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Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy and are inspired by the stories I tell and the suggestions and thoughts I share. To find out more about what These Are The Heydays is all about, click here

- Diane

Why Kew Gardens is such a great day out for the whole family

Why Kew Gardens is such a great day out for the whole family

If you’re looking for a great value day out that will keep the whole family entertained any time of year, look no further than Kew Gardens. Here are my top 10 reasons why:

Reason 1

You definitely don’t need to be a garden/plant/gardening enthusiast to enjoy the HUGE variety of plants, trees, flowers and general wonders of nature on offer in the 300 acres of gardens and glasshouses.

There’s an abundance of trees, plants and flowers to enjoy at Kew Gardens

There’s an abundance of trees, plants and flowers to enjoy at Kew Gardens

Reason 2

You don’t have to worry about walking around if you don’t want to or can’t. There’s an excellent little hop-on-hop-off land train which runs every half an hour and also offers a guide to the gardens. There’s space on board for one manual, fixed-wheel wheelchair at the back, and some storage space for buggies.

The hop-on-hop-off land train is an easy way to see around the 300 acre site

The hop-on-hop-off land train is an easy way to see around the 300 acre site

In terms of general accessibility, the site is mostly flat with well maintained tarmac paths, and most of the attractions can be accessed with buggies and wheelchairs.

Reason 3

The glasshouses are as beautiful as the plants inside them.

After a five year renovation the magnificent Temperate House has re-opened and is home to some of the world’s rarest and most threatened temperate plants

After a five year renovation the magnificent Temperate House has re-opened and is home to some of the world’s rarest and most threatened temperate plants

Reason 4

They have terrific exhibitions and special events all year round. Currently the gardens are playing host to a collection of arresting glass sculptures by the artist Dale Chihuly, which are displayed with eye-catching effect in and amongst the plants across the whole of the site, as well as in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art. The exhibition, called Reflections, runs until October 27th.

The glass and steel sculptures by Dale Chihuly appear to emerge from the pond in the Waterlily House

The glass and steel sculptures by Dale Chihuly appear to emerge from the pond in the Waterlily House

They also have a terrific range of performances, guided walks, courses and talks all year round, and an annual highlight of their events calendar is their Christmas At Kew light show (you have to book well in advance for that one)

All the details are on their excellent website

Reason 5

They have a number of permanent installations/attractions, including the towering Great Pagoda, a lifesize badger’s set to explore and a thrilling tree-top walkway

Can you spot me in the middle of the treetop walkway?

Can you spot me in the middle of the treetop walkway?

But for my money the best of all is The Hive, an astonishing mesh frame standing 17 metres high, surrounded by a flower meadow, that recreates life inside a beehive. (At the time of writing, The Hive is closed for essential maintenance, so check before you go that it’s open again. It really is a not-to-be-missed experience)

My favourite Kew attraction - the astonishing Hive. A sense of life inside a beehive is conveyed using light and sound.

My favourite Kew attraction - the astonishing Hive. A sense of life inside a beehive is conveyed using light and sound.

Reason 6

There is a fantastic, enormous children’s garden, packed with interactive activities to climb on, run around and explore, that also help young visitors understand what plants need to grow and thrive. Do note though, you can’t just go in any time, so it’s best to to book a slot (which is free and lasts for 90 minutes) before you go, which you can do online here Otherwise they do have a limited number of slots available on the day.

The activities in the extensive children’s garden are designed to give them an understanding of what plants need to grow and thrive

The activities in the extensive children’s garden are designed to give them an understanding of what plants need to grow and thrive

Reason 7

There’s loads for kids to do. Aside from the children’s garden, there are lots of activities and special events for children of all ages, from hands-on learning and story sessions to performances and guided walks. Find out more by clicking here

Reason 8

There are plenty of good quality cafes and restaurants around the site offering everything from fine dining to street food. The full list is here You can also bring your own picnic and eat surrounded by the majestic trees and plants.


The gardens make a beautiful backdrop for a picnic

The gardens make a beautiful backdrop for a picnic

Reason 9

The tickets are great value, especially bearing in mind how much there is to do. You can buy well-priced family tickets and children under 4 get in free. All the details plus information on opening hours are here

Reason 10

Although parking is relatively limited, transport is easy and quick from central London (it takes 30 minutes) by overground or tube. Here’s all the travel info you need.

Where do you recommend as a great family day out?


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