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.
Table of contents
- What to expect at Kew Gardens
- How to get to Kew Gardens
- Kew Gardens entrances
- Opening hours
- Best time to visit Kew Gardens
- Kew Gardens ticket prices
- Visiting Kew Gardens for free
- Kew Gardens tickets
- What to see at Kew Gardens
- Kew Gardens Explorer train
- Kew Gardens map
- Kew Garden parking
What to expect at Kew Gardens
While buying Kew Gardens tickets, you have three options.
You can purchase the regular Kew Garden ticket, which is the cheapest and the most popular ticket.
If you would like to know about flora and fauna at Kew Gardens, you can book the Kew Garden ticket + Podcast tour combo.
Or, if you want to try out the explorer train, you can opt for the Kew Gardens + Kew Explorer ticket.
However, because of the pandemic, you can’t book the Explorer train in advance – you must book your seat on the train once you reach the gardens.
Kew Garden’s location
The Kew Gardens is in the London borough of Richmond upon Thames, just 30 minutes away from Central London.
The 300 acres stretch of exotic gardens in 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 a large stretch of land and 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.
The nearest station to Kew Gardens is the aptly named Kew Gardens station.
This station gets served by the District line and London Overground and lies in Zone 3.
Once you get down at the Station, you must walk half a km (one-third of a mile) to Victoria Gate of the Botanical gardens.
If you’re taking the train, you must get down at Kew Bridge station.
Elizabeth Gate ends up being the closest Kew Gardens entrance from the Kew Bridge Station – a brisk 10-minute walk.
South Western Trains run services from Waterloo via Vauxhall and Clapham Junction.
Buses are the most convenient and most accessible method for traveling around the city.
To reach Kew Gardens by bus, you can use routes 65, 391, 237, or 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 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
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.
The Victoria Gate is nearest to the Palm House, the botanical, Marianne North, 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.
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.
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.
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.
Kew Gardens opens at 10 am every day, but its closing time varies all through the year.
Depending on the season, the Gardens’ closing time ranges from 3 pm to 5 pm.
Closing time schedule
|1 to 27 Oct||6 pm|
|28 Oct to 20 Nov||4 pm|
|21 Nov to 1 Jan||3.30 pm|
|2 to 31 Jan||4 pm|
The last entry into the Kew Gardens is always one hour before closing.
*The dates usually remain the same every year. For a more updated timing, click here.
Best time to visit Kew Gardens
The best time to visit the Kew Gardens is as soon as they open at 10 am, for you get to see the flowers and the plants at their day’s best and avoid the crowd.
The Kew Gardens are at their best from late August to early September.
But since the botanical gardens have plants of all seasons, you can visit it in any season.
For instance, if you visit the Kew Gardens in Autumn, you will find the gardens filled with red and yellow foliage.
It is best to visit the Arboretum 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, and visitors can see the 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 for spending 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 ticket prices
You can purchase Kew Garden tickets both online as well as at the attraction’s gate.
The price of a Kew Gardens ticket for an adult 25 years and above, if booked online, is £19.50.
Seniors 60 and above pay £17.50 for entry, while the tickets for youth aged 16 to 24 years are priced at £9.75.
Child tickets for visitors aged 4 to 15 years cost only £6.
If you also want to include the Kew Explorer train experience with the Garden entry, it will cost you £5 more.
When you book Kew Garden tickets in advance, you save a few pounds per person on the ticket cost.
Purchasing your tickets for Kew Gardens online will also save you the hassle of standing in the ticket counter queue.
Same day ticket prices
Kew Gardens’ same day tickets are costlier, even if you purchase them online.
On the day of your visit, the regular Kew Gardens entry ticket for an adult costs £19.25 per person – £1.75 more than if you had booked in advance.
Same-day Kew Explorer train experience ticket costs £27.
Even if you reach the Kew Gardens, you can still purchase your tickets online and save a few Pounds.
Important: You don’t need to print online tickets. Just show them on your mobile and walk in.
Kew Gardens discount
Kew Gardens offer discounted tickets to children up to sixteen years of age.
Kids three years and below can enter for free, while children aged 4 to 16 get a £13 discount on the adult ticket and pay only £6 to enter.
The London attraction also offers a massive 50% discount to visitors between 16 to 24 years and students with a valid ID. Their ticket costs only £9.75 per person.
Seniors (60+ years) and disabled visitors get a fixed £2 reduction on the adult ticket’s cost.
Visiting Kew Gardens for free
Kids 4 years and below walk into Kew Gardens for free.
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 three options – the regular Kew Garden ticket, the Kew Garden ticket + Podcast tour combo (you can learn about flora and fauna!), and the Kew Gardens + Kew Explorer ticket.
All these tickets are ‘smartphone tickets,’ and within 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.
You don’t need to take printouts.
Yet another good thing about these Kew Gardens tickets is 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 other ticket inclusions are:
- Access to the Art Galleries (Marianne North and Shirley Sherwood)
- Entry into Kew Palace
- Access to Treetop Walkway and Greenhouses
- Free guided walking tours at least twice a day
- Map and guide to the highlights of the season
- Access to the Children’s Garden
Sit and enjoy the calm environment at one of the cafes and eateries situated in the Kew Gardens.
Adult ticket (17-59 years): £19.50
Student ticket (16 to 24 years, ID): £9.75
Senior ticket (60+ years): £17.50
Children ticket (4-15 years): £6
Infant ticket (0-3 years): Free Entry
If you would love to learn more about flora and fauna at Kew Gardens, check out this ticket + audio guide combo.
Kew Gardens + 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.
The Kew Explorer tickets are recommended for you if you are a tourist and are likely to spend less time at the Gardens.
Nowadays, because of the pandemic, Kew Explorer train tickets aren’t available online. So instead, we suggest you buy regular Kew Gardens tickets in advance and purchase Explorer train tickets at the venue.
Adult ticket (17-59 years): £24.50
Senior ticket (60+ years): £22.50
Children ticket (4-16 years): £11.50
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
The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew offer several beautiful and exotic attractions to its visitors, making it a highly rated destination.
Some of these attractions include different glasshouses, galleries, unique 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 here is the Kew Gardens itself, which you can’t miss.
Kew offers 300 acres of colorful happiness, with flora and fauna of all kinds.
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 of the rarest and the most threatened temperate zone plants.
The temperate glasshouse takes care of those plants that are on the verge of extinction.
It is considered the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse and was re-opened in 2018 after a five-year-long restoration.
4. The Formal Gardens
The Formal Garden is a dedicated Japanese landscape that attracts tourists with its magnificent aura.
Professor Fukuhara of Osaka designed it after getting 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 built keeping the Japanese history and values intact.
Until the 20th century, the Minka house was used to move around in an emergency (like an earthquake) as they were not cemented houses.
Kew Gardens Explorer train
The Kew Explorer land train is the perfect way to explore the massive gardens.
During the guided tour around the Gardens, visitors learn about Kew’s flora and fauna and see the historic buildings within the complex.
The 40-minute train tour starts from Victoria Gate and ends at Elizabeth Gate.
Kew Gardens ticket holders can get on and off at any of the seven stops on the route.
Stop 1 – Victoria Gate
Victoria Plaza shop and cafe, Palm House, The Botanical cafe
Stop 2 – Temperate House
Marianne North Gallery, Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, Davies Exploration House, and Pavilion Restaurant.
Stop 3 – The Great Pagoda
Lion Gate and the Japanese Gateway.
Stop 4 – Natural Area and Woodland
Pinetum, Log Trail, Badger Sett, Stag Beetle Loggery, Queen Charlotte’s Cottage, Waterlily Pond, Lake, and Sackler Crossing.
Stop 5 – Rhododendron Dell
Bamboo Garden, Rhododendron Dell, Minka House, Riverside Walk and Oak collection.
Stop 6 – Brentford Gate and car park.
Stop 7 – Elizabeth Gate/Orangery
Orangery restaurant, White Peaks café and shop, Children’s Garden, Climbers and Creepers, Queen’s Garden, and Kew Palace.
Visitors may have to skip a train and wait for their turn for the next one during peak times.
Kew Gardens map
If you are a tourist, it can be a little challenging to navigate Kew Gardens.
There is help all around, but the place is so huge that a little extra help won’t hurt, primarily because the attractions are spread all around.
A map of the Kew Gardens can help you navigate the attraction easily.
It especially comes in handy if you are visiting with kids and or the elderly.
Kew Garden parking
If you’ve decided to drive to Kew Gardens, there is no need to worry about parking.
You can park your car at Ferry Lane near the Brentford Gate or in the area around Kew Gardens.
You’ll have to pay a fee of 7 Pounds for cars and taxis, which is applicable for the whole day, whereas you can park motorcycles and mopeds 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.