A totally different world awaits you just a short distance away from London. This is a world of calm tranquility, of extensive lawns and flowers with unexpected treasures such as a tree top walk and a royal palace. Kew is one of London’s hidden secrets.
The wide expanses of parkland make you feel as though you are far away from the busy London streets, which on a hot humid day can be a real treat. London’s green spaces have always been highly prized and Kew is no exception.
Kew Gardens is the largest and most diverse botanical garden in the world, housing hundreds of thousands of different flowers, many of which are rare and endangered in the wild. The gardens are so important that they are UNESCO listed and contain acres of beautiful scenery. You can explore on your own or join one of the many free walking tours that take place daily. It is full of surprising hidden corners such as the Minka House, which was originally a farmhouse near Okazaki City in southern Japan. It was donated to Kew as part of the 2001 Japanese Festival.
Hunt out the Badger Sett, home to several badgers who live underground; and the incredible willow sculptures by Tom Hare, which line the walkways near the Main Gate. Designed to resemble giant flowers, the sculptures include horse chestnut and a giant star anise. These is something for everyone who resident at hotels near Earls court and especially, Artists may enjoy visiting the Marianne North Gallery lined with hundreds of paintings of flowers, landscapes, animals and birds from all over the world.
Don’t forget to explore the massive glasshouses containing thousands of exotic plants.
Then there is the meandering Tree Top Walkway where you can get a bird’s eye view of the gardens but beware – you do need to climb over a hundred steps to reach it. How about exploring a Chinese Pagoda? Tucked away in the furthest corner of the grounds is a magnificent Chinese Pagoda complete with dragons, which was built in 1762.
Equally unusual is The Hive. This is a giant translucent building that resembles the interior of a beehive. You can actually step inside and find out what life is like for the busy bees who live within hives. Constantly changing lights and sounds create a multi-sensory experience.
To complete your visit to Kew which is well connected from Mowbray Court Hotel, head for the smallest royal palace in the country. Kew Palace was a royal retreat popular with the royal family in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. You can visit many of the rooms, which are beautifully proportioned and decorated, as well as the stunning Royal Kitchens. Recently restored, the Royal Kitchens include numerous preparation rooms and the massive Great Kitchen which would been at the heart of the culinary activity, preparing extensive meals every day.