Is Kew worth visiting? Yes. Yes. Yes.
Here is a quick list of some useful things to bear in mind before you go there.
Book your tickets online or get them at the gate.
The gift shop is fabulous! Save the shop until you leave to save carrying everything around for hours.
Children will find fun in nature. There is a large park, children’s sections, and log walks for them to engage with. Take snacks to tide them over, and accompany them at all times.
Food is available from multiple stands or in the main canteen. I recommend taking snacks for the long walk round or a picnic to eat in the park. Take your rubbish home or bin it. No littering.
Comfy shoes are a must! You will hugely regret the decision to don the pretty shoes that match your outfit instead of the comfy not so pretty trainers. Thank me later.
Grab a map at the entrance. This will help you navigate all of the points of interest. If you are bad at map reading, you’ll be pleased to know that google maps works just fine inside Kew and many of the structural buildings appear on there.
Hay fever tablets – Take them before you arrive so they kick in but the time you get there. There are flowers from around the world are situated all over Kew Gardens and the last thing you want is a sneeze attack ruining your day.
Sunny weather is ideal. If it is raining you will spend 90% of your time getting wet. If that’s not a problem for you then by all means visit in the rain. It will be amazing all the same.
Dress for hot and cold / wear removable layers because the different glass houses are temperature controlled. One minute you are sweating in a tropical room and the next, you are freezing cold with the alpine plants.
The hive (pictured above) is an eerily beautiful place. The noise it makes is soothing and it’s a great place to sit and catch your breath. Sit beneath it or walk up the hill to get onto it. Your choice.
Kew Palace – (pictured below) This overtly orange building is like a separate attraction all of it’s own. It is free to enter, however, it is recommended that you make a small donation to keep the palace going. There is a lot of interesting history here to explore, and when I visited last, there was a mental health exhibition on the top floor which was excellent.
Sports games and jogging are not allowed at Kew. Leave the football at home and enjoy the nature instead.
Time needed to explore can range from a few hours to a whole day. If you want to see everything at a glacial pace then plan a whole day visit. Realistically, you need a half or full day because there is so much to see and lots of ground to cover.
Wildlife doesn’t just mean insects. Look at this beautiful peacock above that we saw on our way around. Be prepared to see more bees than you have ever seen before in such a beautiful setting.
Exhibitions change throughout the year. Have a look at the Kew website to see what’s on before you go. For example, the first time I went there was a glass exhibition which was incredible. Pieces/Instillations are generally dotted around Kew.
Aside from the flowers there are plenty of interesting buildings to explore such as this pagoda or Queen Charlottes cottage.
Renovations – speaking of the cottage… check for renovation works on the various attractions before you go. We walked 15 minutes off our planned route to realise it was under renovation. Don’t make the sane mistake.
Getting to Kew Gardens can be done by rail (Kew Gardens Station) or by car (parking in residential areas is never guaranteed). There is also a limited spaces car park for under £10 for the day.
Do not pick the flowers – As beautiful as they are, and as tempting as it may be, do not pick the flowers. Let them stay as they are!