We recently visited Kew Gardens in West London. It was amazing. In my mind I still feel like I am walking in fields of lush green grass, when in fact I am back at my desk in the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s amazing what a bit of space can do for your soul. Kew Garden’s was one of my mum’s go-to places to take me when I was little so I have been very excited to get Little Button there to uncurl her city self and be one with nature.
You know how everything usually seems much smaller on your return visit as an adult, well, Kew Gardens seemed quite the opposite. I couldn’t remember it being so big! Perhaps we only visited it piece at a time back then. I couldn’t help but feel in complete awe when we first walked through the gates and I took in the familiar, yet somehow unfamiliar views.
Things for Children to do at Kew Gardens
The best thing about Kew Gardens is that there is something for everyone, or more accurately everything is for everyone. For starters, and possibly the best bit, children can run around and just be little!
The paths are wide and there are very few stuffy ‘don’t you even think about stepping on me’ keep off the grass signs. It’s wonderful. These are the areas Little Button enjoyed the most, though bearing in mind that we didn’t get to see everything:
This is a temporary hands-on installation which has been created to show the story of the honey bee through a visual experience, enhanced by sound.
Climbers and Creepers
A discovery style themed indoor play area designed to encourage little ones to explore plants.
Planning your visit to Kew Gardens
If you are planning to visit, here are a few little top tips that you might find useful.
Personally, I think that Kew Gardens is best enjoyed in the dry weather. Whilst there are places to duck into to keep out of the rain, they are not particularly close together. We got caught out on a number of occasions by rain showers and were pretty soaked by the time we left. So, I would recommend avoiding a rainy day visit. Likewise, if you are going on a sweltering day, remember that you will be out and open to the elements. Think large rimmed sun hats and plenty of sun cream.
Think about how you are going to get there. Unlike most big attractions, Kew Gardens doesn’t have an on-site car park. Ekk!!! It almost put off Mr Button going, but rest assured, if you are driving, there is a general use car park nearby and also free parking on the side roads. But plan to get there early to avoid parking mayhem.
You will probably need to allocate a whole day to your visit. There is so much to do and see, it’s unlikely that you will get to see everything. Kew Gardens has a great online map of all the main attractions, it’s definitely worth getting an idea of where everything is before you arrive, especially if you are going with little legs.
There are so many beautiful spots of enjoy a homemade picnic in the grounds of Kew Gardens. Benches overlooking the lake, or a hidden bench in a clearing surrounded by trees and flowers. There are so many options to take your pick from. We didn’t bring a picnic on account of the changeable weather. Instead, we headed to the Pavilion restaurant. Mr Button was eagerly awaiting the outdoor BBQ, and got us to trek across the other side of the gardens (which is a long walk) for this. As I thought, the BBQ wasn’t on, much to his disappointment. But we still enjoyed some lovely bites (at London prices).
It wasn’t until we headed back towards the super Climbers and Creepers attraction, that we realised there was a family friendly café called White Peaks which would have been a much better choice for us. Well, that and right next door we spotted a kiosk that did hotdogs and sweet potatoes fries! Lesson learnt for our next visit.
What we loved most
-The large pathways and space for little ones to be little.
-Very few keep off the grass signs.
-Most areas were hands-on.
-The major areas that we visited were fab and helped to keep the momentum flowing throughout the day.
A few little things
-The parking isn’t ideal, so try to arrive early to nab a space.
-The toilets seem to be dotted around quite sparsely so be prepared with the whole ‘everyone to the toilet to try’ speech, before leaving any eateries.
-Attractions are very spaced out, and little legs will get tired with all the walking.
Our rating: 9/10
Have you been to Kew Gardens yet? What was your favourite thing to see?