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All year except 24th/25th Dec. Last admission half hour before close. Glasshouses, Treetop Walkway & Galleries Refer to website for current times: www.kew.org
Travel Trade Office Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Richmond
Surrey, TW9 3AB
Tel: +44 (0)20 8332 5648
Kew Palace: 2 April - 27 September 2015
Adults £15.00 Concessions £14.00 Children 4 - 16 £3.50, 3 and under free. Kew Palace & Royal Kitchens included in entry fee. Friends membership: £72.00 Groups; 15% discount for pay in advance.
For events go to www.kew.org/events/index.html
300 acres of year-round delight. See website www.kew.org
Local hotels on Kew Green, Sandycombe Road and in Brentford & Chiswick
Excellent restaurants on Kew Green and near Kew Gardens Underground station.
Several pubs on Kew Green and by river.
Close to picturesque Richmond-upon-Thames
The world's most famous Botanic Garden, with an unrivalled reputation for the excellence of its research, presents itself in a 300 acre site bordering the River Thames. It can be enjoyed as much by the casual visitor wanting to spend a few hours in a very agreeable environment as by the keen gardener wanting to see prime specimens of particular interest. The visitor must not miss the many buildings of architectural and historic interest, not least the extraordinary Palm House and the Temperate House as well recent high-tech additions providing highly controlled environments, such as the Princess of Wales Conservatory.
Kew has a wonderful collection of trees, surmounted only by the (arguably) most recognised feature, the Pagoda. It has some lovely walks along wide grassy rides which provide vistas designed to lead the eye to its treasures. The landscape has been fashioned by many of the leading garden designers of their day including Charles Bridgeman, 'Capability' Brown and W. A Nesfield. Kew has an Ice House, a Cottage built for Queen Charlotte, a Royal Palace, spectacular statuary, a Japanese Gate and garden, follies, sculpture, parterres, quiet - almost private - gardens, wide sweeping lawns, lakes, ponds, a huge rockery; in fact it would be hard to name any garden feature anyone would want that is absent from Kew.
In the same vein the profusion of plants, shrubs, grasses, bamboos and so on of every kind is absolutely staggering. You could visit Kew almost every day of the year and see something new and different each time as new plantings are constantly appearing and older features re-designed and re-planted. But for many people it is, however, one of the best places in London to retire for a few hours of rest and contemplation. Nobody who has visited it could fail to love it.
Dating from 1678 when it was owned by the Earl of Essex's brother, Sir Henry Capel, and was described as having the choicest fruit of any garden in England, Kew Gardens came into Royal ownership in 1718 and was much visited by George II and Queen Caroline who stayed there in what was then Richmond Lodge. Their son, Frederick, Prince of Wales and his wife Augusta enhanced the buildings and gardens and after his death, George III, his wife Queen Charlotte and his family spent each summer at Kew.
Sir Joseph Banks, who had sailed around the world as botanist with Captain James Cook, was appointed by the King to take charge of the gardens at Kew and he encouraged plant hunters such as F. Masson to search for and send back exotic species from the West Indies, Africa, Australasia, China and India. The Cycad in the Palm House labelled 'the oldest pot plant in the world' was brought back from Africa in 1775.
In the early 19th century the gardens suffered a period of decline with George IV and William IV taking less interest in them, but in 1827 they were placed in the very capable hands of W.T. Aiton, appointed Director-General of His Majesty's Gardens, who was succeeded in 1841 by William Hooker and then by his son, Joseph Hooker, both of them noted former plant hunters and all of whom played a major part in re-invigorating the gardens, with the latter retiring only in 1885.
In the 20th century the emphasis on science and conservation continued with the rebuilding of the Jodrell Laboratory, the new Economic House, and the development of the Library and Herbarium. In 1984 responsibility for Kew Gardens was placed in the hands of a Board of Trustees under the National Heritage Act.