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Member Name: AndrewPo
Kew Gardens (London)
Date: 16/04/09, updated on 16/04/09 (147 review reads)
Advantages: Beautiful oasis in west London
Disadvantages: A bit expensive
Kew Gardens, in west London, are probably the best and most famous botanical gardens in the world and the model on which many others are based. There are several interesting buildings including a royal palace and large glasshouses ranging from a few years old to several hundred years housing tropical plants and even the world's oldest pot-plant, which lives in the Palm-House. Outside there are plants and trees from all over the world. There are indoor and outdoor restaurants including one in the Orangery, another historic building in the park. Kew Gardens is also used as a venue for summer concerts, including Jools Holland who frequently plays there.
The main emphasis of the gardens is of course botany, but it is also a good place to see animals. Wild Indian Ring-Necked Parakeets live in Kew, Richmond Park and the surroundings. These small parrots, according to local folk-law, escaped during the filming of a drama (The area is popular with film-makers due to its proximity to central London, Television and Film Studios) There are also some black swans in one of the lakes and a good variety of other bird-life. There are also some very rare newts living in some of the ponds although you are unlikely to see these.
The Pagoda in Kew was built in 1762 for Princess Augusta, the Princess of Wales, mother of King George III and originator of the first botanical gardens at this site. It has recently been opened to the public after many years of being closed and gives a fantastic view across Richmond Borough. It is almost 50 metres tall (more than 150 feet) and was the tallest Chinese style building in Europe at the time of construction. It is a fairly accurate imitation of a Chinese construction although should have an odd number of storeys to be completely accurate.
Kew has more than 10% of all known plant species of the world, but the southern British climate cannot support many of these species, so there are several different glass-houses providing different climates. The Temperate House (built in 1861) and The Palm House are perhaps the most impressive, but the newer Princess Diana glasshouse is also extremely impressive.
Getting to Kew gardens by car can be a bit slow, because of the traffic in that area, although it is a short walk from Kew Gardens tube station on the District Line and the Lion Gate entrance is just a mile or so from Richmond railway station. There is a fairly large car park near the main entrance off Kew Green, near Kew Bridge. Kew Gardens is a wonderful place to spend a few hours, but is quite expensive at £13 (free for children) and another £5 for entrance to the Palace.
Summary: The Best Botanical Gardens in the World
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