JC Explores: Adventures at Kew Gardens

September 24, 2015

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As it was coming towards the end of September, it was time to try and tick off some of the London Summer Bucket List. I looked through the list and came upon Kew Gardens, luckily, I had been looking at the Open House website and had spotted Kew on the list! The library, archives and herbarium were open to the public with a tour and then you got discounted entry to the Gardens – ideal! So on a sunny Saturday, we jumped on our bikes and made the 40 minute cycle to Kew.

Kew Herbarium

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Our first stop was to the Open House herbarium. A herbarium is a place where they research and save plants – pressing plants from all over the world and keeping them on file. The Kew herbarium is huge, with over 7 million different plants all pressed and saved. The building itself is huge, with big spiral staircases, they had some awesome paintings and objects on display whilst the researchers explained what they did there and what current projects they were working on.

The herbarium tour was really interesting! I did some botany at uni so it’s always nice to see what is going on within research. This totally inspired me to make more of Open House next year as there are so many interesting places that you can get to.

Kew Gardens

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The gardens themselves cost around £15 per person to enter, but we had £3 off from the Open House. I do think the entry price is quite steep but if you are going more than twice a year, you can become a Friend of Kew and it works out cheaper. This is definitely something I’d consider next summer!

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The gardens themselves are gorgeous, they have various different areas from the Palm House to the Japanese Gardens to the Bluebell fields. We went on a long walk around the whole gardens in the sunshine stopping off for lunch in the coffee shop. I loved the variety which was there and I think the longer you spent, the more hidden gems you would find.

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We went on the tree top walk which is a very high walkway around the tops of the trees. This was a real highlight as you got such a great view over the trees and the park as a whole, though as the floor is slightly see through, it isn’t the best if you are scared of heights!

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I really enjoyed the gardens and definitely want to come back soon especially as it isn’t too far for us to cycle. It would be the ideal place to bring a picnic and lounge about in the sunshine.

Kew Palace

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Finally on our way out of the gardens we came across Kew Palace. On my summer bucket list, one of the other goals was to go to a London stately home. And a Palace is the same as a stately home right?! So off we went to have a quick visit. The orange building is stunning, though it was having a bit of a construction make over when we visited. The palace itself was traditionally a home away from home for the Royals, and a common place they went when they were ill. This meant the Palace had much more of a homely feel as it was never really used for state occasions.

The rooms overall were a lot smaller, and it was only 3 floors, with several bed rooms – a lot smaller than some of the other stately homes you visit which seem to be never ending! It was enjoyable to wander around and see the old rooms, plus they had an amazing dolls house!

Overall, we had an awesome trip to Kew. I’m already looking forward to another trip, I think it will be stunning in all weathers!

Have you been to Kew?

JC xx

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