Grandparents' guide to Kew Gardens
12th September 2023
Kew Gardens in London is one of the UK’s most iconic attractions, drawing visitors from all over the world. This horticultural gem is home to beautiful gardens and fun attractions, providing plenty of interest for wildlife lovers and general visitors alike. Kew Gardens also makes a perfect day out for grandparents and their grandchildren.
In this article, you will discover helpful information such as where to get tickets, Kew Gardens’ opening times, how to get to the attraction and what you can look forward to seeing when you are there. For visitors with limited mobility who rely on aids such as walk-in showers, you can also learn about how accessible Kew Gardens is. So, use the contents below to find the information you need and start planning a fascinating trip to Kew Gardens.
- How to get to Kew Gardens
- Opening times
- What to see and do
- Food and drink
- Hotels nearby
- What to bring
How to get to Kew Gardens
Where is Kew Gardens?
Kew Gardens is located in southwest London in Richmond. There are four entrances to Kew Gardens: Victoria Gate (TW9 3JR), Lion Gate (TW9 2DF), Elizabeth Gate (TW9 3AE), and Brentford Gate (TW9 3AF).
How to get to Kew Gardens by tube
The nearest tube station to Kew Gardens is Kew Gardens Station, 500 yards away from Victoria Gate. Kew Gardens Station is in Zone 3 on the District Line and the London Overground.
For visitors with limited mobility, it should be noted that the westbound platform at Kew Gardens Station does not offer level access. The westbound platform is for trains coming from the direction of central London. However, if you continue one more stop to Richmond and catch a tube back to Kew Gardens Station, you can find level access on the eastbound platform.
How to get to Kew Gardens by bus
Several bus routes stop near Kew Gardens, making the bus one of the best options for visiting this beloved attraction.
Route 65 stops close to Lion Gate, Elizabeth Gate, and Victoria Gate.
Route 110 stops near Kew Gardens Station and Elizabeth Gate.
Routes 237 and 267 stop at Kew Bridge Station.
You can plan your tube and bus route on the Transport for London website.
How to get to Kew Gardens by train
If you are travelling from outside London, you might find it easier to travel by train to Kew Gardens. Kew Gardens Station is just 800 metres from Elizabeth Gate, or if you arrive at Richmond Gate, you can take the 65 bus to Lion Gate or Victoria Gate.
How to get to Kew Gardens by car
It is possible to travel by car to Kew Gardens though the attraction doesn’t recommend it. The Kew Gardens car park is on Ferry Lane near Brentford Gate. However, a very limited number of spaces are available, and it costs £9 per day. Blue Badge holders can park for free in the disabled spaces or other free spaces.
Kew Gardens is not within London’s Congestion Zone but it is within the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ). You can find more detail about ULEZ here.
Further travel advice can be found on the visit page of the Kew Garden's website.
Kew Gardens' opening times
Kew Gardens is open seven days a week and all year round, with varying opening times depending on the time of year. The park opens at 10 am throughout the year and tends to close at 6 pm in the summer and 3 pm/4 pm in the winter.
Look at the Kew Gardens’ website for up-to-date timings based on the time of year you would like to visit. You can also see opening times for various attractions at Kew Gardens and its restaurants.
Paula and Scott from the travel blog, A Couple Days Travel share their advice for visiting Kew Gardens: “One day in Kew Gardens is well worth it year round as they do a great job creating exhibits that fit the seasons. However, do try to go during nice weather as a lot of the gardens are outside, and rain could easily ruin some of the fun.”
Where to get Kew Gardens tickets
You can buy tickets on the day of your visit at any of Kew Garden’s gates. However, the best value for Kew Gardens tickets can be found online, so it's worth booking in advance.
Booking your tickets online is easy; head to the Kew Gardens’ website and go to their ‘book tickets’ page. Then click ‘book your visit’. All that’s left is to choose what date you would like to go, how many people will be visiting, and if you would like to include a donation with your purchase.
Is Kew Gardens free?
Kew Gardens is a paid attraction. However, free tickets are available for children under four, essential carers, and registered blind/partially blind visitors.
If you book your tickets in the peak season (Feb to October) and 48 hours before your visit, an adult ticket will cost £17 without a donation or £19 with a donation.
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How accessible is Kew Gardens?
Just like any other major attraction in the UK, it is important to cater to visitors with limited mobility. This section looks at the accessibility of Kew Gardens.
There is free entry for essential carers, personal assistants, support workers and next of kin accompanying visitors with limited mobility, as well as visitors who are registered blind and partially-sighted. Visitors in a wheelchair or with mobility issues qualify for concessionary tickets.
Kew Gardens is largely flat, with tarmac paths in most areas, but if any assistance is needed, staff will be on hand to help you. Mobility scooters can be hired from the Elizabeth, Brentford and Victoria Gates, but they will need to be booked in advance.
Guide dogs are welcome in the gardens, and visitors with visual issues and those with limited mobility can refer to the accessibility map to help you plan and enjoy your visit. This map highlights accessibility information, suggested routes, and shares information about areas of the garden which are of sensory interest.
All areas of the glasshouses (the Temperate House, Alpine House, and the Palm House) are accessible by wheelchair. Visitors using a mobility scooter can also access the Temperate House and Alpine House. The Princess of Wales Conservatory's ground floor is accessible to wheelchairs and mobility scooters, but the upper floor is not accessible to people who use a mobility aid. The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art and Marianne North Gallery are both fully accessible by wheelchair.
There are 13 accessible parking spaces at Kew Gardens, there are unisex accessible toilets within easy reach of all the main attractions, cafés and gates, and there are a limited number of wheelchairs available to hire.
Kew Gardens accessibility
- Accessible parking
- Accessible entrances
- Accessible toilets
- Wheelchairs and mobility scooters available to hire
- Guide dogs are welcome
- Hearing loops
- Large print captions
- Accessible maps available
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What to do at Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is one of the most popular gardens to visit in the UK, and with acres of grounds to explore and secrets to unearth, it is a great place to visit as a family with something that will attract people of all ages. Let’s look at some of the best things you can do at Kew Gardens.
Explore the glasshouses
The Temperate House, Alpine House, Palm House and The Princess of Wales Conservatory are the names of the famed glasshouses at Kew Gardens, and there is something different to see in each one.
The Temperate House is home to 1,500 species of plants from Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific Islands. It was closed for five years as it was renovated, but it re-opened back in 2018 and is even more impressive than it was before.
Venture into high-altitude territory and experience the cool, dry, windy conditions that allow alpine plants to flourish. This is exactly what to expect in the Alpine House glasshouse, and you will see plants that not only grow but thrive on the Earth’s poles or mountaintops, from the Arctic to the Alps or the Andes.
The Palm House will give you an insight into what living in a rainforest is like, where the air is heavy and dense with lush vegetation. You’ll see the oldest pot plant in the world and the disease-fighting periwinkle plants. Many of the plants in this glasshouse are endangered in the wild, with some even extinct, like the African oil palm and the rubber tree.
The Princess of Wales glasshouse has ten computer-controlled climate zones, and it is a glassy labyrinth leading you through a series of fascinating ecosystems.
Describing the plants and greenhouses at Kew Gardens, Kelly from the blog, Sparkles and Shoes shares her recommendations and thoughts: “The gardens are not just flowers, they actually have the largest Victorian glasshouse in the world, and the Palm House is definitely a tropical oasis, though very warm on a Summer day. (In the palm house, make sure you take a trip around the upper perimeter, accessible by some beautiful wrought iron spiral staircases).”
The Treetop Walkway
For magical views over the garden, you must visit the treetop walkway, which towers 18 metres above the ground and gets you closer to some of Kew's biggest trees. Whatever your vantage point, this tree-lined path has a twist, offering a glimpse into the secret life of woods and forests.
Joanna from the travel blog, The World in My Pocket, has been to Kew Gardens and recommends the Treetop Walkway as a great activity for families: “The Treetop Walkway is a very exciting ‘climb’ for the entire family, especially for children. The metal structure is 18 meters above the ground, 200 meters long and sways in the wind. The views from up there are pretty awesome over the forest canopy. Some parts of the walkway pass through the branches of the chestnut and oak trees, on which you can observe different birds and insects.”
With 118 steps up to the walkway in total, it won’t be accessible to all visitors, but if you are able to make your way up to this attraction, it is certainly worth the effort.
The Children’s Garden is a fun, interactive space where children can climb, run, jump and explore everything a plant needs to grow. The garden is the size of 40 tennis courts, and children with have plenty of places to explore in this space.
There are more than 100 mature trees spread over this beautiful landscape, a 4 meter high canopy walk, and hidden treasures and adventures hidden around every corner.
If you are visiting with grandchildren, The Berkshire Mummies blog highly recommends visiting the Children’s Garden, as there is so much to keep the kids occupied: “The Children’s Garden is divided into the areas that the flowers need to grow, Air, Water, Earth and Sun, around a central higher walkway platform.
“The Air Garden has tall poles with colourful windmills on the top and ‘pollen spheres’ across the ground for the children to stand on, jump off, or sit on. There is also a rope swing and little individual trampolines. The bright flowers in this area are also worth exploring as there are hammocks nestled amongst them as well as periscopes.”
Something else that is sure to occupy the children and adults is The Hive. This mesmerising installation gives you an insight into the drama of life inside a real beehive, and at 17 metres tall, as well as being set in the heart of a wildflower meadow, you will feel like you are inside a beehive.
This contemporary piece of art has become one of the most photographed spots in Kew Gardens, and the one thousand LED lights which are installed glow according to the vibrations of bees that live in the Gardens, giving an amazing effect.
How big is Kew Gardens?
Kew Gardens has grown over the years and is currently 300 acres. There is so much to explore that just walking around would take 40 minutes alone.
How long to spend at Kew Gardens
It is recommended by many that people take around three hours to explore the whole of Kew Gardens. A lot of people usually stay the whole day and still never see everything. You can easily spend the whole day at Kew if you have time.
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Food and drink at Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens’ restaurants are famed for serving up some delicious foods, and this section looks at the restaurants and cafes located at this iconic London attraction.
Family Kitchen & Shop
This food hall serves a whole host of family favourites, from its stone-baked pizzas and salads to a sandwich bar and hot counter.
It is a great spot to head to for lunch with the whole family, and you can either eat in, as there is lots of indoor seating available or opt to take the food away. There is ice cream served if you want to reward the children for being well-behaved.
If you want a slightly more informal lunch, then the Orangery is the best bet. With an indoor seated area or an outdoor terrace, there are plenty of options available to you if you eat here.
Coffee, cakes, or light meals are the order of the day at this popular eatery, and you can eat in or takeaway at the Orangery.
Pavilion Bar and Grill
The Pavilion Bar and Grill at Kew Gardens has indoor or outdoor seated spaces available to diners, and there is an exciting mix of food that you can enjoy here. You can choose anything from burgers to Mediterranean-inspired dishes that are grilled on charcoal or smoked over wood.
The Botanical Brasserie
If you have heard about Kew Gardens afternoon teas, then it is likely that the people you were speaking to will have eaten at The Botanical Brasserie.
This all-day formal dining experience is renowned for its British cuisine, and at the restaurant, you can eat anything from breakfast to lunch, dinner or afternoon tea.
Victoria Plaza Café
If you are looking for something quick and easy to eat during your visit, the Victoria Plaza Café is one place you could head to.
Serving coffee, cakes, sandwiches, and snacks, it is a great place to head to for a coffee break and a bit of rest in between visiting the glasshouses and galleries.
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Hotels near Kew Gardens
If you are heading to London with your grandchildren for a few days and are looking for hotels near Kew Gardens, you will have many options. This section looks at some of the best hotels nearby Kew Gardens.
Kew Gardens Hotel
The Kew Gardens Hotel is away from the hustle and bustle of London city life in the centre of the quaint Kew Village in West London.
The hotel is just a 10-minute walk from Kew Gardens, and it is accessible to visitors who use a wheelchair, making it a great option for visitors with limited mobility.
If that isn’t enough temptation, there is even a gastro pub and restaurant in the village that is famed for serving some delicious food.
Premier Inn Kew Gardens
The Premier Inn Kew Gardens, or London Kew Bridge Hotel as it is also known, is just a hop across the river from the beautiful plants and architecture of the gardens.
The hotel is accessible to wheelchair users and visitors with limited mobility, and there are limited car parking spaces available should you need them, but you will need to book these in advance.
The hotel has standard double or Premier Plus double rooms available, so that you can find lots of affordable accommodation here.
Travelodge London Kew Bridge
Located near Kew Gardens and Richmond Park, as well as being well-connected to central London, this Travelodge is an ideal hotel to stay at if you are enjoying a weekend break in the capital.
All standard double rooms at this Travelodge feature a comfy king-size bed, and there is an on-site restaurant and bar that serves breakfast and evening meals.
What to bring to Kew Gardens
If you want to spend the day at Kew Gardens, it is worth packing a day bag for your visit and considering some appropriate clothing to wear.
- Airy clothing and a removable jacket (it can get warm in the greenhouse)
- Comfortable shoes
- A reusable water bottle
Visiting Kew Gardens as a grandparent
Hopefully, this grandparents’ guide to Kew Gardens will help you plan a lovely day out with your grandchildren at this fantastic UK attraction.
For more attraction recommendations or in-depth guides to everyday activities, visit our news page. If you are looking for stairlift advice, please get in touch with Handicare and Age Co for expert assistance.
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.