & drink (though they do tend to be a little steep).
I take the 61 bus to Richmond from Ealing Broadway station & get off at Victoria Gate. It's a straight shot & a beautiful ride.
I've uploaded some of the pictures I've shot at the Kew over the past couple of years.
Copyright Manasi Kashyap.
Copyright Manasi Kashyap.
Copyright Manasi Kashyap.
Review from Michelle P.
I have to say that I was underwhelmed by Kew after hearing about it for so many years during my undergrad work at the UC Berkeley Herbarium. Maybe I am used to a different style of botanical garden, as not the style with trees surround by giant lawns. The background for the aquatic displays seemed cheap and unimaginative, and the preparations for the upcoming orchid exhibit were cheesy and used boring run-of-the mill genera like Phalaenopsis. Also, the Japanese garden was atypical of what you would see in Japan. I expected more variety in the carnivorous and desert plant displays. Berkeley's botanical garden does a far better job of display and diversity on a much smaller footprint.
Review from Joanna T.
The highlight of our London trip! Kew must be one of the most beautiful places on earth, and it's just a short Tube ride away from central London. As others have noted, entry can be expensive but Kew was included on our London Pass, so we took full advantage.
The greenhouses are simply spectacular - masterpieces of Victorian architecture. And the plants inside - wow! The Waterlily house was my personal favorite, the pond looked like a Monet painting. You can walk for hours and hours (we certainly did!) and not see everything.
They have a cafe onsite as well as a gift shop. I scored some Nesti Dante soaps on sale - yay!
On a side note, the town of Kew is quite charming and worth a quick stroll. My husband and I both agree that of all the places in the world we've visited, Kew would be a place we would move.
Review from Kim J.
- 70 friends
On my 10 day long visit to London, I needed a break from the urban jungle one day. A friend suggested I head out to Kew Gardens, and his suggestion was right on. I walked all over for half a day and couldn't believe how gorgeous it was. It was fall, so the colors were all changing. I saw so many perfectly orange trees, it was like a movie.
The price is a bit steep at £12 a person, but it was well worth it for the respite from the crazy streets of London.
Review from Robin W.
- 4 friends
We Londoners don't get enough fresh air, too much time in the pubs and clubs, bars and restaurants having a thoroughly good time and living the life. Well if you fancy a bit of exercise, some fresh air and something different for a change, try Kew Botanical Gardens. Easily accessible from Richmond station (district line) and then a walk or a bus ride and you will be there. You might even learn something as my mother would say.
Become a friend of Kew or buy a season ticket and help safeguard the future of these gardens and also the research and conservation that is carried out here. Plus the benefit of the fresh air !!
A wonderful place to get near to wildlife and plant life and spend the day lazing around and or learning a bit about the wildlife around us. Alternatively try the tree top walk which takes you first underground and the up to the tops of the trees with breathtaking results. Enter the many different glasshouses and also climate zones - wet and humid, dry etc and the various plants that thrive on the different climates.
A wonderful day with access to some very rare plants and flowers.
Review from CeCe C.
LOVE THE KEW!!
My friend and I went on the worse day ever. It was pouring, but still our experience there was very nice and lovely. The garden had its moments of rain and blue skies. We saw all sorts of plants and I saw a waterfall too! haha Waterfalls in London, but not Hawaii. How sad. Anyways, we also had tea inside The Pavillion.
I saw some random peacocks (but very pretty) walking around the gardens.
peacocks roaming in the gardens
Review from Tracy T.
- 3 friends
For foreigners like me who crave open space and swathes of nature it's an essential to visit Kew gardens. The best way to appreciate is to become a member. At £13 an entry it becomes an indulgence, whereas a season ticket is £39 for unlimited entry.
It's a place for wandering around and soaking up nature. There are massive greenhouses, trees and plants of every type, lakes and water features.
It was home to a Henry Moore exhibition with his massive sculptures spread across the park. The David Chihuly (think gorgeous light fitting at the V&A) exhibition was fantastic curated within the landscape.
I would rather take my own picnic than eat at one of the cafes though. I have a feeling that with a captive market, the food would be pretty mediocre.
Review from Derry N.
- 15 friends
This is one of those London places that tears me. On the one hand, it's a fantastic space. Two miles long and a mile wide, filled with all the botanical wonders you could imagine: palms that scrape ceilings; a cherry blossom avenue; pencil-thin 10 foot cacti; and much more besides.
There's a welcome sight of wildlife too: feral Canada geese graze on the greens, fertilising them as they go; giant catfish lazily circle the indoor ponds; jays cheekily bounce from path to path; there are even resident lime green parakeets screeching in the sweet chestnuts.
There are regular events, such as last year's massively popular installation of Henry Moore statues, and the annual spotlit night walks around the glass temples to imperial plant plunder.
But all of this excellence costs. Reduced entry hovers around the £10 mark, and if you're lucky enough not to be a student, diabled or geriatric, you can expect to pay £12. When you get in, the three restaurants offer standard fare but horribly overcharge for it.
Every Londoner, whether resident or tourist, should see Kew once. But if you're in need of a quick and powerful reminder of the wonders of nature, a cheaper option lies in the neighbouring Richmond park, replete with rolling hills and herds of deer.
Review from Karen F.
- 15 friends
I'm going to write about a structure called 'The Pagoda'. This is a ten storey Octagonal structure built to taper from the top to the bottom. It was in the mid 18th century the tallest structure of Oriental origin in the whole of Europe! And rumoured to be a birthday surprise for Princess Catherine.
Unfortunately the strucutre is closed to public, but on one rare occassion when they had opened it to the public, I was lucky enough to climb to the top and enjoy fantastic views as far as Wimbledon and Canary Wharf on a clear sky day. Its magnificient to be standing in there and feel a sense of time.
I went with on a picnic with a few friends and when we got to the base of the Pagoda, we lay on the grass and stared at the structure for a while. Quiet a unique heritage feature of the Royal Gardens
Review from Emma W.
- 2 friends
Kew Gardens is just the most beautiful place in West London. Space to walk around freely, maps and directions located in places in the gardens, the tree walk is lovely (even for someone scared of heights like myself it was good!).
They have various flowers on display. The Japanese Garden is nice, albeit it could do with a waterfall there to set the scene more. The Pagoda is a good sight if you like architecture too.
There is a gift shop there too.
Excellent for walking / running exercising in there too.
It is best to go in late summer evenings and weekdays, as these are times the gardens are a bit quieter.
All in all, a great experience. Would recommend to anyone!
Review from Nicole R.
- 27 friends
Fort Collins, USA
Kew Gardens I love you! You are an oasis of beauty and pure eye candy and I could spend days exploring every plant, flower, and tree. So worth the price of admission (and if you live in the area get the season pass silly). I have several new tree crushes now since our day long visit to Kew...simply amazing...there really aren't words. It would be a lot of fun to explore Kew in each season, being that I live across the pond this will not happen for me. It was blissfully peaceful and serene to walk the massive grounds and overall a super lovely day.
Review from Sara H.
- 45 friends
Kew is beautiful, there is no other way to put it. I am so glad we became members here on our first visit. I am sure I am going to spend a lot of mornings here. The place is huge too, so it would be tough to do it all in a day. They have a creepers and crawlers thing for the kids. My boys had a blast climbing all over in there. Also by a strange coincidence I caught a show about the history of Kew on TV that night. There is amazing history there! This year is their 250th anniversary which to someone like me is pretty impressive. Do yourself a favor and check it out. You won't be disappointed.
Review from helen t.
beautiful setting for kew the gardens concert series. we came here to see buena vista social club, and it was a beautiful night. there was a lot of lawn space for people to picnic, and there were also a lot of food stands where you can buy food. getting there and in was kinda a pain (district line was closed for the wknd, so we had to take the overground from waterloo) and took forever, but once we were inside, we forgot all the hassle.
i was very impressed by the port-a-potties as well, since they were flushable and the kind that looked like a real bathroom.
too bad they don't have musical events all summer but rather just for one weekend.
Review from Ben W.
This is one of the star attractions in the whole of London, and that's a bold claim.
The place is simply stunning. Steeped in history. With some of the most beautiful architecture and flora to be seen anywhere in the world.
You could spend a month in there and not learn a quarter of the stuff there is to learn. Or you could simply go for a wander. It attracts everyone from serious botanists to curious tourists to picnickers to families who want to tire the kids out at climbers and creepers. In the spring it's stunning with the violet carpets and whatnots. And going into the two magnificent greenhouses and being able to walk up to the top and look down on the palms is very special.
The place is a world heritage site for heavens sake! It's motto is "To enable better management of the Earth's environment by increasing knowledge and understanding of the plant and fungal kingdoms - the basis of life on earth." Admirable. But we just like to mooch around, look at the stunning plants and flowers and munch on nice sarnies.
Drawbacks. It's massively difficult to park around there. You may have a long walk. But Kew is on the District Line if you can be bothered. And the price. It's £14 for an adult. I personally think this represents massive value.
But here's the best secret of all. Buy a yearly ticket which entitles you to entry at any time and also 10 free guest tickets AND ALL IT COSTS IS £85!!! We've been members for 4 years now and that's all it costs for two of us each (the boy goes free) to wander round there whenever we pleas and gawp and learn and get a bit of culture innit. An absolute gem of a place.
Remember though. No ball games!
Review from Lucie L.
- 5 friends
This is definitly a place to see if you like nature and flowers and. Woh, am I so romantic? Anyway, I went there during the spring, and I just loved this place. Different kinds of gardens, loooooots of space, cool to walk, good to picnic, nice to take a rest, perfect to change of scene.
Review from Bruce S.
- 0 friends
San Francisco, USA
If you have experienced botanical gardens before you will not find anything special about Kew gardens. I have lived in San Francisco and Christchurch, which both have (free) botanical gardens of comparable quality, and so the decision to visit Kew, which is on the outskirts of the city and costs a hefty 15 pounds was not a good one for my wife and I.
Recommended only for people that have not seen other botanical gardens or are absolutely nuts about them.
London has plenty of lovely centrally located free parks, such as St James. Go there instead.
Review from Katri S.
- 16 friends
In London it is a bit of an effort to find a massive green area. Kew gardens is just so natural, full of plants, flowers and trees. Even it is a popular sight seen location it still is somehow always a quiet and relaxing place to spend a day out. There are various glasshouses and places to walk around.
I have not tried out the restaurants and cafes in the area as I am more into the idea of picnic. You can easily spend the entire day there as there is so much to see. The admissions are high, £13 for adult, but especially in London where can you now a days see such a beautiful gardens and plants?
Also, if your are going check the opening times from the websites because they vary in different times of the year!
Review from Bea B.
- 17 friends
It doesn't seem right to pay £12 for entry to a park, but for a days escape from city life, it's worth paying at least once. I have only been once to Kew gardens, luckily my Grandma forked out the money for me. There was a Henry Moore exhibition at the time, his sculptures scattered around the park. Seeing that I would regularly pay to go to an art exhibition, it justified the money a little bit.
There are regular events to keep the public interest... ice skating, tree identification tours and at the moment a tree top walkway.
I'm not sure I'd go back unless another relative came to visit and offered to pay. There are so many beautiful parks in London, and a lot more accessible to me than Kew (as I'm based in the East end) which are also beautiful, well kept, and above all, free.
Review from Mia S.
- 139 friends
Great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The different gardens are amazing, and the roaming peacocks add an old english garden feel. If I lived near by I would definitely invest in a membership and take advantage of the open space. It's also a great place to take a brisk walk to get in some exercise, but most people go to take leisurely strolls.
Review from Melissa W.
- 8 friends
San Diego, USA
A magnificent outing totally worth the long tube ride out of north London. The Alpine house was a favorite, the tiny succulents were blooming in the middle of December. Also, the ethnobotany display of historical uses for plant products, natural rubber teeth and old basketry were amazing. Sadly, it was winter so there wasn't much to see outside of the greenhouses. It would be nice if they discounted the admission price off-season. Poor duckies trying to find puddles through the three inches deep frozen fountain was a draw for the kiddies. The conifers were so heavy with snow and the magnolia had tiny fuzzy buds on bare branches. Not a touristy time of year, the park was so large I had it all to myself.
Review from S J.
- 1 friend
San Francisco, USA
Loved visiting Kew Gardens - just being surrounded by greenery was great! But since I had my two year old with me, I was very happy to find that there were really nice playgrounds - indoor and outdoor - for kids of all ages. In fact one of the tunnel / slides brought back my childhood Hobbit fascination. They also have a nice indoor play area for those rainy cloudy days that aren't supposed to happen on vacation.
The greenhouse was also a big hit with my daughter, while my friend (who had a member pass and a guest pass (lucky, lucky me!)) and I enjoyed the bluebells and the Japanese garden.
The food in the cafes was quite nice, with some very tasty pies and some interesting drinks.
Review from DrBenGolfing T.
Review from Jessica P.
- 3 friends
This is another of my absolute favorite places in London. The grounds are beautiful and peaceful. It's a wonderful place to walk around and relax and it's an easy walk from the Tube. Check the website for a late (discounted) admission. They only downside is that if you go later, you may miss the greenhouses.
Review from Lola G.
- 2 friends
I adore Kew Gardens and recommend it to everyone. I am not an 'outdoor' type of person and have no interest in plants but this is just simply incredible. Walking into the greenhouses feels like you have transported into the deepest jungle and the tree top walk makes you holds some exceptional views. This place just holds so many wonderful new experiences. There are also quieter parts of the gardens which make it feel more like a park which is nice if you just want somewhere to sit and think and everything is well sign posted so you won't get lost in the massive gardens. The restaurant is terrible and overpriced so maybe take a packed lunch with you or only go for half a day but everything else about this place is wonderful.