Kew gardens are one of the most biologically diverse gardens in the world. The royals of the time would use the castles on the grounds of Kew as a holiday home. If you are planning on visiting Richmond or the UK, make sure to take time out to go on a Kew Garden tour.
Worried about how to plan the Kew gardens tour? Don’t worry! We have got you covered. This article will tell you everything you need to know about the different attractions inside Kew, the best time to avail Kew gardens guided tour, and how to get Kew gardens tickets.
Advantages of a Kew Gardens Guided Tour
If you plan on making a day out of the Kew Gardens, go for a guided tour. There are several benefits to opting for the Kew gardens guided tour.
Free guided tour
We suggest you book your tickets online a few days before your visit. This way, you avoid the hassle of booking tickets at the gate. An expert-guided tour will accompany every ticket you buy. The tour group is limited to fifteen people only (on a first-come first-serve basis) , so make sure to register yourself for the guided tour as soon as you reach the gardens. The tour starts daily at 11 am from the Victoria plaza at the guide's desk.
Access to multiple art galleries that one can visit:
- With your Kew gardens ticket, you could visit the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art. the gallery always has one or the other exhibit on show. The cost of entry is included with your Kew Gardens Ticket.
- You could also choose to visit the Marianne North Gallery. North was a woman who defied traditions and norms and decided to travel the world solo. Through her travels, she painted botanical plants. A collection that is now on display in the Marianne North Gallery.
Explore upcoming exhibits this year
The Kew gardens are always flush with summer exhibitions and shows. Take some time to visit the Secret World of Plants & Japanese Gardens exhibit.
- The Secret World of Plants:
The secret world of plants exhibit is on a mission to encourage people to reconnect with nature after the time spent indoors because of the pandemic. The exhibit will feature larger-than-life art installations and different programs to help reconnect people with nature.
- Japanese Gardens:
Would you perhaps prefer a silent mindful stroll through the Japanese Gardens? The delicately maintained gardens complement the tranquil activities hosted in the Japanese gardens. The Japanese garden is a combination of three sections- a Garden of Peace, a Garden of Activity, and a Garden of Harmony. It is perfect for when you need a moment of quiet contemplation.
Get combo tours
Booking Kew gardens guided tour allows you to hit up multiple art galleries and exhibits in one go. This is far more beneficial than navigating the Kew gardens yourself. The guided tours will also provide you with maps and guides to the highlights of the season. This will help ensure you don't miss out on any Kew gardens festivities.
The Best Kew Gardens Guided Tours
Combo Guided Tours
All about Kew Gardens
Choosing the Best Kew Gardens Tickets
Here is a list of some of the best Kew Gardens tickets.
1Entry with free tours
The basic admission ticket to the Kew Gardens will take you anywhere you need to be. This ticket gives you entry to the Kew gardens and access to the Marianne North & Shirley Sherwood galleries. Cancellation is possible up to 24 hours before the experience begins. You will get a full refund.
2Along with Kensington Palace
Buying a ticket to the Kew Gardens and palaces+ Kensington palace will give you 5 percent off on ticket prices. This ticket combination gives you the same access as the basic admission ticket to Kew Gardens and Kensington Palace. Cancellation is possible up to 24 hours before the experience begins, and still, get a full refund.
3SEA Life ticket included
This ticket combo will allow you to visit the beautiful Kew Gardens and the enigmatic Sea Life London Aquarium. This ticket combo has all the features of the basic admission benefits of Kew gardens tickets and admission to SEA LIFE Aquarium London. You get to cancel your tickets 24 hours in advance and get a full refund. And you also get instant ticket confirmation.
4The London Pass
Unlimited Attractions Pass: With the Unlimited attractions pass, you can have access to more than 80 attractions all around London. This ticket works as a magic pass to the city! This ticket gives you access to 80+ attractions all over the city. The ticket can be booked for from 1-10 days. You get a mobile ticket that allows for 24-hour cancellation and a full refund.
Kew Gardens Tours Deconstructed - A Typical Guided Tour Experience
The Kew Gardens is a natural wonder that you should visit at least once in your visits across UK. the gardens have a history spanning over three centuries! This natural splendor harbors 50,000 botanical species and covers an area of over 300 acres! There are a few prominent areas that might draw your interest-
Queen Charlotte's Cottage
Queen Charlottes Cottage is considered the smallest royal residence in the UK. The Palace gives off a rustic charm. Parts of the cottage are 300 years old. The majestic cottage is tucked away in the corner of the Kew Gardens. Get yourself a self-guided tour and tour the majestic yet humble abode of Queen Charlotte.
The Temperate Glasshouse
Visit the world’s largest Victorian Glasshouse in the Kew Gardens. The Temperate glasshouse has more than 1,500 plants from temperate regions of the world. Many of the plants here are under threat. You will be transported into a temperate paradise as you walk through almost 10,000 individual plants.
The Chinese Pagoda was a gift for Princess Augusta. She was the founder of the gardens. The Pagoda was one of the earliest structures that allowed a bird's eye view of London. The Pagoda originally included 80 dragons carved from wood. However, experts believe that the dragons were sold to settle Geroge IV's gambling debt. Or that they simply rotted over time. It is still one of the most elegant structures in the Kew gardens; you have to visit the Pagoda at least once.
Xstrata Treetop Walkway
Ever wondered what the top of the Kew Gardens would look like? Well, you are in luck; the Kew Royal Botanical Gardens, on 24th May 2008, decided to build an 18-meter high walkway that would walk through the canopies of the trees available in Kew. the walkway was designed to walk you through the canopies of sweet chestnut, lime, and deciduous oak trees. The walkway will also provide bird's eye views of the gardens. This is a must-visit if you just want to wind down for the afternoon and yet catch the beautiful gardens in all their sunset glory.
Be dazzled by the rare and exquisite plant on display in the Palm House. The Palm House has dedicated itself to exploring the world's most tropic regions as a living laboratory. It was one of the largest glass structures built in 1844. Many plants in this collection are also rare and, in some cases, extinct! Take time to visit them before they are gone forever!
Ever wondered what the insides of a beehive would look like? Well, now, you can do just that through the creation of Wolfgang Buttress! At 17 meters tall, the Hive is an art installation that emulates what it would be like to walk into a beehive. The installation is fitted with more than 1,000 led lights that glow according to bees' vibrations. The art installation allows you to explore life as a bee and highlights its importance in the ecosystem.
The Kew Palace is one of the oldest buildings within the Kew Gardens. The Palace also served as King George III's summer home and where he received his education. The striking facade of the Palace reflects the aesthetic sensibilities of the times. Make sure to check out the beautifully intact private gardens and the royal kitchens that are right beside the Kew Palace.
This small, squarish glasshouse was originally built to showcase the beautiful, giant Amazon waterlily. It was completed in 1852. However, through the decades, more and more aquatic plants were added to the collection. Now the glasshouse is home to a large number of aquatic plants and tropical fruits. Of course, the lily pond, which spans over 10 meters, is the main attraction of the Waterlily House. Also, make sure to check out the Giant Waterlilies of Bolivia. The sheer size of the lilypads will inspire awe and fascination in you!
Are Kew Gardens Tours Really Worth it?
A Kew Gardens tour is an absolute must, if and when you are in London. Despite its name, the Kew Gardens is much more than just a garden. With its endless repertoire of exhibitions and art shows, Kew Gardens is a place that will stretch your imagination and will keep you occupied. You will not regret visiting the beautiful Kew Gardens. The Kew Gardens also allow for a breath of fresh air from the hustle and bustle of city life. If you want to catch a free Guided Tour, get your Kew Gardens tickets, and reach there before 11 am!
Kew Gardens Practical Information
The Kew Gardens open at 10 am and are open till 7 pm. The guided tours, however, start at 11 am. Registering yourself with the tour group 15 minutes before the tour starts is recommended since the groups are small. The cafes and restaurants in the garden are also open during this time.
The gardens remain closed during national holidays. Some exhibits and areas in the garden might remain closed for maintenance or upkeep on certain days. Check the availability of your preferred exhibits and areas before going.
Getting to Kew Gardens
The Kew Gardens is so big that it has four major gates. Depending on which route you decide to take, the four gates will let you enter the garden.
The four gates are:
- Victoria Gate (TW9 3JR)
- Lion Gate (TW9 2DF)
- Elizabeth Gate (TW9 3AB)
- Brentford Gate (TW9 3AF)
The Brentford Gate is your best bet if you are coming in through the Kew Ferry.
- By Bus:
- Bus routes 3, 25, 39, and 148 will get you to the Royal Palace of Madrid.
- Route 110 stops near Kew Gardens station and Elizabeth Gate.
- Routes 237 and 267 stop at Kew Bridge station.
- By Car: Parking in Kew is possible, but it is extremely limited and cannot be reserved beforehand.
- By Tube: The Kew Gardens station is 500 meters from the Victoria Gate
- By Train: The Kew Bridge station is close to the Elizabeth Gate via the Kew Bridge. The Richmond station has a lift and level access. It is just another bus (Bus 65) to Lion or Victoria Gate.
Here are a few things you should know before visiting the Kew Gardens:
- Though you are encouraged to cycle to the Kew Gardens, you can't bring your cycle inside the garden grounds. Strollers, skates, and trolleys too are not allowed inside the garden.
- There are no storage or locker facilities on the grounds.
- If you want to get into the Kew gardens guided tour, register 15 minutes before the tour starts.
- Kew Gardens is very mobile and take great care to provide visitors with disability and their family members, friends, and carers an amazing visit.
- Opt to eat in restaurants and cafes that use fresh produce from the Kew Gardens.
Yes, Kew Gardens do allow the purchase of the ticket for a group at reduced prices. This also allows you to get a guide all for yourself.
There is always a possibility of high foot traffic during opening hours. To navigate through the crowds, book your tickets online.
We would recommend you buy the basic Kew garden tickets. The ticket gives you a Kew gardens tour, admission to most art galleries and exhibitions, and general access to all the park areas!
Because of the sheer size of the gardens, it's best to go to the gardens as early as possible. The gardens open at 11 am and are open till 7 pm. We would recommend you stay till the sunsets to get the most out of your trip to the Kew Gardens.
Ready to head to Kew Gardens?
Fancy heading out to some other stunning London attractions? Take inspiration from our list of the best things to do in London here.