This overland station is on the district line and is ideal for visiting Kew Gardens which is about half a mile away. Just head out of the station on the South side and keep going South until you get to the large wall surrounding Kew Gardens and then just head for one of the entrances. If you get lost just ask anyone - they'll point you in the right direction.
On the parade (yes thay have parades in Kew instead of ordinary roads) there are a variety of interesting little shops as well as starbucks. Can make for an interesting hour or two just pottering aruond having visited the gardens.
This is the attractive main station for visitors to Kew Gardens, as well as serving the well-to-do suburbs of Kew itself, and the Public Records Centre 10 minutes' walk away. It is served by both the Richmond branch of the District Line and the North London Line, both of which are now under the control of London Transport.
The line wasn't originally part of the underground at all, but built by the London and South Western Railway as a branch to Richmond from the West London line near Kensington Olympia in 1869. A connection at Gunnersbury also enabled access from the North London Line, a service which survives today. These services were joined by those of the Metropolitan District Railway (the forerunner of the District Line) in 1877 as an extension of its service from Hammersmith. Other services were run on the line by the Great Western Railway and the Metropolitan Railway, but by the end of the First World War the only services left were those still operating today.
As a result, the station still looks like a suburban main line station, with traditional canopies and awnings, and attractive brick buildings in a domestic Italianate style. Part of the main building on the north (Kew Gardens) side is now part of the Railway Pub, and the forecourt has become a sort of mini district shopping centre. The station has a small newsagents which also sells confectionery.
Worth a look also is the concrete arched bridge which carries a footpath over the station: this white-painted structure was an early example of reinforced concrete and dates from 1912 - it is actually a listed structure (Grade II) in its own right. It was built using the Hennebique system, after the French engineer François Hennebique.
Today the station is equally busy at weekends thanks to the presence of the gardens nearby. It is used by some 3 million passengers a year. Destinations on the District Line include Upminster via Hammersmith, Victoria and the City, and Richmond; and Stratford in East London via Willesden Junction and Camden.
Someone's definitely noticed this station is near Kew Gardens. I guess that's why there's pots of plants all over it. And very nice it is too!
In fact whoever designed it did miss something. Presuming that it's going to be the stop for many people coming out of London to see Kew, it's a shame that the platform you arrive at is on the 'wrong' side. After coming out you get directed through an underpass, with steps. I think I have been across the alternative footbridge (also with steps) in the past. Not sure what you do if you want to avoid steps!
Once on the 'right' side you come out of what is, for a small tube station, a rather grand old entrance hall. The pub next door (in part of the old station buildings) also has a rather lovely iron and glass roof. The entrance is surrounded by a little cluster of shops, including a tempting fish and chip shop (I resisted!) and a Tesco. All quite picturesque.
Kew Gardens is a short walk away, through some very pleasant residential streets.
I've already noticed changes to this station since it's become part of London Overground. There are a lot more plants. It always troubled me that for years and years the station that one of the closest to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew never had any decent plants in it. In fact to add insult to injury the hanging baskets used to have plastic flowers in them.
Also since London Overground took over we see the standard white boards that you get at lots of other underground stations showing the status of the service on the other lines which is handy.
The Tube has always stopped at this station but because it was managed by Sliverlink or the North London Line or whatever it used to be called it never really felt like a proper Tube station.
There are some good platform toilets on the Eastbound platform with leafy mosaics inside (well at least inside the ladies as I've never been in the mens).
Also the station has the benefit of a pub of what's more or less a "platform pub" on the Eastbound side. Legally a pub isn't allowed to have an entrance on the platform but if you're sitting in The Railway (formerly The Flower & Firkin) and you time things correctly you have a swift pint and then leg it out to catch your train when you see it pulling in.
The guy who runs the newsagent that's almost inside the station has been there for years and swings between being hyper friendly to fully miserable. He once told me had a cold shower every morning so perhaps that explains it.
Sadly the guy that ran the coffee bar on the Eastbound platform had to leave as he couldn't afford the rent any more. This was a major loss to the station as he was constantly friendly and had little pots of flowers and extra copies of the Metro on his stall. Now the nearest places for morning coffee or tea at the station are in the cold shower newspaper bloke's shop, the Pagoda Cafe on the westbound side, Starbucks in Station Parade or the Natural Cafe on Station Approach. We're spoilt for choice.
On Fridays and at weekends a "French" bread stall from the East End of London pitches up outside the station selling bread, cupcakes, filled croissants and other "French" patisserie.
The station at Kew Gardens is pretty enough, it's just a shame that a lot of the main infrastructure inside working. There's errors with the display boards that means often the trains you're waiting for disappear of the board and you're left with an unexpected ten minute wait. This particularly involves trains from Kew to Richmond. The ticket machines are as tempremental as the display boards and on several occasions I've run to catch the train into Richmond, only to realise that I have to cross over the bridge and buy my tickets from the other side of the station.
Infrastructure grumbles aside I think this is one of the most scenic stations in London and the hanging baskets and flower displays certainly make it a pretty place to come home to.
kew Gardens is a very nice station. It is quite small and there are oyster card machines so you can top up. There is a really nice restaurant looking onto the tracks, but persoanlly I cant see why you would want to be looking/ hearing trains while you had a coffee
nice old fashioned station, you seem to be stopped in time , inice little shops, you seem to be in a smalltown of its own outside london
a lovely little lost corner of the past. i passed this every day en route to Richmond, and it was invariably a haven of tranquility and charm. a nice little bonus when you get the train to visit Kew Gardens, or the public records office. its like taking a time machine. just imagine the days of steam for a moment.
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