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Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew is a large complex of gardens and greenhouses covering more than 130 hectares in southwest London. Today, Kew Gardens or Kew Gardens represents the classic park landscape of the 18th and 20th centuries.

The gardens were created in the mid-18th century. And now it is a world-renowned research center, funded by the United Kingdom and hosting at least a million and a half tourists annually. Kew Botanical Gardens has one of the world’s largest plant collections and a Herbarium with 7,000,000 specimens. At the beginning of the 21st century, UNESCO included the Gardens in the list of World Heritage of Humanity.

History of Kew Gardens

The first gardens appeared in the 1970s of the 16th century on White House land on the site of an apothecary garden laid out a century earlier. In the mid-17th century these lands were leased by Prince Frederick.

And the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew were first established in the mid-18th century. A nursery for trees and shrubs was organized next to them. A Chinese pagoda, which was already in fashion at that time, was built in the Garden in the same century and is still in place today.

The Royal Botanic Gardens in London

The next King of Great Britain, George III, expanded the Kew Gardens, attracting many botanists known for their time to develop them, who began the meticulous counting of living plants in the gardens.

Queen Victoria did not pay proper attention to the Gardens of Q, and they gradually began to die. In the 1940s, they acquired national status and were transferred to the state. At this time, the territory of the orchards increased to 30 hectares.

It was then that the famous Kew Gardens library appeared, a giant contribution was made to the landscaping of the gardens, the royal stone greenhouses were moved from Buckingham Palace, the famous Herbarium appeared, etc.

Kew Gardens in London, England

In the last century, the Kew Botanical Gardens were again expanded with new buildings, greenhouses opened, and plants imported from all over the world. In the 1980s, there was a terrible storm that uprooted many trees in the Gardens.

Today it often hosts various flower festivals, exhibitions, music concerts. There are places for entertainment, in winter the ice rink.

According to tourist reviews, the Gardens are one of the most beautiful places in London.

Description of Kew Gardens

The entire area of these gardens is divided into eight zones.

Map of Kew Gardens in London
Diagram of the Kew Botanical Gardens (click to enlarge)

The White House used to be located near the old Gate and the first small garden was planted. There are now many lawns and flowerbeds, Nash’s oldest greenhouse, a nursery, etc.

Kew Gardens, London

The area near the Thames is mostly occupied by the Herbarium; to the south are Kew Palace, the garden nursery, the Center, where all the scientific activities of Kew Gardens are concentrated, the administrative buildings, staff housing, etc.

To the north and east of the Gardens, it is interesting to see the Water Garden, as well as the local laboratories and greenhouses. There are many old buildings and residences built in the last two and a half centuries.

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Near the Palm Orangery, lawns, flowerbeds and flowerbeds have been laid out since the 19th century, and terraces have been built for visitors to the Gardens to relax. There are beautifully decorated local lakes. From the Palm Orangery come three alleys.

This area is home to the Victoria Gate and Museum, where Garden staff and school children often come to learn more about this amazing Kew Botanic Gardens complex, its history and its present day.

World Heritage - Kew Gardens

Near the Chinese pagoda, which is the historic center of the Gardens, there are ancient plantings of broad-leaved trees, as well as subtropical and tropical plants. There is also a huge Victorian greenhouse.

Next to the Chinese pagoda is the Gallery of Marianne North, opened in the late 19th century, who in her youth began traveling around the world, sketching in oil and painting sketches of the flora in the distant countries she visited.

The Royal Botanic Gardens of London

In the southern area of the Garden partially preserved regular park of the 18th century, you can see the old royal menagerie, arboretum, as well as the equestrian yard, access to which is closed to visitors today.

At the west end, the observation deck is very popular with tourists, offering magnificent views of the Gardens. There is also the famous Bamboo Garden with the largest collection of bamboo in Britain.

Attractions of Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens, London

Just some of the attractions of the botanical gardens in London:

  1. Q Palace. This is the smallest palace designed for the royal family It was built in the first third of the 17th century, has been restored and rebuilt several times. Today it is open for tourists.
  2. Pagoda. Of course, this is not a real Chinese pagoda, but an imitation of the architecture of the Celestial Empire. It has ten stories and a total height of about 50 meters. Open to tourists. This unusual 18th-century building sparked the fashion for Chinese pagodas throughout Europe.
  3. Palm House. It is a huge greenhouse, created in the mid-19th century of glass and wrought iron arches. The public can come here to view the palm trees growing inside from above and admire the animal statues on the front lawn.
  4. Lily House. This is another greenhouse where water plants grow. It is always very hot and humid here, like in a bathhouse. Different lilies grow in the pool. The house itself looks like a lily leaf.
  5. Alpine cabin. The cabin was only built a decade ago. This is a greenhouse where alpine vegetation grows. Its climate is as close as possible to the cool and humid mountain alpine conditions.
  6. Minka. This is the name of a traditional Japanese lodge acquired by the Gardens at the beginning of the 21st century. It was built in Japan at the very end of the 19th century. Then Japanese builders dismantled its frame and reassembled it in London at the Garden Center.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London

How do I get to Kew Gardens?

Address of the Gardens: Brentford Gate, London TW9. The easiest way to get here is by subway; the station is called Kew Gardens, a branch of the District Line. It is about half an hour by subway from the center and the ride costs about 3 pounds.

Location on the map

Take the train to Kew Bridge station. There are also several city buses that pass by the Gardens, you can take a bicycle or a river streetcar. Then follow the signs to the Garden Gate.

Video overview of Kew Gardens

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