With 326 acres (121 hectares) of exotic plants, woodland trails, and lily ponds, plus 30,000-plus plant species, the Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew offer an idyllic escape for Londoners. As well as being one of London’s most visited outdoor attractions, the gardens are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and house one of the oldest and most significant botanical collections in the world.
Accessible via hop-on hop-off bus, the botanical gardens at Kew make for an excellent day-out destination. Entrance tickets to Kew Gardens allow visitors to explore the park’s many attractions independently or via an optional guided walking tour. Step into The Hive, a multi-sensory sculpture designed to demonstrate the extraordinary life of bees; traverse a 60-foot-high (18-meter) treetop walkway; explore plants from 10 climate zones in the Princess of Wales Conservatory; and stroll through the arboretum, a living library of over 14,000 trees. The London Pass offers entrance to Kew Gardens along with a hop-on hop-off bus tour of other local attractions, such as Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Visitor facilities include five cafés and restaurants, three souvenir shops, restrooms, and picnic areas.
- The Kew Explorer land train leaves hourly from Victoria Gate Plaza and takes visitors on a full tour of the gardens in 40 minutes.
- Bikes, scooters, skateboards, and rollerblades are prohibited throughout the park.
- Kew Gardens is a protected area, so kids should not climb trees, play ball games, or pick flowers.
- Free Wi-Fi is available onsite.
- Kew Gardens is accessible to wheelchairs and mobility scooters (although certain attractions may be off-limits), and concession tickets are available.
How to Get There
Kew Gardens is located in Richmond, roughly eight miles (30 kilometers) from central London, a journey of about 30 minutes by road or 25 minutes by London Underground. The closest tube station is Kew Bridge Station on the District line, which is a short walk from the Elizabeth Gate at the park’s eastern border. You can also walk to the Lion Gate (southwest corner) from Richmond Station or the Victoria Gate (southern border) from Kew Gardens station.
When to Get There
Kew Gardens is open year-round and the wide variety of seasonal plants and flowers make it worth visiting at different times of the year. The gardens are busiest from July through August, so plan to arrive early to avoid crowds. Early to mid-spring is a good time to see colorful flowers, while wintertime makes it easy to time your visit to coincide with one of the site’s many special holiday events.
Seasonal Events at Kew Gardens
As well as daily guided walking tours and a range of special exhibitions and art displays, Kew hosts special seasonal events and festivals year-round. Highlights include the month-long Christmas at Kew celebration, which includes an illuminated night trail; Kew the Music live music concerts in summer; the spring Orchids Festival; and Halloween pumpkin patches.