Kew Gardens is an ideal opportunity for Londoners to escape the concrete jungle of Zone 1. For those who dare to venture out to zone 3 in West London you will be rewarded with miles upon miles of lush greenery activities. With Kew Gardens being a stone’s throw away from me I am a local visitor and a friend of Kew and I use the gardens to disconnect and step away from the pressures of everyday life. But on this sunny Sunday, I decided to pack my SLR so you could enjoy the visits I so regularly make to Kew.
The easiest way to travel on tube is to catch the District Line to Richmond and get off at Kew Gardens, you’re then about 10 minutes away. If you fancy a scenic walk and a nice pub stop, get off at either a stop early on the District at Gunnersbury or Kew Bridge from Waterloo and you get to walk over Kew Bridge and check into the balcony riverview of One Over the Ait. It goes without saying that One Over the Ait is a Fuller’s pub, if you’re anywhere near Chiswick (the home of Fuller’s brewery) then they are everywhere!
In my experience, Elizabeth Gate never gets too congested. Everyone goes to Victoria Gate mainly because it’s the one nearest to the tube station.
I love the way nature lures you into a sense of meditation, in Kew the birds are tweeting and the ducks are quacking. It’s a really great place to stop and smell the roses (mostly because there will be roses, as well as thousands of other different type of plant and tree!). The Kew fences are like a safeguard from the outside world with only the sound of planes flying over your head as a reminder of travel and movement.
The treetop walkway in Kew Gardens is pretty cool. 18 metres above ground, the walkway gives you an opportunity to get up close to the trees and see some great views of the gardens, although beware this is NOT the best experience for vertigo sufferers. I suffer from it quite badly, and the semi-transparent flooring does not help, it also doesn’t help when your boyfriend points out how the floor wobbles. That being said, you shouldn’t miss out on it – it’s really great and the walls are high enough so you can consider clinging onto them for dear life, should you please.
Here is a picture of me trying to make the whole experience look very casual and non-chalant. Note how I am holding onto the walls.
Cool fact about the Kew Gardens treetop walkway:
The structure is inspired by the Fibonacci sequence, which is a commonly spotted pattern found in nature. They’ve though this one through!
A lot of people come specifically to Kew for the Hive, and I don’t blame them. The Hive is an immersive audio-visual art installation which combines the kinetic movement from bees in the beehive to make sound vibrations which direct sound and light changes within the hive. For anyone who has witnessed the sea organ in Zadar, if you love that, you will love this!
Richmond after Kew
If you’ve come all the way out to Kew, I recommend just going on a bit further to Richmond for riverview walks, more nice pubs and prime picnic opportunities.
Richmond can get pretty busy when the weather is good so I tend to grab the essential picnic bits before crossing over the river on Richmond Bridge to the opposite side. This is a really good way to beat the crowds, which can get pretty relentless sometimes.
Before you do this, I have to warn you that there is a really good Wholefoods in Richmond – full of lovely cakes and picnic pick-ups. If you’re on a budget then do not go near this place – we paid £8 for two Salmon Teriyaki fillets which was very steep BUT the food was absolutely delicious.
Meadowbank and Marble Hill House are really nice lunch spots (Location for Google maps here) although if you’re prone to hangriness then I advise munching on a scotch egg to keep you going because it’s a fair old walk from Richmond Bridge – we’re talking 15-20 minutes which can seem like a lifetime when you’re hungry.
Before scarpering off to prepare for the onslaught of the week ahead, I recommend checking into the Richmond Duckpond Market for antiques, food and clothes. It’s also worth just walking around and seeing what’s on offer.
As well as a tourist attraction, Kew Gardens is a place for breakthrough scientific research and horticultural magnificence. I wholeheartedly recommend taking a visit and Kew did not ask me to write this article, I did it because I love it so much.