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Kew Gardens – ticket, prices, discount, hours, entrance, explorer train

Kew Gardens has a rich history dating back to the 18th century when Queen Caroline established it as a royal estate.

Today, it is home to over 50,000 living plants, making it one of the world’s largest and most diverse collections.

Declared 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 escape the hustle and bustle of London, with its picturesque landscape and wondrous, gleeful attractions.

This botanical garden offers many 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.

This article covers everything you must know before booking Kew Gardens tickets.

What to expect at Kew Gardens

Picture yourself strolling through the iconic Palm House, surrounded by lush tropical greenery that transports you to exotic landscapes.

Marvel at the grandeur of the Temperate House, where towering canopies of rare plants beckon you into a botanical haven.

The Waterlily House offers serenity, as colossal lily pads dance on reflective waters, while the Davies Alpine House showcases the resilience of alpine treasures.

Ascend the Treetop Walkway to satisfy the childlike yearning of gliding through treetops.

Explore the Princess of Wales Conservatory, a climactic voyage through ten diverse zones.

Engage in an interactive childlike dreamland designed for children at the Children’s Garden at Kew with towering treehouses, imaginative landscapes, climbing structures, and a classroom of wonders, which spark curiosity and creativity.

Indulge in a delicious feast and educational experience at the unique, almost surreal Family Kitchen and Shop, indulge in High afternoon tea at the Botanical Brasserie, or dine at any of the fine restaurants at Kew.

People visit Kew Gardens for its serene atmosphere and the beautiful events it orchestrates throughout the year, such as Christmas at Kew.

Top attractions you can explore at the Kew Gardens are:

  • Queen Charlotte’s Cottage
  • The Temperate Glasshouse
  • Pagoda (closed until spring 2024)
  • Xstrata Treetop Walkway
  • Palm House
  • The Hive
  • Kew Palace
  • Waterlily House
  • Davies Alpine House
  • The Princess of Wales Conservatory

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Where to book tickets

Tickets for Kew Gardens are available online and at the attraction.

Online ticket prices tend to be cheaper than tickets at the attraction.

When you buy online, you can avoid the long queues at the ticket counters. 

Because some attractions sell a limited number of tickets, booking early helps avoid last-minute disappointments.

How do online tickets work

Visit the booking page for Kew Gardens, select your travel date and the number of tickets, and make the booking.

Once you complete the booking process, the tickets will be mailed to you.

You do not need to carry printouts.

Show the e-ticket on your smartphone at the entrance and walk in. Carry a valid ID.

Kew Gardens ticket prices

The tickets for the Kew Gardens cost £14 for adults between 30 and 64 years and £12 for those above 65 years.

Youth between 16 and 29 and students (with a valid ID) get a discount and pay only £7 for a ticket.

Tickets for children between four and 15 cost £4.

Kids under four years old can get in for free.

There are two family ticket options.

The first option with one adult and two children costs £29, and the second option with two adults and two children costs £48.

Seniors (64+ years) and disabled visitors get a fixed £2 reduction on the adult ticket’s cost.


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Kew Gardens tickets

This ticket is the cheapest way to explore Kew Gardens

Regular Kew Gardens and Kew Palace tickets offer entry at any four entrance gates.

With this ticket, you get access to the Art Galleries (Marianne North and Shirley Sherwood), Treetop Walkway, Greenhouses, and the Children’s Garden.

You also get admission to Kew Palace. However, the palace is closed in winter.

If you’re visiting between February and March, this ticket also grants you admission to the Orchid Festival.

Free guided walking tours are offered at least twice a day.

You’ll be provided with a map and guide to the highlights of the season.

You can claim a full refund if you cancel more than 24 hours from the day of your visit.

Ticket Prices

Adult Ticket (30 to 64 years): £14
Student Ticket (with a valid ID): £7
Youth Ticket (16 to 29 years): £7
Senior Ticket (60+ years): £12
Child Ticket (4 to 15 years): £4
Infant Ticket (up to 3 years): Free
Family Ticket (1 adult & 2 children): £29
Family Ticket (2 adult & 2 children): £48

Bench in Kew Gardens London
Image: Kew.org

If you would love to learn more about flora and fauna at Kew Gardens, check out this ticket + audio guide combo.


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Visiting Kew Gardens for free

Kids aged four 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 enter 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 an affordable price. The membership stays active for the entire year.

The London Pass helps you enter more than 80 tourist attractions for free. Save time and money. Buy The London Pass


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How to reach Kew Gardens

The Kew Gardens is in the London borough of Richmond upon Thames, just 30 minutes from Central London. Get Directions.

Kew Gardens has four main entrances, and the River Thames flows 500 meters (.31 mile) from the Elizabeth Gate.

The 300-acre stretch of exotic gardens in southwest greater London is a perfect relaxing place.

By Tube

The nearest station to Kew Gardens is the aptly named Kew Gardens station

The District line and London Overground serve it and lie 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.

By Train

If you’re taking the train, you must arrive at Kew Bridge station.

From Kew Bridge Station, Elizabeth Gate is the closest Kew Gardens entrance. You can reach it in 10 minutes.

South Western Trains run services from Waterloo via Vauxhall and Clapham Junction.

By Bus

Buses are the most convenient and 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.

Note: Visitors can also use riverboat service from the Westminster Pier to the Kew Pier during summer. The Kew Pier is 500 meters (.31 mile) from Elizabeth Gate.

Kew Garden parking

Visitors can park their car at Ferry Lane near Brentford Gate or around Kew Gardens.

Parking motorcycles and mopeds are free.

Around Kew Gardens, only limited parking is available after 10 am.

If you are a Blue Badge holder, you must head for the Elizabeth Gate, which has three disabled-access parking bays and drop-off areas.

Bicycle racks are available at all four entrance gates and can be used for free.

Check out parking at Kew Gardens to know more.


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Kew Gardens entrances

Kew Gardens has four major entrances.

Tourists with Kew Gardens tickets bought online can enter through any of these four entrances.

Victoria Gate

Victoria Gate entrance at Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens’ Victoria Gate. Image: Daniel Case / Wikimedia

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.

Elizabeth Gate

Elizabeth Gate at Kew Gardens
Image: Karen

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

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 Japanese Gateway and the Pavilion restaurant are the closest attractions to the Lion Gate.

Note: Bicycles, tricycles, roller skates, skateboards, and scooters are prohibited in the Gardens. There are locker services at the Victoria and Elizabeth Gate, so you don’t have to worry about your personal belongings.

When you buy Kew Gardens and Kensington Palace tickets together, you get a 10% discount code, which you can use (five times!) to get discounts on future purchases.


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Kew Gardens opening hours

Kew Gardens opens at 10 am daily, but its closing times are seasonal and vary throughout the year.

The Gardens’ closing time ranges from 3 pm to 6 pm, depending on the season.

Closing time schedule

Period Closing time
1 April to 30 April 7 pm
1 May to 31 August 7 pm, Saturday, Sunday, and Bank Holiday at 8 pm
1 to 30 September 7 pm
1 to 28 October 6 pm
29 October to 13 November 4 pm
14 November to 7 January 3 pm
8 January to 31 January 4 pm
February 2024 5 pm
March 2024 6 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


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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 best and avoid the crowd.

We also recommend planning your visit during weekdays instead of weekends for a less crowded experience.

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 them 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 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 the season, we recommend you add Kew Gardens to your holiday itinerary.


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What to see at Kew Gardens

The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew offers visitors several beautiful and exotic attractions, making it a highly-rated destination.

Some of these attractions include different glasshouses, galleries, unique eateries, formal gardens, sculptures, a pond, and the Treetop Walkway.

Here is our list of the must-see at Kew Gardens, London.

Kew Gardens

The most important attraction here is the Kew Gardens, which you can’t miss.

Kew offers 300 acres of colorful happiness, with flora and fauna of all kinds.

The Palm House

The Palm House at Kew Gardens
The Palm House at Kew Gardens. Image: Richard Mcall / Pixabay

The Palm House has been one of the most popular attractions at the Kew Gardens. It is 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.

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 plants 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.

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.

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.

Minka House and Bamboo Forest

The Minka house and the Bamboo forest are other places inspired by Japan.

The Minka house is a wooden house that keeps 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 Palace

Kew Palace is the country’s smallest palace. It was built in 1631 for silk merchant Samuel Fortrey.

King George II, Queen Caroline, and later, King George III sought refuge during his mental illness.

Queen Charlotte also lived there and passed away in the palace. It provides an intimate look into royal history.


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Kew Gardens Explorer train

Kew Gardens Explorer Train
Image: Twitter

The Kew Explorer land train is the perfect way to explore the massive gardens.

Visitors can get the Kew Explorer tickets once they are in the garden.

During the guided tour around the Gardens, visitors learn about Kew’s flora, fauna, and 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. 

Download the route map of the Explorer train


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Kew Gardens map

Navigating Kew Gardens can be a little challenging if you are a tourist.

There is help all around, but the place is so huge that extra help won’t hurt, primarily because the attractions are spread all around.

map of the Kew Gardens can help you navigate the attraction easily. 

It especially comes in handy if you visit with kids or older people.

FAQs about the Kew Gardens

Here are some frequently asked questions bout the Kew Gardens in London.

Where can I buy tickets for a tour of Kew Garden?

You can buy your tickets both online and at the location, but we suggest you book your tour online to skip the hassle of waiting in queue.

Are there any discounts or special offers for Kew Gardens and Kew Palace tickets?

Kew Gardens offers a discount of £2 for senior citizens and disabled visitors, £8 for students, and £10 for children between 4 and 15. There are special group rates and family packages, too.

Does this ticket include access to the explorer train in the Kew Gardens?

No, you do not get explorer train access with this ticket. However, you can buy it once you are inside the Gardens.

Do I need to bring identification for entry into Kew Gardens London?

While it’s generally not required, you must carry a valid ID if you’ve purchased a ticket that includes a discount for students, seniors, or residents.

Is Kew Gardens accessible to wheelchair users?

Yes, Kew Gardens is committed to being fully accessible to all visitors. Wheelchairs are available for free hire, and there are accessible toilets and eating areas. Most buildings, gardens, and attractions are wheelchair-friendly.

Are food and beverage facilities available at Kew Gardens?

Yes, Kew Gardens has several dining options ranging from cafes and restaurants to smaller kiosks. These offer a variety of meals, snacks, and drinks.

Can I buy plants at Kew Gardens?

Visitors to the Kew Gardens can purchase various plants at the plant center, with the selection varying by season in the shop. Its opening times are from Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. On Sundays, it stays open from 11 am to 5 pm.

Sources

# Kew.org
# Wikipedia.org
# Britannica.com
# Whc.unesco.org

The travel specialists at TheBetterVacation.com use only high-quality sources while researching & writing their articles. We make every attempt to keep our content current, reliable and trustworthy.

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This article was researched & written by

Edited by Rekha Rajan & fact checked by Jamshed V Rajan

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