London Attractions – Kew Gardens, London
As spring comes into full bloom, many people like to go and look at the flowers blossoming on the trees. What better place to do this than the popular London attraction, Kew Gardens?
If you’re looking for things to do in London, you should pay a visit to Kew Gardens (also known as The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew), is situated in Richmond in West London. It is a World Heritage Site that was founded in 1759, and is the largest living plant and fungus collection in the world. It contains almost 30,000 different kinds of plants, seven million preserved plant specimens. The library houses more than 750,000 volumes of work, and over 175,000 prints and drawings of plants. The site of Kew Gardens formally opened in 1759, and is made up of 300 acres of gardens and botanical greenhouses. There are many unique and exciting features to see at Kew Gardens including the Treetop Walkway, Waterlily House, the Pagoda, Princess of Wales Conservatory and the Japanese Gateway.
The Treetop walkway opened in 2008 and is 18 metres high and 200 metres long. Visitors can go up and down by stairs or by a lift. The whole structure swings in the wind. The accompanying image shows a section of the walkway and the steel supports that were designed to rust to a tree-like appearance to help the walkway fit in with its surroundings.
The Waterlily House is the most humid and hottest of the houses at Kew Gardens and contains a large body of water with different varieties of water lily. It closes during the winter months, so you must see it in the summer.
The Great Pagoda lies in the south-east corner of Kew Gardens and was constructed in 1762, It’s height is 50 m and is covered with tiles and decorated with dragons. It is currently closed, but is set to reopen this year!
The Princess of Wales Conservatory was opened in 1987 by Princess Diana, Princess of Wales. It contains various types of plants including orchids, water lilies, cacti, lithops, carnivorous plants and bromeliads. It is designed to minimise the amount of energy taken to run it, and its distinctive shape helps to maximise the use of the sun’s energy. While it was being constructed, a time capsule was buried (a time capsule is a small box containing things of cultural value for future generations to dig up). It contains the seeds of basic crops and endangered plant species.
The Japanese Gateway (or “Imperial Envoy’s Gateway”) is a small replica of the gateway of the Nishi Hongan-ji temple in Kyoto. It is surrounded by a reconstruction of a traditional Japanese garden.
With so many interesting buildings and plants to see, what is stopping you from visiting Kew Gardens this spring and summer?