Kew Palace is one of the prettiest, and smallest of all the royal palaces in London and it makes a wonderful place to visit on a hot summer day.
It is easy to reach using London Transport as there are direct trains down to Kew. What makes it so special is the fact that the building and the gardens that surround it are really beautiful. The acres of green lawns, trees and pretty flowers provide a welcome break from the heat of city streets.
There is so much to see at Kew, that you can spend all day here. Anyone who loves flowers will be enchanted by the sheer variety to be found here, for this is one of the world’s greatest botanic gardens. There are extensive flower beds, a tall Chinese pagoda hidden among the trees, parkland and ornamental hot houses containing vast arrays of exotic plants.
The Tree Top Walkway offers a birds eye glimpse of the grounds as well as the trees that surround it. You need to climb over a hundred steps to reach the walkway as it is situated over 18 metres above the ground. The wooden pathway meanders and winds among the trees before descending abruptly to the ground, and taking you underneath the soil to see what lies below. Elsewhere in the grounds, you can find out about the life of bees in the giant translucent walled Hive. A multi-sensory experience awaits you as you step inside to be surrounded by constantly changing lights and sounds.
As for Kew Palace itself, this is a very intimate royal retreat which was a favourite with Georgian kings during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Tours of the palace reveal beautifully proportioned rooms full of style and elegance whereas the Royal Kitchens were practical and busy. These extensive kitchens have only recently been restored and now offer a fascinating insight into what life was like in such a magnificent kitchen. There are the preparation rooms where pounds upon pounds of vegetables would have been scrubbed and prepared, as well as the sinks where scullery boys worked continuously cleaning out the dirty pots and pans. Upstairs the spice cupboard still contains the faint aroma of the rare, expensive spices that would have kept here under lock and key. The cooks would have had to seek permission before being able to use any of these spices. Downstairs, the great kitchen would have been the focus of all activity with the massive roasting range in almost constant use, along with the charcoal grill and pastry oven producing the vast amount of pastries and delicacies enjoyed by the royal family.