Experience Kew on a Plate at The Royal Botanic Gardens
Foodie Gardeners visiting Kew can explore the kitchen garden, take part in special talks and events, and even buy some fruit and veg to take home.
With a smorgasbord of other temptations on offer, a day out at Kew Gardens is simply one of the best things you can do in London. Plan your day carefully or book into the The Bingham in nearby Richmond and spend a weekend exploring this magnificent gem.
The Foodie Travel Guide
Visit Kew, Britain’s Most Famous Botanical Gardens
Kew Gardens, Britain’s most famous botanical gardens, lies on the banks of the River Thames between Kew and Richmond. Established back in 1769, the gardens cover a vast 300 acres so wear your walking shoes if you want to explore its far extremities. As home to one of the world’s largest collection of plants, over 150,000 in total, it’s a place where scientists collect, preserve and protect endangered species from around the world before they are lost forever.
Visit a Royal Kitchen Garden
When the courts of King George II, George III and Queen Victoria were in residence at Kew, it was the Royal kitchen garden that provided them with everything from beetroot to French beans to mushrooms and pineapples. In Kew on a Plate, Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc, along with Kew Gardener Joe Archer, re-established the lost kitchen garden. Having created a large kitchen garden at his Oxfordshire restaurant and hotel Le Manoir Aux Quatre Saisons over the last thirty years, Raymond Blanc cooked seasonal dishes in the programme using garden produce. Discover his recipes for spring pea risotto, vegetable crumble and carrot cake in the Kew on a Plate book.
Visit Kew Gardens and you can do a free tour of the kitchen garden with Joe Archer who will talk you through how he manages the garden with a team of volunteers. He’ll give you lots of handy tips on how to grow fruit and veg and get the most out of your plot. He also does an interesting talk on pollination and bees.
Admire the Botanicals and Blooms in the Flower Garden
Alongside the kitchen garden is a stunning flower garden. Visit in June and walk beneath the arched walkway to experience the heady scent of flowering roses. Next to bright red oriental poppies, admire colourful swathes of cottage flowers including the feathered peony blooms, lupins and foxgloves. There are beehives surrounded by wildflowers and in the herb garden, chive flowers. Jo Archer explains that if you have a small plot, herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow. Just make sure you plant mint in a pot to stop it from spreading wildly. Gin enthusiasts will be pleased to learn that botanicals from the gardens are used to produce a Kew organic gin created in partnership with Dodds. It’s available to buy in the Kew Gardens gift shop.
Walk Through a Rainforest in the Palm House
One of the highlights of Kew are the magnificent glasshouses. The Palm House has is its very own rainforest with pineapples and orchids. Kew on a Plate explored how many of these plants arrived in the UK, brought back by intrepid plant hunters, and how they spread to become part of our everyday meals. It revealed the story of one orchid that we eat all the time but don’t realise it. It’s hard to imagine a world without vanilla ice cream and it’s the seeds of the orchid that give us the flavour of vanilla. See if you can spot it. It may inspire you to make Raymond Blanc’s frozen strawberry tartlets with vanilla whipped cream and meringue.
Eat Lunch in the Orangery or Picnic Like Royalty
There are several cafés and restaurants at Kew but the most impressive is the Orangery with its giant arched windows that flood the restaurant with light. Start your day with an English breakfast here, refuel at lunchtime with a daily special or relax with a cream tea in the afternoon. Sandwiches, soups and special boxes for kids are available too. Picnicking in the grounds is also allowed. Follow in the footsteps of royalty by walking to Queen Charlotte’s Cottage in a quieter part of Kew Gardens, and picnic on the grass. The cottage was built for George III’s wife as a picnic retreat and is open to visitors at weekends and on Bank Holidays during the summer months.
- Visit The Hive installation to learn about the life of bees
- Visit the Royal Kitchens at Kew Palace
- Children will love doing the tree top walk
- Art lovers can view Marianne North’s incredible collection of botanical paintings
- Combine your visit to Kew Gardens with a cream tea in the Orangery restaurant
Mr Hendricks says, “They tell me that registered disability assistance dogs are very welcome in Kew Gardens.”
How to Find the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AE
The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
Kew Gardens Entrance Tickets
- Entrance ticket to the Kew Royal Botanical Gardens in London
- Visit Kew Palace (summer opening only)
- See highlights like the Pagoda and the Treetop Walkway
- Explore the glasshouses and the newly re-opened Temperate House
- Recharge in one of Kew Garden’s cafés or find a pretty spot to eat outside (meals at own expense)
- Join a free guided walking tour of the gardens if you wish
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