This weekend to celebrate the end of my summer placement me and my family headed down to London for the weekend to visit Kew Gardens.
We stayed in an Airbnb just North-East of the Chilterns, near Dunstable. It was a lovely apartment out in the countryside (quite near to Ashridge Estate which we visited on the Sunday). We took the train to Kew.
I’ve wanted to go to Kew Gardens for a really long time and it did not disappoint! The large temperate glasshouse (the largest Victorian glasshouse in the world) which has been restored has reopened this year was incredible. In fact all the glass houses were amazing, both the plants in them and the stunning Victorian architecture.
Obviously being a biologist I’m maybe slightly more interested in the plant science side of Kew than you may be (if that’s not the case then woo that’s awesome) and I did get quite excited to see some of the very rare species. But even if you’re not that into this side of it then it’s still a very cool place to visit. There were some huge palms with bigger leaves than I’ve ever seen on a plant before.
There is also a fabulous cacti and succulent collection, which of course I loved. I also brought back some cacti to add to my collection from the plant shop.
Even if you’re not really interested in plants at all (why not?) this is still a very beautiful garden to walk around. My dad, in particular, really like all the different buildings. We paid extra to go up the Great Pagoda, which has some good views of London and the area surrounding Kew from the top.
One of the coolest building at the gardens for me was the Davies Alpine House, which ‘designed to create the cool, dry and windy conditions that alpine plants favour, without using energy-intensive air conditioning and wind pumps’. The glass has a really low iron content which let’s more than 90% of the light through and there are also big sails which can cover both or one side as required to stop the plants getting too hot in the summer.
There is also Kew Palace, Queen Charlotte’s cottage and the Minka House which we did not have time to visit.
The tree top walkway is definitely not something to miss when you visit, it is 18 metres above the ground and allows you to walk around in the tree canopy!
We bought lunch there from the food village and sat on one of the many lawns to enjoy it. The food wasn’t as expensive as I expected for London, but equally wasn’t cheap. (Just in case you were wondering and are planning to visit soon, there were vegan options too).
Visiting Kew was a great day out and I wished we had more time to take it all in. There’s definitely more than a days worth to see!
Look out for my post soon about why joining a sports team in Freshers is the best thing you’ll do at uni and also another one all about writing a personal statement for uni applications!!