Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Richmond, United Kingdom

You might not think of a botanic garden as a historic site, but the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, London (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) have a firm place in the history of gardening. Established from a collection of royal estates in 1759, they demonstrate different garden styles through the centuries. The gardens are also home to 44 historic buildings, including royal residences, Victorian greenhouses and garden follies.

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Founded: 18th century
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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

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User Reviews

Ertug Ekenler (19 months ago)
Better than I expected. Was so great fun that I became a member. Now I can see Kew Gardens every season. The new children's playground looked fine, though it was not open when we visited (due to open on 18 May 2019). That should be great fun for the small ones too.
Will Hazelton (20 months ago)
Was so surprised by just how enormous this place is! Absolutely fantastic day with friends and family. Would recommend getting up early and taking a picnic. It's so huge and beautiful you could spend a whole day there. But be warned dogs and ball games aren't allowed. A must see if you are in London with a spare weekend. The value for money is amazing!
G Baptiste (20 months ago)
Kew is magical. It's stunningly beautiful. There's so much to explore. Check out the palm House, but be prepared to sweat! It has the most amazing plant life and lots of info which is great for school trips. It's a great day out if you're alone with friends or family.
Dilal Ahmed (20 months ago)
This is a great way to spend a day in London. The gardens are lovely. We booked online so entry was slightly cheaper & straightforward. We also booked the land train which we found very useful as it gave an overview of the whole gardens - which are extensive - and then we used it to hop on/off as required. It was helpful to have the main features pointed out by the train driver. Facilities are excellent.The treetop walk, while not extensive, was worthwhile. I would have enjoyed booking in for one of the events but that would require more planning than we did.
Philip Long (21 months ago)
I went to Kew today to visit the orchid display but I forgot what a wonderful place Kew is to visit. I found that the new greenhouse was spectacular. The overall care and attention is 1st class. Staff were extremely friendly and polite at the entrance. We parked which was not too expensive at £7-00 a day. My only complaint is that the restaurant serves the most appalling self-service coffee. The cakes were lovely. I would suggest people bring food with you as you could really have a lovely picnic in the warm weather. if you really like coffee avoid the self-service one but a great overall day. I could see they are in the process of building a play area for children which looks amazing. Well worth the money and time. I am definitely going back soon with a flask.
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The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.

The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.

In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.

During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.

Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.

The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.

During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.