June 4, 2015

#TBT: OUR VISIT TO KEW GARDENS IN LONDON

Ever since moving to California I haven't had much time and money to travel around Europe - I mean I barely even have enough time to travel around the US! And even though I haven't seen as much as I wanted to from my own continent, I though I'd share some of my previous adventures here as part of a little trip down memory lane. So maybe this is more for myself than you guys, haha! I can't guarantee this will be a weekly thing because I didn't travel that much (after all I was a student with no money) but let's say we'll start with every first Thursday of the month and see from there!  


It's only appropriate we start with one of my last extensive visits to London - my favourite city on this whole goddamn planet! I studied a semester abroad in London and got to see every little corner of the city center but it was only afterwards (two years later in my case and right after we got engaged) that I visited Kew Gardens and got to discover a completely different part of the city when Nick was living in West London. It's one of those destinations perfect for a third or second visit to London, because the city is just too big!

 Bear with me because this is going to be an overload of pictures...

THE PALM HOUSE



As you can see from the pictures the weather was absolutely amazing that time and on one of the last days of my visit we decided to make the most of it and plan a little day trip from Ealing to Kew Gardens, which was founded in 1840. The Royal Botanical Gardens are in zone 3 and contain the world's the largest collection of living plants. It was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2003. 


Now, I'm not particularly fond of walking around a park for hours - and trust me, with 121 hectares of gardens and green houses that's a real possibility - but I have to admit this was really impressive. Partly because of the hot weather we didn't cover the whole park (it's probably impossible to do that in one day), but here is a small summary of what we did see:

THE WATERLILY HOUSE



Obviously we started with the Palm House and took the most pictures there because we were fresh and energetic. From there we went on to the waterlily house to admire my favourite flowers...

THE TEMPERATE HOUSE




The Temperate House in Kew Gardens was commissioned in 1859 and is the world's largest surviving Victorian glass structure. They don't make green houses like this anymore, that's for sure! Or at least I think they don't... It is larger than the Palm House, which seems almost impossible. Unfortunately it's currently closed for restoration and will be reopened in 2018. Guess we were lucky!  


TREETOP WALKWAY


If I have to pick one think I liked best, it would probably be the treetop walkway, which opened in 2008. It's pretty self explanatory since you get to walk around between the trees and get an amazing view of parts of the park and London. It was so quiet and peaceful. Also, am I the only one who thinks there is something extremely science fiction about this elevator? 


One of our last stops for the day was a visit to Kew Palace and the Royal Kitchens. We still had to pay an extra 4.50 pounds for admission to see the interior and go down to the kitchens, but from the website I see that they changed their policy and nowadays it's included in the normal ticket price. Which is a pretty good idea if you ask me.  

KEW PALACE AND THE ROYAL KITCHENS



Kew Palace was built in 1631 and is one of the smallest Royal Palaces. I could already see myself living there actually. I love the red brick and facade of the house. As for the interior... well, it's not as decadent as Hearst Castle, but it does make you feel as if you walked straight into a Jane Austen novel! 


We basically spent a whole day outside, roaming the gardens and brought our lunch to enjoy while being surrounded by trees. It's a perfect way to 'get out of the city' for a bit. There are of course more places to visit at Kew Gardens, like the Princess of Wales Conservatory (which we did last), The Alpine House and some museums. But since this post already contains way too many pictures, I decided to cut it down a bit. 

Me way back when

Practical information: 
We paid 14 pounds for entrance as students, but nowadays it's even cheaper if you buy your tickets online. You can find the prices for 2015 to March 2016 here

Kew Gardens Station is located within walking distance from the Botanical Gardens. You can get there by either using the District Line or the London Overground on the Northern Line. 


Have you ever been to Kew Gardens? 

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