Don't let the word “gardens” fool you, because Kew's Royal Botanical Gardens are more than just collections of pretty flowers to snap photos of. As a matter of fact, the Kew Gardens are actually a living, breathing collection of some of the most stunning botanical art on the planet, and are a must-see for any visitor to London (whether you're a nature fanatic or not).

With over 300 acres to explore, Kew Gardens is one of the biggest living plant collections in the world, and even contain the largest display of seasonal flowers in Britain. Not just limited to flowers, the Kew Gardens also contain historic glasshouses, rare specimen trees, serene woodlands, and even playground areas for children to play in.

The Kew Gardens were first created in 1759, and showcase some of the best gardening art from the 18th to 20th centuries. Not only has it become one of the most popular tourist attractions in London, it's also an environment where plant scientists can study plant diversity and economic botany as well.

Kew Gardens, ducklings. By Maureen Barlin Kew Gardens, glasshouses. By Dale McEntee
Kew Gardens, plant labels. By Dale McEntee Kew Gardens, tourists. By Herry Lawford Kew Gardens, winter. By Christoper Bulle

Kew Gardens Highlights

From waterfalls, lilypads and crocuses (two million of them to be exact), to plant tunnels, treetop walkways and bamboo gardens, one could easily spend an entire afternoon walking around the many attractions in the Kew Gardens and still not see all there is to see.

In May, the Kew Gardens spring to life (literally) and the blooming of bluebells are especially popular among visitors; but it's during the summer months when the Kew Gardens are perhaps at their most beautiful. During these months, visitors can breathe in the smell of aromatic plants (like lavender, thyme, rosemary, sage and oregano, just to name a few), and also see a collection of Mediterranean fruits and vegetables (including nine different types of aubergine!)

Out of all the different types of plants and flowers species located in the Kew Gardens, none are as famous or as popular as the 250-year-old Old Lions, which are the oldest trees at Kew Palace.

The Bamboo Gardens (located at the historic Japanese Minka House which dates back to the early 1900s) are another fan-favourite, as here you can see the largest collection of bamboos in the UK.

Past visitors also highly recommend a stroll along the Treetop Walkway, which provides visitors with a bird's eye view of the Kew Gardens from 59 feet up in the air.

Special Tips

  • For obvious reasons, try to visit the Kew Gardens during the spring and summer months
  • It is highly recommended that you arrive between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. to give yourself enough time to explore the gardens in their entirety, and avoid busy entrance times as well.
  • Don't miss the lilypads behind the greenhouse!