Things to do in London: Visit Kew Gardens


The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew (henceforth referred to as Kew Gardens) is one of those places around London that you see posters for, and hear about, but due to laziness, never really make that big of an effort to get out to.  So when it was suggested by a friend that we head out there for a day and put our cameras to the test, I was well up for something a bit out of the ordinary.

We talked about renting lenses for this outing and I especially wanted a good macro lens.  Calumet Photo by Kings Cross has a good selection online but renting in-person on the day of is not a good idea!  Not a single 105mm Nikon or Sigma in stock.  Lesson being, if you want to rent a lens in London, plan a head and make sure they will have it in stock.  Ok back to Kew…

The Details

The easiest way to get to Kew Gardens is by train.  The Overground to Richmond stops at Kew Gardens, and from there it is signposted everywhere making it impossible to miss.  Entry is £16 per adult with concession pricing available.  The best time to get there is shortly after it opens as the queues, while not long in the Disney sense of things, can still be quite long.

The Grounds

Approaching the Pagoda

The grounds of Kew Gardens are stunning.  It’s one of the largest botanical gardens in the world and houses a stunning array of botanical and mycological collections.  In 2003, the gardens were placed on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites.

It’s an easy way to spend half a day, meandering in and off the path to take in the scenery.

A bee decending onto a flower

One of the most impressive sites in Kew Gardens is the Japanese Pagoda.


It comes out of nowhere if you’re just walking around and can be seen from quite far away, towering over everything.  It was closed on the day we visited but you could still get up next to it.

The Japanese Pagoda at Kew

The Japanese Pagoda at Kew

In addition to the impressive structures within there are also several interesting greenhouses with different themes.  The Palm House is home to a variety of interesting plants however the motor in my camera seized because of the intense humidity!  Luckily it worked itself out after leaving when we entered the Lily Pond room.

If there was a prize for most photogenic area of Kew Gardens, I think this would be it.

Somehow dying the water black aides the growth of the plants while also creating an amazing reflective feature.

A good opportunity to get some close ups of plant life and flowers.

Scattered throughout the grounds are random wildflowers and in autumn the leaves change color and it is really the perfect time to visit.

There are dozens more photos I have that I may upload to this post of other areas of Kew but these were some of my favorites taken that day.  I’d highly recommend visiting if you haven’t as it’s an amazing way to spend a calm day.  Don’t forget a good camera and if you can, try for a macro lens to get beautiful detail out of your close-ups.

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