Top 5 Attractions at Kew Gardens
As Wordsworth once said, “Come forth into the light of things. Let nature be your teacher,” there is much to learn at Kew Gardens. Set on 300 acres Kew Gardens is the world’s largest collection of living plants and one of London’s UNESCO sites. Home to over 14,000 trees and over 30,000 different kinds of plants Kew Gardens is an awe-inspiring place to immerse yourself in the wonders of nature. With such a massive space and a wide array of things to do and buildings to explore you could easily spend the entire day there and still not experience everything. But if all you have is a day, here are the top 5 attractions at Kew Gardens.
Dive into the humid tropical rainforest and learn about the incredible plants that inhabit these magical forests that we have come to depend on. Wander its paths, breathe in the rich aromas of spices, and gawk at the massive trees reaching for the glass roof. Take to the spiral staircases to walk amongst the canopy or descend below for aquariums full of fish from around the world as well as right here in England. Built between 1844 to 1848, the Palm House was the first large scale wrought iron structure.
Prepare yourself before you step within the warmest and most humid of the glasshouses at Kew Gardens. This small glasshouse offers a wander around its circular path with a pond at its center and showcases giant lily pads, some large enough for an adult man to curl up and lay down upon. The Waterlily House is also home to other tropical and ornamental aquatic plants.
Princess of Wales Conservatory
Named for the beloved Princess Diana the Princess of Wales Conservatory is 4,500 square metres and a multi-leveled glasshouse that is home to 10 different climatic zones with a plethora of plant species from ferns to orchids and cacti to carnivorous plants. This is an amazing and environmental conscience building that maximizes energy by arranging the cooler climate zones around the outer edges and the warmer ones inside and allows the maximum sun exposure to its plants by having the glass go right to the ground.
*Currently closed due to restorations and will reopen in 2018.
The Temperate House is the largest surviving Victorian glasshouse, built in 1860, it is 4880 square metres. With a 62′ (19m) high central nave it is home to plant species from temperate regions across the globe.
It may be the smallest of the British Royal Palaces but catching sight of the pop of colour among the green of Kew Gardens and it will take your breath away. Small and quaint, Kew Palace was originally built in 1631 for a Flemish merchant but was acquired by the Royal family for King George II and his three older daughters. With rooms decorated as they once were, with beautiful furniture and paintings of the royal family that once called it home, the stories that haunt the walls of Kew Palace are told through each room and the presence of life, sadness and death will seep into your bones.
While the above sights are my picks of the top sights at Kew Gardens other notables include the Pagoda, which stands tall in an open field near the Japanese Gateway, the Rhizotron & Xstrata Treetop Walkway, which allows you a birds ey view over the park as you walk amongst the treetops, and the Lake, home to various bird species, peaceful benches to soak it all in and a rare feeling of being anywhere but in the city!