Declared as a UNESCO world heritage site, Kew Gardens houses the world’s most diverse and exotic collection of plants.
Kew Gardens is often described as a perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of London.
This botanical garden offers a wide range of attractions, including the iconic palm house with its exotic rainforest and The Princess of Wales conservatory where you can explore ten of the world’s climatic zones.
In this article, we try and share everything you need to know before visiting the Kew Gardens.
Kew Garden’s location
The Kew Gardens are in the London borough of Richmond upon the Thames in England, just 30 minutes away from Central London.
The 300 acres stretch of exotic gardens in the southwest greater London is a perfect place to spend a day relaxing.
The River Thames flows 500 meters from the Elizabeth gate.
How to get to Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens are spread across large stretches of land.
The Kew Gardens have four main entrances.
As a tourist visiting London, you should know that the Kew Gardens can be reached by most of the popular modes of transport.
Here are a few options to reach Kew Gardens –
The nearest station to Kew Gardens, is the aptly named Kew Gardens station. This station is served by the district line and London Overground and lies in zone 3.
When you travel by the Tube, you will be dropped 500 meters from the Victoria Gate.
If you’re taking the train, Elizabeth Gate ends up being the closest entrance. If you walk via the Kew Bridge, Elizabeth Gate will be a casual 800 meters walk from the Kew Bridge station.
South West Trains run services from Waterloo, via Vauxhall and Clapham Junction.
Buses are the most convenient and easiest method for traveling around the city. To reach Kew Gardens by bus, you can use route 65, route 391, route 237 or route 267.
Route 65 stops near the Lion Gate, the Victoria Gate, and the Elizabeth Gate.
Route 391 will drop you near the Kew Gardens station and the Elizabeth gate.
Route 237 and Route 267 pass through the Kew Bridge station.
If you’re looking for a completely natural experience, you can also ride a bicycle to the Gardens. All the four gates around the garden have bicycle racks.
At the Victoria Gate, the bicycle racks are situated on the forecourt. At Brentford Gate, they are in the car park with a covered shelter.
By River boat
During the summertime, you can also use a river boat service from the Westminster Pier to the Kew Pier.
The Kew Pier is 500 meters away from Elizabeth Gate. For obvious reasons, the service is available only in summer.
Note: Bicycles, tricycles, roller skates, skateboards, and scooters are not allowed in the Gardens. There are locker services at the Victoria Gate and the Elizabeth gate, so you don’t have to worry about your personal belongings.
Kew Gardens entrances
Kew Gardens has four entrances.
Tourists coming with Kew Gardens tickets from London can opt to reach any of these four entrances.
1. Victoria Gate
The Victoria Gate is nearest to the Palm House, the botanical, Marianne North and Shirley Sherwood galleries, the broad walk borders and the Victoria Plaza cafe and shop.
The Kew Gardens station is the closest to the Victoria Gate.
2. Elizabeth Gate
The Elizabeth Gate is at the Western end of this attraction, and is closest to the Kew Bridge Station.
The closest attractions to this gate are the orangery restaurant, the Princess of Wales Conservatory, the Kew Palace and Royal Kitchens, and the Hive.
3. Brentford Gate
Brentford Gate is situated next to Kew’s Ferry Lane car park.
The nearest attractions to the Brentford Gate are the white peaks cafe and shop, climbers and creepers and the treehouse towers.
4. The Lion Gate
Richmond station is the nearest to the Lion Gate.
The closest attractions to the Lion Gate are the Japanese Gateway and the Pavilion restaurant. The Pavilion is currently closed for renovation, and the expected reopening is spring 2019.
Kew Gardens opening hours
Irrespective of the season, the Kew Gardens open at 10 am every day.
Throughout the year, the Kew Gardens have different closing timings, depending on the season and other factors.
Kew Gardens’ closing times during different times of the year are mentioned below –
1 – 27 October 2018
6 pm (last entry 5 pm)
28 October – 20 November 2018
4 pm (last entry 3 pm)
21 November 2018 – 1 January 2019
3.30 pm (last entry 3 pm)
2 – 31 January 2019
4 pm (last entry 3 pm)
5 pm (last entry 4 pm)
6 pm (last entry 5 pm)
*The dates usually remain the same every year. For a more updated timing, click here.
Best time to visit Kew Gardens
The gardens are at their best during late August to early September.
But since the botanical gardens have plants of all seasons, it can be visited in any season.
For instance, if you visit the Kew Gardens in Autumn, you will find the gardens filled with red and yellow foliage.
The Arboretum is best visited in Autumn.
Similarly, in winter, the Kew Gardens is prepared for the holiday season.
It is the best time to observe the orchids planted in the Princess of Wales Conservatory.
Spring is already known as the season of flowers. This is the time when Kew Gardens is blooming with all the different kinds of flora.
The waterlily house is at its best during this season and the weather is perfect to spend the day outside.
Whatever be the season, we recommend you add Kew Gardens to your holiday itinerary.
Don’t believe us? Check out Kew Garden’s Tripadvisor reviews.
Kew Gardens prices
Kew Garden ticket prices are nominal.
They range from as low as 4 Pounds for kids between the age 4 and 16 years to the high of around 20 Pounds for a full adult ticket.
You can cut down on Kew Garden ticket prices further by booking your tickets online.
Buying tickets at the venue costs more because ticketing window surcharge is added (after all it costs to maintain a ticketing window and a person to man the window).
Besides, you can avoid the lines if you purchase Kew Gardens tickets online.
Visiting Kew Gardens for free
Kids 4 years and below walk into Kew Gardens for free.
However, kids from 4-16 years aren’t as lucky. They need to buy a Kew Gardens ticket that’s discounted at around 50%.
Registered blind and partially sighted visitors can enter Kew Gardens for free. Caregivers of visitors with a disability can also walk in for free.
However, if you are a local the best way to ensure free entry into Kew Gardens is by becoming a Friend of Kew. This is a value for money offer and can be yours for 69 Pounds a year.
The London Pass helps you enter more than 60 tourist attractions for free. Save time and money. Buy The London Pass
Kew Gardens tickets
While buying Kew Gardens tickets, you have two options – the regular Kew Garden ticket and the Kew Gardens + Kew Explorer ticket.
Both these tickets are ‘smartphone tickets’ and within five minutes of purchasing the tickets, they will get emailed to you.
On the day of your visit, walk up to any of the Kew Gardens entrance, show the ticket on your smartphone and walk in.
Yes, that’s right…no printouts needed.
Yet another good thing about these Kew Gardens tickets is the fact that you can claim a full refund if you cancel more than 24 hours from the day of your visit.
Regular Kew Garden Tickets
Regular Kew Gardens tickets offer you entry at any of the four entrance gates.
You can enjoy a full day in the beautiful Kew Gardens, strolling among the millions of magnificent specimens that make up these gardens.
The Kew Gardens offer you various special attractions like the Palm House, the Treetops and the glasshouses.
Sit and enjoy the calm environment at one of the cafe and eateries situated in the Kew Gardens.
With this Kew Gardens ticket, you can also join in the walking tours that take place at least twice daily.
Adult ticket (17-59 years): 17.28 Pounds
Senior ticket (60+ years): 15.25 Pounds
Children ticket (4-16 years): 5.08 Pounds
Infant ticket (0-3 years): Free Entry
Kew Gardens + Kew explorer train tickets
This Kew Gardens ticket is everything the previous ticket offers plus access to the Kew Explorer land train.
It is better known as the transportation inside Kew Gardens for the train has a total of seven stops, which help you explore the main attractions.
The train departs every half an hour from the main departure stop at Victoria Plaza.
The Kew explorer ticket allows you to board and de-board the train at any stop.
The Kew Explorer land train runs from 11 am to 4:30 pm in the evening.
The Kew Explorer tickets are best suggested if you’re a tourist and won’t be able to give more than a day to the Gardens.
Adult ticket (17-59 years): 22.36 Pounds
Senior ticket (60+ years): 20.34 Pounds
Children ticket (4-16 years): 29.48 Pounds
Infant ticket (0-3 years): Free Entry
On the ticket booking page, choose the “Full-Day Admission to Kew Gardens plus Kew Explorer ticket” option.
What to see at Kew Gardens
As already mentioned, Kew Gardens is a huge area to explore.
Kew offers several beautiful and exotic attractions to its visitors. This is why it is highly rated on Tripadvisor.
Some of them include different glass houses, galleries, amazing eateries, formal gardens, sculptures, a pond and Treetop Walkway.
Here is our list of the must-see at Kew Gardens, London –
1. Kew Gardens
The most important attraction in here is the Kew Gardens, which you can’t miss. Kew offers 300 acres of colorful happiness.
2. The Palm House
The Palm House has been one of the most popular attractions at the Kew Gardens. It is perhaps the most important Victorian iron and glass structure still surviving.
You will observe that the glasshouse is divided into world areas and the specimens are attached with complete and detailed explanations. The Palm House also has some interactive activities for both children and adults.
3. The temperate glasshouse
The Temperate Glasshouse is home to a collection the rarest and the most threatened temperate zone plants.
The temperate glasshouse takes care of those plants that are on the verge of extinction.
4. The Formal Gardens
The Formal Garden is a dedicated Japanese landscape that attracts tourists with its beautiful and magnificent aura.
It was designed by Professor Fukuhara of Osaka who got the inspiration from the Momayama period.
5. The Treetop Walk
The Treetop Walk is an 18-meter high structure that offers a splendid view of the Royal Botanical Gardens.
It also offers a 200-meter walkway around the tree tips of lime, chestnut, and oaks.
6. Minka House and Bamboo Forest
The Minka house and the bamboo forest are yet another place inspired by Japan. The Minka house is a wooden house which was built keeping the Japanese history and values behind.
Until the 20th century, the Minka house was used to move around in case of an emergency (like an earthquake) as they were not cemented houses.
Kew Gardens map
If you are a tourist, it can be a little difficult to navigate Kew Gardens.
There is help all around, but the place is so huge that a little extra help won’t hurt.
Especially because there are numerous attractions spread all around, which you shouldn’t miss.
The link provided below will give you a detailed map of Kew Gardens.
You can bookmark the map to keep it handy, or better yet, take a printout so it’s easier to read and understand. Download Kew Gardens Map
Kew Garden parking
If you’ve decided to drive to Kew Gardens, there is no need to worry about parking. Proper parking space is allocated to all the visitors’ cars.
You can park your car at the Ferry Lane near the Brentford Gate or in the area around Kew Gardens.
However, the parking space at Brentford Gate has limited slots.
You’ll have to pay a fee of 7 Pounds for cars and taxis which is applicable for the whole day, whereas, motorcycles and mopeds can be parked for free.
If you are a Blue Badge holder, you get free parking at the disabled access.
There are three disabled access parking bays and drop-off areas at Elizabeth Gate.
If you’re parking around the Kew Gardens, you should keep in mind that after 10 am, only limited parking is available.
There may be some restrictions on residential streets. There is no coach park at Kew Gardens.
The car park closes 30 minutes after the Kew Gardens close.
Popular attractions in London
She loves to explore new destinations and places at every opportunity available, but she loves to do so with proper planning and according to set schedules. She doesn’t prefer well-known destinations and clichéd touristy activities. Once back, she regales her friends with exciting stories from far off destinations. During her travels, she loves to dress up like the locals. Favorite Cities: Quebec City, Nice, Dodoma, Marrakech