Monday 27 August 2018

Summer at Kew: Blue Skies & Lush Greenery

My final summer visit to Kew Gardens was gloriously hot - in fact, I think I'd describe it as a little too hot. Instead of striding round the gardens like normal my pace was reduced to a veeeeeery slow wander with frequent rest stops in patches of shade, and the train journey home was rather sticky (ah, the joys of public transport in summer!).

If you're going to sit in a garden on a hot sunny day, though, this is not a bad one to choose!

The rock garden was looking lush in the sunshine...


... and the waterlily house was a riot of green.


Shady, tree-lined paths were a must this visit...

... as was a walk round a lake. I'm not sure if it's actually cooler near water or it just feels like it, but either way this was lovely!

I also went for a walk through the woodland at Kew (which is full of bluebells in the spring - something I sadly missed seeing due to deadlines! - and wonderfully shady on a hot summer's day), and visited Queen Charlotte's Cottage. The cottage was originally a private retreat of the royal family, and was gifted to Kew by Queen Victoria on the condition that the surrounding woodland was kept in its natural state.

Apparently there was once a paddock next to this cottage, known as the New Menagerie, which was a mini zoo for the royals to enjoy - including "a pair of black swans, buffaloes, the now extinct quagga (an animal similar to a zebra) and the first kangaroos to arrive in England".

There aren't any exotic animals at the cottage these days, but if you visit at the weekend you can go inside and imagine being a prince or princess stopping for afternoon tea on a walk through the gardens. (It's a shame they don't actually serve royal-themed afternoon teas here, because that would be awesome).

Finally, I visited the gardens that make up Kew's Japanese landscape...

... and the Great Pagoda (the base of which is another wonderfully shady spot to sit on a hot day!). The Pagoda was completed in 1762 and was being restored when I visited, but it's now open to the public again - if you fancy climbing those 253 steps!

I've been a bit wary of climbing towers since I visited York Minster and nearly had a panic attack climbing the central tower, but the Pagoda staircase doesn't look particularly claustrophobic (unlike the narrow stone staircase at York!)... and I bet the views are amazing. A return visit may be called for!*

Click here to catch up with all my posts about my visits to Kew during my year's membership (definitely one of the best things I've ever bought for myself).

Click here to view my travel archive for lots more posts about my days out in London and around the UK.

(*To Kew, not York Minster's tower! I'm proud that I conquered my fear and got to the top of the Minster's tower, but you couldn't pay me to climb it a second time!!).