Kew Gardens

The weather decided to stay nice on Friday up in London and so I was able to get to the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens.  It is somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a while and having now been I’d like to go again. 

The adult price to visit is currently £13 but there is a great 2 for the price of 1 offer with the Days Out Guide if you have travelled by National Rail.  The man in the entrance booth didn’t even ask for proof of our rail tickets – even though we had them with us!  I would happily pay full price though as there is so much to see in the gardens.  We easily spent 5 hours there and didn’t manage to get around everything.

Kew 12We decided that we’d aim to leave the glass houses until last in case the weather turned, and do the outdoor areas first.  We also weren’t sure if things would be busy as it was school holidays.  So we first headed to the Rhizotron and Xstrata Treetop Walkway which is a walkway about 18 metres in the air through the trees.  (Note – For anyone less able the lift is currently out of service.)  The walkway offers some views over the park and over towards other parts of London.  One of the things I liked about it though was the closeness to the tree tops so you could get up close and see some of the interesting seed pods and new growth on the trees which you wouldn’t typically see.

We then headed over to see the Japanese garden and pagoda.  The Japanese garden is quite pretty and nicely laid out.  I think you use to be able to go up the pagoda but sadly it is closed and looking rather like it needs a face lift at the moment.

Kew 44Next we visited the conservation area, waterlily pond and lake which were full of birds – coot, ducks, swans, geese and we even found a baby peacock with its mum.  It was really sweet and had a little tuft growing on its head to match hers.  There were quite a lot of young birds on the water so plenty to see and hear… the baby coots were making LOTS of noise!

Kew 146We had a quick look around the Palm House glass house and the more formal gardens around it, but then headed off for lunch in the Orangery.  The rest of the park so far had been fairly quiet and we expected to find the restaurant busy as it was school holidays but we easily found a table to sit outside and didn’t have to queue at all.  Lunch only consisted of some lemonade and a rather nice banana muffin as we were still full from a full English breakfast at the hotel but it was very yummy!

After lunch we had a look around the rock gardens.  I really liked this area as there was so much to see and it was really nicely laid out with different things of interest at every corner.

Kew 140We then headed into the Princess of Wales glasshouse which is really different.  It has been laid out in lots of different zones and you can travel from one ‘room’ and layer to another along various different paths.  There was some nice surprises to be found – like the lizards living in one of the areas.  I really liked the orchids and the cactus areas.

Kew 109Finally we headed over towards the Pavilion Restaurant as there is currently an exhibition of the International Garden Photographer of the Year.  I always find it fascinating to see these displays – it gives me good ideas for photographs, and its always fun to see how your own photographs measure up!  There was some lovely shots – I particularly liked the gardens in the snow photographs that were on display.  There was also some shots that I felt I could easily have taken and it has inspired me to think about maybe entering some competitions in future.

More photographs from Kew can be found on my Flickr set.

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