It was Father’s Day last Sunday so as a little treat I decided to drive my Dad (and Mum!) to Kew Gardens for an early celebration on the Saturday. My Dad had no idea where we were going but as we headed towards London on the M3 I think he had an inkling… We arrived at 10.30 after driving for an hour and a half, paid the entrance fee and headed straight for the White Peaks cafe to have a cup of coffee and to plan the day ahead with the trusty map we were given with our tickets.
I’ll give a little tip to you all now… If you are planning on visiting Kew and want to experience the whole entire gardens you might need two days! We spent 7 hours there and only managed to look round half the gardens. We were planning on taking the explorer bus around to the very back where the wilder gardens are located but we just didn’t have time in the end. We did however, manage to see all that we wanted to see including the more touristy areas. It would have been nice to see the water lily pond but there’s always another day to visit and it just gives me an excuse to go again!
To start the day off we headed to Kew Palace to have a nosey around the Royal holiday getaway, afterwards we made our way to the kitchens which were in a separate building. You just so happened to have to walk through a little picket fence gate and into a small but perfectly formed kitchen garden before entering the building and it was perfect. It would be my dream to own a space like this right on my doorstep! We decided to stop for our picnic before carrying on, sitting down under the shelter of a huge tree to get away from the blistering heat of the day.
After we were fed and watered we walked down the great broad walk borders which were filled to the brim with lots of pretty flowers, even though the Alliums had finished flowering they still look stunning amongst the border and I desperately want to grow some next year. We were headed for The Hive, a structure designed by Wolfgang Buttress and inspired by scientific research all about the extraordinary life of bees and boy was it amazing! The walkway up to the structure was lined with daisies and buzzing with activity.
Next on the list was to look around the Princess of Wales Conservatory which wasn’t really my thing, lots of exotic plants and very very hot! A quick walk through the rock gardens and the Alpine House before making our way to my most favourite part of the entire gardens… The kitchen gardens!
Funnily enough it wasn’t on the actual map and we chanced upon it when looking at the horticulture school (which I would love to sign up too!) This walled garden was made up of the kitchen gardens to one side and flowers to the other with the most beautiful and longest rose archway I have ever seen. The vegetables beds were filled with everything you could imagine and very well looked after, there was even a bee hive area near the back which I just loved. We also had a look around the student vegetable plots and came away feeling very inspired.
As we headed around the corner past the Temple of Aeoius the amazing structure of the Palm House came into our view from across the lake and we just had to stop to take some photographs. It is honestly the most beautiful greenhouse, oh what I would give to have one like that (if not a tad smaller!) We stopped to look around the Victoria Plaza shop and to have a much needed ice cream and drink before making our way into the Palm House. We thought it was hot outside but nothing prepared us for how hot it would be inside! The palm trees were growing like crazy in this hot house and taking up every available space. We couldn’t resist a walk around the top walkway even though you could feel it getting hotter and hotter with every step up the beautiful circular steps. The view was worth it though…
The day was nearing to an end but we couldn’t leave without looking around the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art which was full of so much inspiring artwork, plus the air con was on and it was heaven! As we headed towards the exit we passed the Treetop Walk and feeling brave we climbed the stairs right to the top and walked around, even though it was swaying slightly!
The day had been absolutely perfect and both my parents and myself thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The gardens were huge and our intentions to look round them entirely were unrealistic, we didn’t quite realise how big and interesting each area would be. Of course the heat didn’t help either, we wanted it to be a nice day but boy was it hard walking around in that heat, especially in the green houses! None the less I completely and utterly recommend the gardens to everyone, you will walk away feeling inspired and eager to get out in your gardens to make them as pretty and amazing as Kew.