Kew District
Nearest Tube: Kew Gardens

Kew is a district of south London, situated on the south bank of the River Thames just further west than Mortlake. It has been settled since at least Saxon times and has long been a popular residence for nobility and other wealthy citizens.

For much of its history the area was a remote village a few miles away from London, but as London expanded in the 19th century it quickly became developed, and was soon transformed into a residential suburb. But Kew remained popular with wealthy residents and so it still retains some of its former elegance and exclusivity.

One of the main reasons for this is that astute planners preserved the 300 acres that are the Royal Botanical Gardens, often known as Kew Gardens. These gardens are the most famous attraction in the district and the main reason most visitors travel to the area, and as a result the district of Kew has become synonymous with its gardens.

Kew Gardens (Royal Botanical Gardens)
Kew Road, Kew, Surrey Nearest Tube: Kew Gardens

These gardens, dating from the at least the 18th century, spread over 300 acres on the south bank of the River Thames. They were originally a pleasure garden, and then became a scientific research centre and these roots(!) can still be seen today.

Kew Gardens are still a globally important scientific research centre, specialising in the identification of plant species and the conservation of endangered plants. There are now a staggering 50,000-odd species of plant grown here.

The gardens originated in the grounds of Kew Palace as a private garden, one of the landscape gardeners who influenced the design of it was the famous Lancelot “Capability” Brown.

The gardens first passed into the grounds of royalty in the 1840s and they have long been a popular tourist attraction. In fact today the London district of Kew has become synonymous with these gardens.

The gardens are open daily from 9.30am, closing time depends on the time of the year.