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Kew Gardens In London – A Complete Guide

Beautiful Kew Gardens, London’s largest World Heritage Site, is not just home to an enormous collection of plants. Here’s a guide to visiting.

How To Get To Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens is located on the outskirts of the city of London in the Borough of Richmond Upon Thames.

Parking is limited, so it’s recommended that you use public transport to get there.

Bus

From central London, Route 65 stops close to the following Kew Garden entrances – Lion Gate, Elizabeth Gate and Victoria Gate.

Route 110 stops near Kew Gardens station and Elizabeth Gate. Routes 237 and 267 stop at Kew Bridge station.

All single bus routes are presently £2 and the journey time varies depending on traffic.

Train

It takes approximately half an hour to reach Kew Gardens by train from central London.

You can get a South Western Railway train from London Waterloo or, for the fastest train from London to Kew Gardens, hop on at Clapham Junction.

Kew Bridge Station is the nearest to Kew Gardens. From Kew Bridge, you’re just 800m from the Elizabeth Gate entrance.

Tickets start at £6.40 one way.

 Tube

Kew Gardens Station is the nearest tube station to the garden. This station is just 500m from the Victoria Gate entrance at Kew Gardens.

You can take one direct tube, on the District Line, from London Victoria to Kew Gardens Underground Station. Tubes leave every 15 minutes and the journey takes approximately 30 minutes. 

Tickets cost between £2 – £5.

Tour

For those short on time, or those that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.

Also, for all tourists visiting London, I recommend purchasing a Go City London Pass.

These are a great way of saving money when visiting multiple tourist attractions during your stay in London.

Kew Gardens Entrance Fee

1st February to 31st October (Peak)

Adults: £21.50 (£17 in advance).

1st November to 31st January (Off Peak)

Adults: £14 (£12 in advance)

Kew Gardens London
Kew Gardens London

Kew Gardens Opening Times

Kew Gardens is open every day, except for 24th and 25th December.

Monday – Friday: 10am to 7pm

Saturday – Sunday: 10am to 8pm

Last entry is an hour before closing time.

Waterlily Kew Gardens London
Cactus Kew Gardens London

Best Time To Visit Kew Gardens

Spring and summer are the most popular times to visit, as this is when you will see the most vibrant and eye-catching floral displays.

Also, the weather is more likely to be nice at this time of year, making it enjoyable to walk through the grounds.

Spring is especially recommended for the carpet of bluebells in the woodland and the beautiful blossoms as you stroll down Cherry Walk.

However, if you like it a little quieter, autumn offers some wonderful woodland walks and the opportunity to witness the changing seasons and rich autumnal colours. As well as the fungi!

Winter is probably not the best time to visit the outdoor gardens but there’s still plenty to look at in the expanse of greenhouses.

You are allowed to take your own picnic into Kew Gardens and it makes for the perfect place to enjoy some ‘al fresco’ dining when the weather is nice.

Don’t forget your camera – there’s plenty of great London photo opportunities!

What To Pack

Photography Camera

Tripod

Day Bag

Power Bank

Reusable Water Bottle

Sunscreen

Lightweight Rain Jacket

Waterlily Kew Gardens London
Fish Kew Gardens London

Kew Gardens History

The origins of Kew Gardens can be traced back to 1772, when the royal estates of Richmond and Kew were merged.

Stunning Kew Palace is the oldest building within the gardens. It was used as the summer home of King George III in the 18th century. 

Over the years, many more buildings, including the Great Pagoda, the Orangery, the Palm House and the Temperate House, have been erected. With the latter now being the largest Victorian glasshouse in existence. 

In 1840, the gardens were adopted as a national botanical garden. Following which, the size of the grounds has gradually been extended to todays 300 acres full of more than 50,000 plants.

In addition there are over 7 million preserved specimens, many of them gathered by well known scientists and explorers like Charles Darwin and David Livingstone.

Interestingly, five of the original trees planted at the outset of the gardens are still standing and known as the ‘Five Lions’. 

Restoration, maintenance and development are a constant at Kew Gardens and it has had more than a few set backs over the years. Including the Tea House being burned down in 1913 by suffragettes and hundreds of trees being lost in the great storm of 1987.

However, in July 2003, Kew Gardens made it onto the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

Kew Gardens London
Kew Gardens London
Kew Gardens London

What To Expect At Kew Gardens

World famous Kew Gardens is London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Site and is on many peoples bucket list of best things to do in London.

Officially known as Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, it is also home to the world’s largest and most diverse collection of living plants.

There’s plenty to explore, including stunning themed gardens, enormous glasshouses and fascinating treetop walkways. As well as the opulent Kew Palace, the Great Pagoda and a botanical art gallery and library.

So, even if you are not a super-keen horticulturist, Kew Gardens still has plenty to offer including some stunning architecture, artwork and literature.

However, you can’t fail but be impressed by the amazing colours, smells and diversity of plants as you walk through the grounds of Kew.

Covering an area of over 300 acres, you’ll probably need 3-4 hours at least to make the most of the gardens, with lots of people choosing to stay all day.

If you are going to spend the day out here on your London itinerary, you could always take a picnic to enjoy in the beautiful surroundings.

Alternatively, if you don’t fancy packing a picnic, there are a variety of on-site cafes and restaurants serving up some tasty cuisine.

From the Family Kitchen serving pizza, salads and sandwiches to the more formal Botanical Brasserie and everything in-between, there’s plenty of choice.

There are also several gift shops filled with beautiful homeware, books, stationery, gifts and souvenirs if you want a memento from your visit.

Entry prices vary depending on the time of year. For more info see Kew Gardens Admission Ticket.

Fun fact: Kew Gardens has its own police force, Kew Constabulary, which has been in operation since 1845! 

Kew Gardens London
Queen Charlotte's Cottage Kew Gardens London
The Hive Kew Gardens London
Cafe Kew Gardens London
Treetop Walkway Kew Gardens London
Treetop Walkway Kew Gardens London
Treetop Walkway Kew Gardens London
Treetop Walkway Kew Gardens London
Treetop Walkway Kew Gardens London
Kew Gardens London
Kew Gardens London
Kew Gardens London
Great Pagoda Kew Gardens London
Great Pagoda Kew Gardens London

Where To Stay In London

Luxury

The London EDITION

The London EDITION is located in central London’s Fitzrovia district, with Oxford Street, Theatreland and Piccadilly Circus all within a 10-minute walk. 

Inside, there is a Michelin star restaurant, 2 cocktail bars, a 24-hour front desk, free WiFi and free use of the on-site fitness centre for all guests. 

With a view of the vibrant city, each en suite room come with a flat-screen TV and air-conditioning. An iPod docking station, bathrobes and a mini-bar are also provided. 

Each evening, the restaurant offers a contemporary British menu using fresh, British produce.

Mid-Budget

Corus Hotel Hyde Park

Set within a 20-minute walk from Royal Albert Hall and boasting a stylish, spacious piano lounge , Corus Hotel Hyde Park features modern rooms with free WiFi. 

The hotel is just a 10-minute walk from Paddington Station, offering a direct train link to Heathrow Airport.

The cosy, air-conditioned bedrooms at Corus Hotel have private en-suite bathrooms and satellite TVs with on-demand movies. Rooms also feature work desks, tea/coffee facilities, iron and ironing boards. 

The conservatory brasserie serves a modern European menu using seasonal produce. 

Olio Bar offers light snacks and beverages, and overlooks Hyde Park.

Budget

The Queens Hostel

Featuring free WiFi, The Queens Hostel offers accommodation in London, just a 2-minute walk to Queens Park Rangers football stadium. 

Guests can enjoy the on-site bar. Rooms come with a shared bathroom. 

You can play tennis at this hostel, and the area is popular for golfing.

For more places to stay in London, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.

Planning Your Trip

Book Your Flight

Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. 

They search websites and airlines around the globe to find you the best possible routes and prices.

Book Your Accommodation

Use Booking.com to find the best accommodation deals.

They consistently return the cheapest rates on everything from guesthouses to hotels for all of your budget needs.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Use SafetyWing to find the best travel insurance for you.

They provide travel and medical incident insurance built specifically for digital nomads.

Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.

Book Your Tours & Activities

Use GetYourGuide to book your activities in advance.

They sell the best tours, excursions and activities to attractions around the world.

Conveniently book, download and access your tickets on the move all from your mobile. 

Book Your Rental Car

Use RentalCars.com to find the best deals on rental cars in the area.

They compare all major car rental companies and allow you to easily book the perfect vehicle for your trip.

Buy Those Last Minute Bits

Use Amazon to buy everything you need for your adventure.

They offer next day delivery and you can use my travel packing checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.


Pin It For Later

Kew Gardens London

Wim Harrington

Thursday 29th of February 2024

Hi Charlie, my father studied as a horticulturalist at Kew Gardens. He is past away now, but Kew was the key to his career, as the Head of Parks Department for the London Borough of Hounslow and a judge at the Chelsea flower show. Do you have any details on Kew as a “University” for students? When did it start / end this role? Any facts you have - much appreciated!