The United Kingdom is one of the oldest monarchies still in power and its capital, London, teems with places of interest where artistic and political history intertwine. Apart from its palaces, such as Kensington Palace, London can be explored through its enchanting parks, such as Kew Gardens, the royal gardens. How to visit them?
Ticket for Kew Gardens: how and what to see?
A ticket to Kew Gardens, the Royal Botanic Gardens of London, gives access to more than 120 hectares of land, home to more than 30,000 varieties of plants, as well as characteristic buildings such as the 50-metre-high Chinese Pagoda and the Temperate house, the world’s largest greenhouse with 1,500 different plant species inside.
The ticket can be shown from your smartphone and access is facilitated for those in wheelchairs; given the size of the site and the many points of interest that can be visited within it, the last entry is one hour before closing time.
Kew Gardens are open all year round from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and tickets give access to:
- temporary exhibitions
- art galleries
- Kew Palace
- greenhouses (Alpine House, Waterlily House…)
- Children’s Garden; access is included in the ticket, but the time of entry to this specific attraction must be booked separately when purchasing the ticket
map and guide
There are, however, days or periods when some parts are not open to visitors, for example the Pagoda or Kew Palace during winter; scheduled closures are however specified on their website. In the event of inclement weather, however, the upper part of the Hive, the spectacular installation that resembles a beehive, may not be accessible: if you are interested in visiting, check the forecast and possibly reschedule your ticket (you can do this up to the day before your visit).
Kew Gardens today is therefore an all-round site of artistic and natural interest: started as an exotic garden, it expanded to its present appearance and size and was officially recognised as a National Botanical Garden in 1840; but it is not only home to a huge variety of plant species: there are also installations, statues, greenhouses and art galleries.
The advice is to take only the essentials with you, because there are no cloakrooms or lockers where you can leave your backpacks and luggage.
Combined ticket to Kew Gardens and the Tower of London
Tickets for Kew Gardens and the Tower of London give access, at an affordable price, to two attractions that are highly symbolic for the history of the United Kingdom and that well represent the stratification of the various historical and political periods. In particular, the Tower of London has been a fortress, armoury, private zoo, mint and royal residence.
WHAT WILL YOU FIND INSIDE THE TOWER OF LONDON?
Today, the White Tower, the oldest, built in 1080, houses the Royal Armouries Museum, a collection of arms and armour, including Henry VIII’s XXL armour; the first floor of this tower also houses the oldest church in London, St John’s Chapel, also built in 1080.
In addition, since 1303 the Tower of London has housed the Crown Jewels, a priceless treasure trove consisting to this day of more than twenty thousand precious objects; the move to this impregnable fortress was caused by a theft from Westminster Abbey, where they were previously stored.
Tickets for the Tower of London, an architectural complex with as many as twenty-one towers, can be shown from your smartphone, but if they are for a group of six people or more, they must be printed out; they also cannot be rescheduled. Visits can be made Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 5.30pm and on Sundays and Mondays from 10am to 5.30pm; last admission is one hour before closing. Before visiting the Tower of London, however, it is advisable to consult the list of scheduled closures.
There is no shortage of curiosities at the Tower of London: tourists are greeted outside by the typical guards in red uniforms, nicknamed ‘Beefeaters’, because, due to their prestigious job, they followed a meat diet, unlike the rest of the population.
In addition to the guards, it is possible to see crows flying between the towers of this fortress. These animals have a strong symbolic value: the stability of the Tower of London (and of the monarchy) would in fact be guaranteed by the presence of at least six ravens. They are therefore treated like little princes, with dedicated staff and top-quality food, although they are kept in captivity to prevent them from escaping.
Kew Gardens ticket with Kew Palace and Kensington Palace
Tickets for Kew Gardens, which also includes entry to Kew Palace, can be combined with tickets to Kensington Palace: if you prefer the opulence of royal residences to fortresses and superstitions, this is the right combination.
Tickets for Kew Gardens, Kew Palace and Kensington Palace are bought together but the two tours can be booked on separate days: be careful, though, as the ticket for the Royal Gardens can be rescheduled, while the one for Kensington Palace cannot.
To enter Kensington Palace you simply show your ticket from your smartphone, while for groups of six or more you have to print it out; the last entry is two hours before closing time and the tour is also wheelchair accessible.
A royal residence for more than three hundred years, Kensington Palace was also home to the dukes William and Kate in the early years of their marriage and several members of the royal family currently live here. The palace was first opened to the public in 1899 at the behest of Queen Victoria, who was born and baptised here, the last sovereign to reside here before moving to Buckingham Palace.
Kensington Palace is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and until October 2023 will host an exhibition entitled ‘Crown to Couture’, which relates court life and red carpets under the lens of fashion through some 200 dresses from 1760 to the present day.