London has many great green spaces, but as long term residents of London there is one thing I wouldn’t live in London without – my Kew Garden membership! Kew Gardens to me is a must on any London bucket list, no matter how much time you have in the capital! It is also a fantastic place to visit with kids! But if you need some more convincing in this guide I will round up the best time to visit and the best things to do at Kew Gardens with kids or without!
Best Time to Visit Kew Gardens
I am going to be honest – there is no bad time to visit Kew Gardens. Even in winter, there is plenty of to see at Kew Gardens because of the beautiful palm houses and glass houses that provide year round entertainment. However if you are looking for the best time to visit I would say it depends on what you want to see
Why Visit Kew Gardens in Winter
This is a great time to visit as it is less busy and the glass houses provided great respite from the cold and rainy British weather! The gardens also look brilliant in the snow!
Why Visit Kew Gardens in Spring
Many of the beautiful flowers bloom in Spring. The highlight for me is the beautiful rose gardens which blooms in May! However other highlights in Spring are the beautiful Camelias, Magnolia and the astounding Cherry Walk!
Why Visit Kew Gardens in Summer
Summer may be the busiest time to visit the gardens but you will see the gardens in the full bloom in summer!
Why Visit Kew Gardens in Autumn
One of my favourite times to visit any garden is in Autumn. I love doing the Kew Garden treetop walkway in Autumn!
Top Tip: As you enter the garden there should be an information board to tell you what is currently in bloom and where to find it! But don’t worry if you miss it just ask a member of staff to point you in the right direction.
Best Things to Do at Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is a must for any UK Bucket list, let alone London bucket list! The gardens are expansive and you can easily spend the whole day in the grounds. Here are my favourite things to do there:
- Visit the Palm House
- The Palm House is perhaps the most iconic feature of Kew Gardens and is the first thing you will see as you walk through the main entrance! Built in 1844 the Palm House is said to have been modelled on an upturned ship! Inside you will find some of the most exotic tropical plants that the Gardens has on offer!
- One of my favourite things in the palm house is to take the stairs up to the balcony to get a birds eye view of the plants!
- Be warned: it gets very hot in the palm house which is a nice way of warming up in winter but sure makes you sweat in summer! If you are an instagrammer – do this one last otherwise you will look like a hot mess in all of your snaps!
- Princess of Wales Conservatory
- After the Palm House, this is my favourite place to visit in the gardens. It is the third largest glasshouse in the gardens (After the palm house and the temperate house) and is also the newest being built in 1987. The house explores 10 distinct plant areas. My favourite is the cactus section but other highlights include orchids and carnivorous plants and there is a special bloom which I will mention more later! This is my little girls favourite place as there is a large lily / fish pond in the middle of the house and a small aquarium.
- Visit the Kew PalaceThe Royal Palace inside the Gardens. It is the smallest of all the Royal Palaces and is most commonly associated with Queen Charlotte and of course George III who recovered from his bouts of Porphyria inside the palace. Like other royal palaces in London, such as Hampton Court Palace there are costumed explainers to help children learn more!
- Please note the palace operates seasonal opening and closes for winter
- Note: Separate ticket is required to go inside the palace.
- See the Hive Installation
- I love the Kew Garden modern art installations. The first time I went to Kew they had a fabulous temporary Chihuly exhibit which blew me away, the marrying of art and botanics. This is something Kew continue to this day. The newest installation The Hive is also a sensory learning experience. Not only being amazing to look at, the structure is there to teach us about the lives of bees! The lights and sounds change to reflect the activity of bees but my personal favourite is using a lollipop stick to feel the buzz of the bees!
- Wander round the Temperate HouseThe Temperate House underwent a massive refurbishment and only reopened to the public in 2018. This is the largest of all the glass houses in Kew and houses some of the world’s rarest temperate plants! Again, I love going up to the canopy level and looking down on the displays!
- Watch performance art
- As the temperate house as reopened, Kew have invested a lot of time into installations of performance art inside the glass house. Be sure to check if any acts are going to be during your visit. This is always a highlight for my daughter!
- View art at the Marianne North GalleryNever heard of Marianne North? Neither had I until i went to Kew! Marianne was a remarkable lady, a traveler and an artist! Her speciality of course was botanical paintings! The gallery is well worth a visit, especially if you are visiting on a rainy day!
- Take a train round the GroundsLet’s face it – little legs tire quickly and the Kew grounds are massive! For a small additional fee you can take a guided train tour round the grounds!
- Walk around the Treetop Walkway
- This is something that is always a hit with kids! The treetop walkway offers a unique view of the canopy! I particularly like to view the canopy during Autumn when the fall colours come out! IfF you are worried about visiting with babies or toddlers don’t, there is a lift to the top but you have to leave your stroller at the base!
- Tour the Pagoda
My daughter loves the pagoda, particularly going dragon spotting! Try and see if you can find the Blue Peter Dragon! For an additional fee you can climb to the top of the pagoda. It offers a lovely view of the city. Next to the pagoda is the beautiful Japanese garden which is well worth visiting too!
- Note; only suitable for children over the age of 5!
Special Things To Do at Kew Gardens
See the Titan Aram Bloom
Located in the Princess Diana Conservatory, the Titan Aram blooms once every 7-10 years and only lasts for 48 hours! The last bloom at Kew was in 2018. The flower is nicknamed the corpse flower so be warned – it gets very stinky!
Kew the Music
Every summer, Kew holds one of my favourite music events – Kew the music! A fabulous outdoor music event!
Have you visited Kew Gardens? What are your favourites things to do at Kew Gardens?