One of the things I love most about living in London is the incredible amount of green space this city has. The weather yesterday was gorgeous, for the first time in ages, so we decided to cycle down to the famous Kew Gardens. It was 22 miles in total along the Thames (with one shortcut past the Wetlands centre) which in and of itself was great. We saw so many areas of London I don’t usually see – like Barnes which was super cute – and it was cheaper, and healthier!, than taking the overground.
My first thought when we walked in was that it was SO BIG! We were given a map and I just thought there’s no way we could do the whole thing in one day (spoiler alert: we didn’t). We had no plan. In fact the trip was a spur of the moment decision. Our first step, though, was definitely lunch – after all, we’d just done 11 miles on the bumpy river path. I have a Giant Flourish bicycle, and there’s no shock absorbers on the handle bars so my wrists were worse for wear. Anyway, after lunch we headed to the tropical house…
It was so hot and humid! We were being dripped on, but it was so much fun to see all these amazing plants from all over the world. Some were massive – one was transported to London in the early 1700’s… (the oldest potted plant apparently!) It really made me stop and think about how incredibly resilient and diverse nature is. The sheer amount of green was just overwhelmingly beautiful. There were leaves literally as big as me. (I mean literally literally there!)
The desert section of the Princess of Wales greenhouse was one of my favourite bits. I love cactus – and seeing so many varieties was really astounding. The greenhouse had a lot of other sections too – orchids, algae, marine plants, ferns, even a carnivorous species room. We spent a lot of time in there, admiring all of the incredible plants. Plus it was Tardis like – deceptively large on the inside with many levels. It was so well laid out. And yes, that is a tiny red pineapple!
We also did the tree walk. It was a huge, elevated circular steel platform that actually swayed in the wind. It reminded me, in a way, of being up on the Eiffel Tower – though it wasn’t nearly as high. It was fun, but definitely better later in the season when it’s lush and green. The view, through the sparse branches, was great. On our way out we stopped by the Japanese Minka. So much bamboo, and such beautiful architecture; it really made me want to go back to Japan.
All in all it was a wonderful day out – especially when on the cycle ride home we stopped off at a pub in Wandsworth for a cheeky pint. In the end we celebrated our physical exertion by getting Dirty Burger! It was well worth the time and energy it took to get there and back again. I can’t wait to go back in summer when all the flowers and trees are in full bloom.