Kew Gardens has become one of our favorite places to visit throughout the year. I’ve posted about our previous days out last summer and autumn, and we were last there in February for the stunning Orchids Festival. Returning to Kew Gardens in the springtime was high on my list and with warmer weather in the forecast, I planned a day out earlier this week on what turned out to be a gloriously sunny day perfect for wandering around the gardens and taking photos. There is plenty to see at Kew Gardens, with landscape gardens, woodlands, glasshouses, historic buildings and more spread out across 300 acres. We visit fairly often but there’s always so much to discover with each season.
Before setting out to explore for the day, we first found a bench and had a picnic lunch overlooking a beautiful carpet of bluebells. It was after a few minutes snapping photos of these bluebells that I realised I forgot my digital SLR’s memory card at home (doh!), so today’s snapshots are brought to you by my iPhone. It was pretty disappointing to put the Canon away but I’m glad I caught the mistake early on!
We carried on through the gardens in the general direction of the Palm House, past beautiful, peaceful scenes such as this one where the magnolia trees are.
Little T loves watching the ducks and geese, so we spent most of our time by the tranquil setting of the pond in front of the Palm House.
The Palm House is a Victorian iron and glass structure housing plants from around the world including tropical palms, cocoa, rubber and banana plants and fruit trees. In the basement is a Marine Aquarium recreating four major marine habitats. We haven’t been in the Palm House since early last year and I’m sure Little T will enjoy seeing the tall plants and the aquarium, so it’s on my list to visit next time around.
We made our way around the pond, past this beautiful cherry blossom tree…
And then up a hill to the woodland garden where the Temple of Aeolus stands. Originally designed and built in the 1760s, the temple was rebuilt in 1845 in stone and is now the focal point of this area that emulates a natural woodland.
We walked back down the path and headed towards the Princess of Wales Conservatory.
The area was bursting with color with blossoming trees and a carpet of bluebells.
Little T wandered around the trees and after having collected petals, pine cones and little sticks throughout our time at the gardens, he made his biggest find yet: a fallen branch that accompanied us on the rest of our walk. It was so long that I carried one end while he held the other but he wouldn’t leave it behind until right before we reached the car park. Here he is “watering” the plants along the way.
We clearly love visiting Kew Gardens, heading back there at least every two to three months. It’s close to where we live and always makes for a fun day out, with plenty for Little T to explore. It’s a beautiful place to visit year round but certainly springtime is a highlight to see the trees and flowers full of color and coming alive. For more about Kew Gardens, have a look at my summer post which includes the indoor Creepers and Crawlers play area, perfect for young children, and my autumn post when we walked along the Treetop Walkway high above the tree canopies.
Kew Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW8 3AB
Opening Hours: Until 29 August 2016: Monday to Friday – 1000 to 1830 (last entry 1800). Weekends and Bank Holidays – 1000 to 1930 (last entry 1900).
Tickets: Adult tickets are £15.00, children 3+ are £3.50 and children under 3 years go free. [Tickets purchased online are slightly cheaper – Adult £14.00, Children 3+ £2.50.] *You can pay an optional 10% donation which goes towards Kew Gardens’ conservation work. By agreeing to pay the donation, Kew Gardens can claim Gift Aid on the full ticket price if you are UK tax payer.
Closest Tube Station: Kew Gardens [District – Richmond brand and Overground services]
Parking: There is limited free parking around Kew Green (make sure to check for permit parking spots). Parking costs £7.00 for the day at the Kew Gardens car park (TW8 3AF) which is accessed by Ferry Lane, a narrow turning off Kew Green. From here, you’ll enter the gardens via Brentford Gate.
Good to Know
You can plan your visit to Kew Gardens with the comprehensive map on their website, which includes tick-boxes for selecting which attractions you would like to view on the map, such as “for kids”, “facilities” and “eat and drink”.
Kew Gardens offer plenty of interactive activities for children to get involved, learn and enjoy the outdoors. There’s a lot to explore, from the bee gardens, to the log trail, to the marine aquarium located in the Palm House.
In addition to Creepers and Crawlers, there’s an outdoor tree-themed play area – Treehouse Towers – suitable for kids aged three to eleven. Bathroom and baby changing facilities are located in the Creepers and Crawlers building.
Right next to the two play areas, you’ll find the White Peaks Café and Shop which has a salad bar and serves kid’s boxes, gourmet sandwiches, ice cream.
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