Kew Gardens in Autumn
Kew Gardens in Autumn
The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew are a blissful, verdant escape from hectic London. The majestic trees and stunning Victorian hot houses are a heavenly experience as the year turns to vibrant Autumn.
The gardens are a celebration of plant life and fungi, they were founded in the 1759 and are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
While the gardens may be a joy to wander around and explore, behind the scenes the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew have been conserving and cataloging plants for over 250 years and through this much has been discovered about the diversity and beneficial uses of plants.
Kew Gardens are one of the most famous gardens in the world, so when we arrived in London on Saturday an autumnal stroll around the gardens seemed like a splendid idea for a sunny Sunday.
The gardens have a reduced rate from the beginning of November until the end of January meaning you can enjoy the glorious autumn experience a little bit cheaper.
We arrived at lunchtime, grabbing pastries and cake from a stall in front of Kew Gardens Tube station. There is a Tesco Metro and an Organic Supermarket there too if you wanted to grab a picnic to take in (there are cafes and restaurants inside the Gardens as well).
The Palm House was out first port of call, this magnificent greenhouse it like stepping into a tropical Victorian paradise: towering palms and great banana trees stand among familiar plants like rubber, cocoa, rattan and jackfruit.
The hot environment will fog up your glasses and camera lenses, and if you climb up to the upper balcony the heat is stifling. The view over the tops of the palms is impressive, as are the delightful spiral staircases leading up to it.
Below the Palm House, another staircase leads down to a Marine Aquarium, showing the diversity of underwater plant life, and a few fish.
We ate our pastries sitting on a bench overlooking the rose garden, there were still a few fragrant blooms scenting the air. The great trees leading off down the gardens were surprisingly still very green for November, only a few were tinged with gold and red.
The Xstrata Treetop Walkway allows you to stroll through the canopy, eighteen metres above the ground. From up here you can see over the trees, you can even spot The Shard on a clear day: we saw it, glinting in the far distance.
Things looked a lot more autumnal over at the lake; the attractive Sackler Crossing providing a striking bridge across the still water.
The clever architectural design of this bridge looked wonderful in the low autumn sunshine, the walkers on the crossing casting shadows onto the ethereal walls.
There is also a traditional Japanese farm-house: these Minka houses were constructed from wood, wattle and daub, without nails. They were freestanding, this allowed them to be moved in the event of an earthquake. This actual house was once inhabited in Japan, it now stands hidden among tall bamboo in the gardens.
We had a very enjoyable afternoon, the gardens are beautiful even without flowers.
The peace and tranquility of the gardens is punctuated every few seconds by low flying planes en route to Heathrow. They didn’t bother me, I can tune-out bagpipes (I used to work in a shop that played bagpipe music all day, every day) therefore I can block out an aeroplane!
Kew Gardens in Autumn is a perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon. There is much to see and do, all included in the entrance fee.
There is an activity book for children (£4) that has stickers and plant-based treasure hunts, the gardens do not allow push scooters though, we had to leave one at the gate.
I’d definitely like to return in the spring or summer to see it in its full, flowered glory.
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Where are your favourite Autumn walks?
By Rachel A Davis