London is not entirely a grey concrete jungle. In actual fact, London is the greenest city of its size in the world with almost 40% of the great city being green space.
So if you are new to the city and the traffic and skyscrapers are getting a bit too much for you, or if you are a London resident who needs an escape, I will offer you one piece of advice: visit Kew Gardens.
Entering at Victoria Gate, peace and tranquillity will wash over you as everything in the vast spaces before you is green. Walking through the grounds, you will forget all about central city life as it’s replaced with sweet smells and the sounds of birds singing.
When you come across the striking glass buildings within the 300 acres, head inside. Most of the buildings still standing today were built during the 18th century and are as impressive as what they house.
Outside you will witness the beauty that can bloom here in England, but inside you can expect to be fully submerged in the wild as you explore all types of landscapes and their climates.
The incredible structure of the Palm House surrounds a tropical rainforest that introduces visitors to the humble beginnings of many of our favourite things – from coconut and mango to coffee and sugar cane.
Like something from a storybook, the beautiful iron spiral staircases will take you up to the balcony and down to an aquarium of marine life and plants.
Ten climate zones have been scientifically prepared in the Princess of Wales Conservatory to house the most exotic cacti’s and ferns, including carnivorous plants such as the Venus fly trap. Look out for the aquarium tanks of exotic wildlife such as turtles, piranhas, and poison dart frogs.
You can walk through the Gardens for hours without coming across the same lawn, but you can also walk 18 meters in the air above the trees on the Xstrata Treetop Walkway.
On the ground, a variety of birds, decorative structures, water features, poetry and secluded benches will create calm scenery for both you and your camera to enjoy. Every plant you come across is labelled so it can be easily identified, and it is likely that more than once you will come across a peacock.
If you are unsure where to start, hop on board the Kew Explorer land train for a guided tour to learn about the building’s heritage and the conservation work performed by Kew’s expert staff.
You can spend your entire day within the walls, so don’t go hungry. Treat yourself to the delicious, seasonal offerings that have been locally sourced and prepared in-house. If you are really curious, head to Orangery Restaurant where a map on the wall will tell you exactly where in the UK your meal ingredients have been sourced.