London is absolutely gorgeous during springtime. Flowers start to pop up everywhere, and trees show off with bright variations of pink when cherry blossom starts to bloom. The city seems to be rebooted when people and animals alike get out of their winter blues.
There’s one place in London that I love to visit during this time of year. It’s situated quite a bit outside the hustle and bustle of Central London, and is an attraction I greatly admire. Kew Gardens was founded in 1840 at the former exotic garden at Kew Park, and features over 30.000 different kinds of plants. In 2003 the place was added to UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites and definitely has done its best to be attractive to all kinds of visitors.
Plenty of glasshouses and conservatories are present that are home to hundreds of exotic plants. The Palm House is even the largest surviving Victorian glasshouse in the world.
Treetop Walkway at Kew Gardens
Kids must love the Tree Top Walkway, which lets you climb up several steps until you end up on the large walkway, from where you can view the gardens from a bird’s eye view. Not for people who are afraid of heights, as it is 18m (59ft) up in the air!
When my parents and grandparents visited me for my 20th birthday, we made a day trip to Kew. My grandmother loves everything that has to do with plants and flowers, so this was definitely something to her liking. Since my grandparents experience some difficulties walking, we took the sightseeing train that drives around the park, and we got off at the places we wanted to see.
I was surprised by the variety of plants and flowers that were present in the park. I really did not expect it to be this many! Every glasshouse we entered felt like we were in a different country or a different continent for that matter. In the alpine areas, South America, Japan, China, it was like we visited these places all in one day. Even though it was quite busy in the park (it was the weekend and the weather was gorgeous), it did not feel like that, since Kew Gardens is so big and people spread out easily.
Royal Kew Palace
Another highlight of the park is The Royal Kew Palace that once was home to George III and all of his children. Some of the rooms of the palace are fully or partly restored, so that must certainly give you a feel of the place and what it must have been like in the 18th century. Unfortunately, the Palace was closed when we visited, so we only admired the beautiful exterior of the building. When you have a ticket to the gardens, you do not have to pay an extra charge to enter Kew Palace.
When we agreed that we had seen enough of Kew Gardens, we made our way back to my parents’ car and drove even more southbound to Richmond. This beautiful little village is situated 24km (15 miles) southwest of Central London. The Thames runs right through the heart of town, which makes it even more picturesque.
The village has always been a hotspot for British Royalty and features many shops, pubs, and restaurants. One thing is for certain, even though this Borough is part of London, it definitely does not feel like you are in the big city anymore.
The town has a lot of character and has earned its status with ease. We enjoyed a lovely dinner in the town center and walked in the direction of famous Richmond Park, which is three times the size of Central Park in New York. We came across Richmond Hill and watched the Thames meander below us before we returned back to the car.
Before heading back to the hotel where my parents and grandparents were staying, my father decided to drive through Richmond Park. The park is famous for its 630 Red and Fallow deer that wander around freely since 1529, and we saw a few of them in the distance. We drove slowly to get a better view, but regrettably it became dark quite quickly, so we had to turn around and make our way back to civilization. Next time I am planning on renting a bike to explore the park even more.
It is easy to find spring in London. Kew and Richmond just offer that little bit more.
Have you ever visited Kew Gardens? What was your favorite attraction?
Note: all photographs in this post are mine
How to get to Kew Gardens:
Kew Gardens is accessible by tube and London Overground (District line – Kew Gardens Station), by train (South West Trains from London Waterloo, via Vauxhall and Clapham Junction – Kew Bridge Station), and by bus (route 65, 391, 237 and 267).
How to get to Richmond
Richmond town is accessible by tube (District Line – Richmond station), by train (South West Trains from London Waterloo, Clapham Junction or London Victoria – Richmond Station), and by bus (route 65, H37 and H22).