Kew Gardens is one of the great botanical gardens and you can get 2FOR1 on entry with us
Whether you’re fanatical about flowers or in awe of amazing architecture, Kew Gardens has the wow factor on so many levels. Kew Gardens – officially known as the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – is home to the largest and most diverse collection of plants in the world. Step through the gates to discover more than 300 acres of land, with 50,000 plants and over 7 million preserved specimens, many of them gathered by famous scientists and explorers like Charles Darwin and David Livingstone.
It’s impressive for adults, but it makes for a great family day out too. Kids will love running through the grounds, exploring the Children’s Garden, and admiring the views from the soaring treetop walkways.
It’s also London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Site and has more than 2 million visitors each year. Become one of them and travel by train with a National Rail ticket to get 2FOR1 entry or discounted entry through SWR Rewards. Read on for more information on Kew Gardens, including how to get there, things to do and places to stay.
Where is Kew Gardens?
Kew Gardens is located in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, just 10 miles – or approximately half an hour by train – from central London. It runs alongside the River Thames, and you can enjoy views across the water from inside the Gardens.
Twickenham and Wimbledon are nearby, and Richmond is just around the corner, so consider a visit to these areas as part of your day out.
The opening times at Kew Gardens vary throughout the year, especially when special events are on, so be sure to check them before you travel.
How to get to Kew Gardens?
Since parking is limited, it’s recommended that you use public transport to get to Kew Gardens. If you travel by train with a National Rail train ticket, you can get 2FOR1 tickets. And if you book direct on our website or app, you'll get discounted entry tickets through SWR Rewards.
Travelling by train
Kew Bridge station is the nearest station to Kew Gardens when travelling by train. You can get a direct train to Kew Bridge from London and Staines, and other popular routes include travelling from Reading and Woking. From Kew Bridge, you’re just 800m from the Elizabeth Gate entrance.
Alternatively, you can take the District line (Richmond branch) or the London Overground to the aptly named Kew Gardens station, which is in London fare zone 3 and just 500m from the Victoria Gate entrance.
You can travel from London to any Kew station using a London Travelcard. You can also get there using an Oyster card or contactless, but bear in mind that you won’t be able to get 2FOR1 entry or discounted entry. Your London Travelcard must be bought from a National Rail station and not issued from Transport for London to get this 2FOR1 offer. The discounted entry through SWR Rewards is not applicable with London Travelcards.
Things to do in Kew Gardens
A lot of your day out will be spent exploring the sprawling gardens, which are spread out across various themed areas. Stroll through the Arboretum – made up of an impressive 14,000 trees – and along the way brush up on science in the Agius Evolution Garden, and take time to stop and smell the flowers in the Rose Garden. Journey to a faraway land as you wander through the Bamboo Garden and the Japanese Landscape, and reach new heights in the dramatic Rock Garden, featuring plants from mountains around the world.
Houses and buildings
While many of the collections are found outdoors, others are found in Kew’s unique glasshouses. Temperate House might just be the most iconic – it's the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse and home to more than 10,000 plants. Palm House is another must-see, where you can discover tropical plants from the depths of the rainforest.
And don’t forget to visit Kew Palace – the smallest of Britain's royal palaces dating back to the 17th century.
Kew Gardens is full of fun activities and experiences for all the family. Put on your walking shoes as there’s plenty of land to explore, including 37 acres of classic woodland in the Natural Area. And the possibilities aren’t only on ground level – you can enjoy magical views through the leafy canopy from the Treetop Walkway.
Galleries and libraries
Whether you’re on a group trip, a day out with the kids or simply want to brush up on your own knowledge, Kew’s collection of galleries and libraries is brimming with history and culture. Travel the world through the spectacular paintings at the Marianne North Gallery, then visit the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art – the world’s first public gallery dedicated to this topic.
Kew is well-known for its spectacular events, and Christmas at Kew is a particularly magical time of year, with incredible illuminations and light shows dazzling visitors on winter evenings. In summer, big names perform in spectacular surroundings at Kew the Music, and throughout the year there are exhibitions, courses, tours and more!
Food, drink, and shops
Kew Gardens restaurants
There’s a wide variety of options for eating and drinking at Kew Gardens. Grab a quick bite to eat at the Victoria Gate Café or the Orangery, or head to White Peaks for the most family-friendly options. Dine al fresco at the Pavilion Bar & Grill, or for something a little fancier, try an afternoon tea at The Botanical.
Kew Gardens shops
Whether you want to treat yourself to some homeware, stock up on stationery or grab a gift, the shops at Kew are full of options. The Victoria Plaza Shop is the biggest of the bunch, while the White Peaks Shop is best for children. The Pavilion Shop has a range of popular gifts and books, and the Galleries Gift Shop is the go-to for prints to remind you of your day out. And if you don’t make it to one of the gift shops, you can visit the online shop when you’re back home.
Places to stay in Kew Gardens
There are plenty of B&Bs and hotels near Kew Gardens to choose from depending on your trip type and budget.
If you’re planning a romantic weekend away or celebrating a special occasion, consider a stay at the Kew Gardens Hotel, only 10 minutes’ walk from the Gardens.
Bed and breakfast
Whether you’re planning a half term activity for the kids or you’re having a day out in London, why not make a weekend of it with a stay in the boutique Kew Gardens BandB, just a stone’s throw away from the Victoria Gate entrance.
There are also lots of options that won’t break the bank. For the best prices, book a night at the Kew Rooms bed and breakfast, or why not try the Kew Gardens & National Archives homestay?
Kew Gardens tickets
There are different ticket prices for adults, young adults, children, students, families, and concessions. If you’re an NHS worker, an essential carer, or you’re a registered blind or partially sighted visitor, you can enter free of charge.And don’t forget to check out SWR Rewards hub for exclusive discounts on dining deals, theatre tickets, hotel stays, days out and much more