Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in London, England is the most biodiverse place on Earth, with more than 50,000 different species of living plants, more than 8 million pressed and preserved plants, and over a billion preserved seeds inside this beautiful, 250 year old former palace complex turned UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in London, England
Location: London, England
Address: Kew, Richmond
London, England TW9 3AE
Admission: £16.50 General Admission
(purchase online tickets here to save & skip the line)
Hours: 10am – 7pm (season, click here for hours)
Underground Stop: Kew Gardens
Parking: £10 Day Rate
Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in London, England is the most biodiverse place on Earth, with more than 50,000 different species of living plants, millions of pressed and preserved plants, and billions of preserved seeds housed inside this beautiful, 250 year old former palace complex turned UNESCO World Heritage Site. The garden’s history is steeped in a passion for the conservation and preservation of our natural world, which is arguably one of the most important missions in the world. Without their work over the past almost three centuries, countless species of plants, herbs, and flowers around the world would likely have gone extinct. It’s truly a spectacular place to behold.
Kew Royal Botanic Gardens houses nearly four dozen unique areas, from the stunning Japanese Landscape opened by Her Imperial Highness Princess Sayako of Japan in 1996, to the World’s Largest Glasshouse (greenhouse) called the Temperate House, home of Kew Royal Botanic Gardens’ famous spiral staircase and impressive collections of tropical and temperate plants. We loved wandering through the beautiful Bamboo Garden, which felt just like stepping back to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto, Japan, and my husband felt particularly inspired by both the Rock Garden, and the Waterlily House, which houses massive Victoria Cruziana, also called Santa Cruz Waterlilies.
The Millenium Seed Bank at Kew Royal Botanical Gardens is one of the most scientifically impressive achievements of human foresight in history. According to the resources at Kew Gardens, more than 1 out of every 5 plant species in the world is considered threatened or in danger of going extinct. Seed banks such as the one at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens helps to ensure that seeds from plants all around the world are preserved and protected for future generations, to ensure continued biodiversity of our world. Think of it like an insurance policy for the planet. If a wild variety of plant should become extinct, it can be reintroduced into the wild by seed banks such as this one, to help ensure that the people, animals, insects, and other plants that depend upon unique and rare plants around the world are sustained.
The Royal Botanic Gardens also offer hundreds of free educational workshops, hands-on learning events, arts and music events, and community outreach projects each year. The garden’s Millennium Seed Bank also inspired more than 95 other similar projects around the globe, and the gardens freely shares their methods of collection, preservation, and cultivation of plant samples around the world with interested universities, non-profits, projects, and scientists around the globe, making them one of the most charitably and scientifically important gardens in the world.
It’s clear that Kew Royal Botanic Garden’s work is crucial to our planet’s wellbeing, and our shared global culture, which is why in 2003 it was given the high honor of becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO World Heritage Sites are locations selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) because of their tremendous cultural, scientific, historical, religious, or wildlife importance. Personally, I believe the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens are one of the most deserving UNESCO World Heritage Site additions on the list.
If that’s not enough to convince you to visit, the gardens themselves are simply stunning, and an absolute joy to stroll through. Visiting each region of the expansive gardens is like stepping out of London and directly into each respective region of the world, from rocky, mountains terrains and desert landscapes to tropicals jungles and bamboo groves of Asia. Whether you’d like to visit for a day, volunteer on a regular basis, enjoy the many events regularly hosted here, or celebrate a special occasion at the gardens, the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in London are a must-visit.
Explore more UNESCO World Heritage Sites I’ve documented, here.
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