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Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Listed under Gardens in London, United Kingdom.

  • Photo of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • Photo of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • Photo of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • Photo of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Photo of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Photo by flickr user .Martin.
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Kew Gardens was initially intended as a park for the exhibition of rare plant specimens and folly-like buildings – an 18th century exploration of exotic and outlandish garden design for the pleasure of Lord Capel of Tewkesbury and his friends. It was expanded upon repeatedly throughout the next century or so, with additions made by Frederick, Prince of Wales and his wife Princess Augusta (including the tall pagoda, designed and built by Sir William Chambers) and then by George III, who instigated the building of a romantic, gothic-style royal nursery in place of the original mansion adjoining the gardens, next to what is now Kew Green. Queen Charlotte spent her time in the rather more sensible red-brick 'Dutch House', now known as 'Kew Palace' itself.

However, Kew's identity today is defined more by its role as an institution of conservation and scientific research than by its royal history, and can in many ways be regarded at the original Eden Project, with its Millennium Seed Bank work (based at sister site, Wakehurst Place) and a mission to educate the public through first-hand exposure to the beauty and fragility of the botanical world.

A lesson in the history of plant taxonomy or horticultural skills, the chance to quiz one of the Kew Diploma students about the allotments, a treetop canopy walk or just the opportunity to admire plants from all manner of tropical, temperate and desert climes are available, and you can also book in advance to watch badgers teaching their cubs to find dinner in the Spring, bats hunting in the Summer and various other wildlife-watching trips. Seasonal exhibitions and events such as the Hallowe'en pumpkin display and the winter ice rink are always a delight, but nothing beats a summer's day spent picnicking amongst the roses and Victorian glasshouses, beneath the scented pine trees or in some of the more secluded spots along the riverside edge.

Read more here.

Written by  larapiegeler.

Other expert and press reviews

“Stairway to heaven for tree lovers at Kew gardens”

By Esther Addley for The Guardian First Published: Friday 23 May 2008 One hundred and eight steps above the woodland floor, the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew look rather different than they do at flowerbed level. Up here, among the treecreepers and t… Read more...

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Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

This historic landscape garden features elements that illustrate significant periods of the art of gardens from the 18th to the 20th centuries. The gardens house botanic collections (conserved plants, living plants and documents) that have been considerably enriched through the centuries. Since their creation in 1759, the gardens have made a significant and uninterrupted contribution to the study of plant diversity and economic botany.

Copyright © UNESCO/World Heritage Centre. All rights reserved.

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