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:
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.
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.
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.
The glasshouses are as beautiful as the plants inside them.
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.
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
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
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)
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.
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
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 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
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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