A Right Royal Day Out!

July 7th was a perfect day for our visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. If you're wondering why they are called the Royal Botanic Gardens it's because Queen Victoria gave them to the nation when she became Queen in 1837.

Kew Gardens Kew Gardens

Parking can be tricky at Kew so most of us went by train from Staines or Ashford, which gave us time for a chat or even to read the paper before taking the short walk across Kew Bridge to the Elizabeth Gate.

Kew Gardens Kew Gardens

We started our visit with an exclusive guided tour on the Kew Explorer land train, finishing at the Orangery for coffee while we decided where to go next.

Kew Gardens Kew Gardens Kew Gardens

Some of us decided to take the challenge to climb the spiral staircase to the top of the 18th century Pagoda. There were 253 steps to the top but it was well worth the effort!

Kew Gardens Kew Gardens Kew Gardens

The views across the gardens and London were fantastic! If you didn't fancy climbing more stairs but still wanted a good view you could take the lift to the top of the Treetop Walkway.

Kew Gardens Kew Gardens

There was also plenty to see at ground level, and you could hop on and off the land train to save some walking. We spent quite a while trying to find the name of the huge campanula in the Bamboo Garden!

Kew Gardens Kew Gardens

We did get a couple of light showers, but they just gave us an excuse to shelter in the Waterlily House! When we came out of the Princess of Wales Conservatory the sun was shining again and we enjoyed a sit down by the water feature.

Kew Gardens Kew Gardens

We spotted a few oddities on our way round as well - a miniature totem pole and some crocheted tree cosies! The Healing Giant, at the foot of the Pagoda, is planted with plants to treat each part of the body.

Kew Gardens Kew Gardens

And finally, there was just time for a quick look round Kew Palace, the family home of King George III, and a bit of Retail Therapy before heading back to the station to make our way home. We were glad of a sit down in the train but we'd had a Right Royal Day Out and can't wait to go again!