Short read: Exactly what it says on the tin. A guided walk in Kew Gardens at the time of the year it’s at the zenith of its freshness and beauty. N.B. There’s an admission fee to the Gardens. The walk has been created and is curated by (guided) by top-flight Blue Badge Guide and passionate gardener Sue.
Long read: Breathtaking spectacle. World centre of botanical research. World Heritage Site. “Unique cultural landscape.” Situated on Kew Peninsula (ergo the name: from “key-shaped spur of land”). That’s 14th-century. Gardens don’t get going until the convergence of three 17th-century projects: the Dutch House and the White House and their grounds and the northward expansion of the royal gardens of Richmond Upon Thames. Then in the 18th-century the Dutch House becomes Kew Palace and the White House was rebuilt as the home of Frederick, Prince of Wales. Landscape gets properly embellished (mostly in the 1730s). The octagonal ten-storey pagoda comes along in 1762 (built as a surprise for Princess Augusta). The famous Capability Brown turns his hand to the Kew project in the 1760s. A decade later Joseph Banks sets about importing, cultivating and then re-exporting consignments of exotic plants from Britain’s colonies abroad. The various gardens are united in 1802 and adopted as national botanical gardens in 1841. Brokerage facilities for vital commodities like tea, coffee, rubber, quinine and cotton also come along in Victorian times. Magnificent new buildings get erected for the cultivation of plants requiring different climatic conditions, including the Winter Garden (now the Temperate House) and the Palm House. Kew Gardens. There’s no other place like it in the world. London doesn’t come any more fascinating – or beautiful – than these gardens. N.B. this one’s timed so you can spend the whole day at Kew if you want – with perhaps a lunch break at one of the superb riverside pubs just over the river in Strand on the Green. Days out don’t come any better than this.
SPRINGTIME IN KEW GARDENS – THE PRACTICALS
Kew Gardens takes place at 10.45 am on Sunday, June 4th Meet Sue just outside the exit of Kew Gardens Tube. N.B. there’s an admission charge to Kew Gardens.