Kew Gardens: The perfect day out seeing the ‘most diverse’ plant collections in the world

Kew Gardens: The perfect day out seeing the ‘most diverse’ plant collections in the world

01/17/2022

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On a gorgeous Sunday morning, I arrived at Kew Gardens for opening time after Red Letter Days had invited me down to explore. After my boyfriend and I parked in the on-site car park, we had a short walk to one of the many entrances. I had never been to Kew during the winter and was intrigued to see what it had to offer seeing as nearly all plants go dormant during the winter months, but we were not disappointed.

Kew Gardens has the “largest and most diverse” collection of living plants in the world.

What’s more, some plants seen at Kew are actually extinct in the wild, while others are threatened.

Kew aims to protect biodiversity, with more than 350 scientists working in over 100 countries to understand the importance plants and fungi have in sustaining the planet.

With stunning landscapes, quiet woodlands and peaceful lakes, it was hard to believe I was just eight miles from Central London.

Heading for the Palm House first, I was excited to experience the indoor rainforest and see what unique tropical plants were growing.

The Palm House was the first greenhouse built on this scale.

Constructed in 1844, architects borrowed techniques from the ship building industry, which may help explain why the greenhouse resembles the upturned hull of a ship.

With the air humid and the plants dripping in water, I made my way around the large Victorian greenhouse to see a huge variety of plants.

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From the rubber tree to the cocoa tree, plants found in the Palm House are a source of huge value to societies around the world for the fruit, timber, spices or medicine they product.

Another key attraction in Kew is the Temperate House, which re-opened in 2018 after a major five year renovation process.

Filled with 10,000 individual plants as well as a small waterfall, the plant species inside the Temperate House need to live in conditions above 10 degrees celsius to survive.

You can also see all of the plants from the top of the greenhouse, with a narrow walkway running around the edge.

After seeing the two attractions I was most excited for, we headed for the Treetop Walkway, an 18 metre tree-lined path offering stunning views across the garden.

Despite being terrified of heights, I wanted to see Kew from a different perspective, and it was beautiful, with the sun shining through the large trees.

A quick and terrifying walk around the walkway proved it was time for a sit down and a bite to eat.

Kew has several places where you can sit down for food and drink across the whole of the site.

From the Pavilion Bar & Grill to the Victoria Gate Café, there is something for everyone.

The gift shop is also a must with indoor and outdoor plants available to buy as well as an extensive collection of gardening and houseplant books.

One of my favourite area’s of Kew was the Woodland Walk, set towards the back of the gardens.

Set on the border where Kew meets the River Thames, the Woodland Walk offers a raised trail that takes you through the Natural Area without disturbing the habitat.

The Natural Area was donated to Kew by Queen Victoria on the condition that the area remains in a wilder, untamed state.

Kew Gardens was a great day out and we thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent there.

Red Letter Days has various different gift voucher options for Kew Gardens including entry into the gardens and palace for two adults, costing £36.

Entry to the gardens and palace for one person is also an option and will cost £18.

You can also purchase a private guided walking tour and admission for two, priced at £100.

For a family of two adults and two children, a voucher is available for £48.

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