By the side of the River Thames, between Richmond and Kew are 300 acres of land that have become home to a World Heritage Site of immense beauty. Here you will find plants from all over the globe housed in enormous glass houses and outdoor displays unlike anything you will have ever seen before. There are 14,000 trees alone in these incredible gardens which make up part of the 40,000 plus different species of plant life cared for here.
A permanent display illustrating the development of plant life is available to view in the Evolution House. There are a few models included in the display where original specimens have long since died out, though the majority of plants on display are living example of ancient plants. The Princess of Wales Conservatory is the most complex habitat at Kew. With ten distinct climate controlled areas it offers visitors a journey through some of the most beautiful plant life on the planet.
The ‘Dry Tropics’ zone in the conservatory is a representation of the more arid parts of the world and the ‘Wet Tropics’ contain the lush rainforest vegetation and moisture loving plants of the steamy mangrove swamps. The eight other zones in the conservatory contain micro climates reserved for carnivorous plants, plants of the desert and savannah as well as lush ferns and delicate, but stunning orchids.
Look Out For…
Make a point of stopping to look at the Giant Water Lily; this plant from Asia has leaves that span an immense two metres and are strong enough to support a good 7 or 8 pounds of weight before they sink below the surface. With the giant lily on the surface of the pond visitors can walk to a lower level to get a fish’s viewpoint of the pond. Individual tanks here contain poison dart tree frogs, piranha and baby water dragons. All of these displays show the relationship between the animals and the plant life in their natural environments.
Children will love these displays and you may have trouble dragging them away. See if you can get the kids to spot the stone plants as they wander through the Princess of Wales Conservatory, these amazing plants disguise themselves as small pebbles so they are not grazed by animals in the parched landscape of Southern Africa.
The fabulous walled gardens of Kew offer a great day out for families of all ages. Filled with woodlands, incredible, stately Victorian glass houses and beautiful historic buildings there is lots to explore. The gardens at Kew are an attraction that changes appearance with the seasons which means that a visit in the autumn will offer a totally different environment than that of a visit in the spring. The colours and scents that greet you as you walk around the gardens change with the time of day and offer sensory delights to all. The opportunities for photography here are endless and Kew is eager for you to share your pictures of the plants with them.