Thursday, September 3, 2015

Kew Royal Botanical Gardens in London

Actual date of this event: 15 August

Luke and I finally went to Kew! FINALLY! We have been wanting to go for a very very long time. but we wanted to make sure we went on a nice day around the summertime. That takes some last minute planning when it comes to Britain! But it worked out for us just perfectly.
We purchased our tickets online before going because it was slightly cheaper that way, plus we did not have to wait in the line to buy tickets. We really weren't prepared for what we were getting into though. We forgot the DSLR camera, we did not bring sunscreen, we did not bring a blanket, we did not bring snacks, we only brought one small bottle of water (thankfully they had drinking fountains though), and we did not bring a bottle of bubbles. I was very jealous when I saw people spread out on the grass on their blanket, and then got even more jealous when I heard those people pop open a bottle of pink champagne. They were really just throwing it in my face!
Anyway, the garden is MASSIVE! We were given a map upon entry, so we had somewhat of an idea of what to see, but it is impossible for the map to show it all. The park has so many different trees and plants and flowers and designs and more, and it was slightly overwhelming trying to see it all. We did our best though, and ended up walking over 5 miles in the gardens! It makes sense why they have a little train to take you around (for an extra fee, of course). Everything was labeled, so it was fun to say "Oh look! Magnolia trees!" ... "Oh, this one is a Turkey Oak. Hmm." ... "It's hibiscus, don't eat it!" etc.

 {above: The bark on this tree is Cork, so it was squishy.}

{above: These flowers were my FAVORITE. They reminded me of our wedding flowers. I was too excited to take notes of the name of them though.} 
 {above: The stone 'pond' had a design on it. A sign told people to not walk on it.}

 {above: The train makes a big loop around the garden. It was also possible to take a guided tour on rickshaw.}

 {above: Kew lies on the River Thames. Those people were outside of the garden boundary on the other side of a mote, with Syon Park and House in the background.}

 {above: Kew Palace (originally the Dutch House) - where King George III lived at one point.}
 {above: Eucalyptus Tree}

Our favorite area weas the Princess of Wales Conservatory. It was full of so many unique plants that I have never seen before - carnivorous plants, giant water lily pads, the world's hottest peppers, etc. That right there alone was worth the 14GBP admission price!

 {The hottest pepper I saw was the Katie at 1.5 million SHU.}

 {above: These giant water lily pads looked just like baby swimming pools!}
We had to leave the conservatory quickly because we started to get rained on... inside. So we headed to the Palm House, which we also enjoyed. It was sorta like a rainforest with some trees having leaves as big as Luke.

One of the main attractions of the gardens is the Temperate House, but it was closed for restoration during our visit. If I had known that I was going to enjoy the garden so much, I would have considered buying a membership pass. I would love to visit again in the fall when the leaves on the trees are turning, and also in the spring when the spring flowers bloom. Kew Gardens quickly moves its way up on my London favorites list!

How many airplanes did you see in this post? (Kew Gardens lies right under the Heathrow flight path, so we constantly heard airplanes passing over us. I didn't really notice though until I saw a one in the sky above me.)

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