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 (2 years 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 (2 years 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 (2 years 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 (2 years 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 (2 years 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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Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Heraclea Lyncestis

Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.

Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.

The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.

Late Antiquity and Byzantine periods

In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.

The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.

The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.