Embracing autumn at Kew Gardens

You can never make too many visits to Kew Gardens and I’d even say it’s a must-visit if you’re spending a week in the capital. Its 300 acre patch on the banks of the Thames is enough to keep you coming back again and again. But, as I’ve said before, it’s the changing seasons that will have you captivated each time.

Originally the gardens to Kew Palace, started by the same man that created Chelsea Physic Garden (William Aiton) in the early 19th Century, it’s inevitable that you’ll find the finest flowers and trees there. I have a free pass through work, so I’ve made a few trips over the last few years to see Christmas lights twinkling and spring blooming. I even celebrated my 30th birthday there last summer with a small family picnic. But I’ve never been in autumn.

Lucinda and I agreed to make a trip at the beginning of the month, but there was only a few pops of colour at the time. I was also pretty engrossed in our conversation to really concentrate on taking many good pictures. So I decided to see if I could fit in a return trip a few weeks later to check if anything had changed. I couldn’t believe the difference.

I saw this scene as soon as I walked through the entrance and was so excited to see the rest of Kew I didn’t know which direction to go in. I decided to head to the treetop walkway and then figure out where I’d go next when I got there, generally aiming to walk in a bit of a circle. Obviously I got distracted along the way.


The arboretum, which is said to be an autumn highlight, has 14,000 botanical and ornamental collections of trees, representing more than 2,000 species and varieties. It’s no wonder then that at autumn the colours are spectacular.

I don’t really think my photos do sights like these red trees the justice of what it looks like in person.

I couldn’t get over just how many colours there were in front of me.

I eventually found the treetop walkway.


And made my way up.

It’s definitely worth doing on any visit to Kew. But after all the colour I’d seen so far, there wasn’t quite as much to see up high.

So I made my way around and then down to carry on exploring. From the treetop walkway, I aimed west to walk through the Cedar Vista. Stopping here and there when I spotted something colourful.


Since there’s just so many of them, it’s worth inspecting the odd leaf as some of them are HUGE!

Once I’d arrived at the river, I just ambled along in the most colourful direction.

As I was aiming to complete a bit of a circle, I eventually found myself at some of my favourite features of the gardens. I only discovered the Waterlily House last year but I love the building and couldn’t resist a peek.


I was surprised to see that even in a steamy greenhouse, the autumnal colours continued.


But the Palm House is always a highlight of my visits. It’s still hot but much more bearable than in the summer months.

I always discover new things in Kew and realised there is a family of fan palms called ‘Pritchardia’, a name very close to my own surname!

Proof that it’s always worth paying attention to the little details.

After I’d enjoyed enough of the late afternoon sunlight flickering through the steamy glass and watching the leaves swaying from up near the roof, I thought I’d make a return trip to The Hive.

A stunning combination of art, design and nature. The structure represents a bee hive and the gentle humming, together with the lights, mirrors the actual activity of a nearby hive. The more active the hive, the more bee activity seen and heard in The Hive.

I really hope that it sticks around. The lights and the sound are strangely mesmerising and relaxing.

It’s worth stepping back to take in the impact of the design.

As the sun dropped and the light waned, I realised that I’d been walking pretty much non-stop for over 3 hours. So I waved goodbye and made by way to the underground.

Until next time!

Kew Gardens opens at 10am all year round. Until 30 October it closes at 6pm, after then it will close at 4.15pm until February 2017 when it will then close a bit later at 5.30. You can find plenty more about Kew on their website.

Are you a fan of Kew Gardens? Where have you enjoyed autumn this year?



  1. October 26, 2016 / 9:58 pm

    Ah the colours are just so gorgeous! And you walked non stop for three hours?! That is insane

    nat // dignifiable

    • ThisCityLifeLondon
      October 28, 2016 / 2:57 pm

      Aren’t they! I couldn’t believe the difference from just a few weeks before. There were a few stops and starts but I was totally in my own little world and didn’t even realise how long I’d been there until I got towards the end! xx

  2. November 3, 2016 / 10:21 pm

    I love Kew, but hadn’t been for a a couple of years -then saw the posters for the Hive on the tube and knew I wanted to see it, so we went a couple of weeks ago and it was amazing -as you say, mesmerising!! and it reminded me how lovely Kew is. I definitely don’t want to leave it so long next time, in fact hoping to make it for the Christmas display…

    • ThisCityLifeLondon
      November 4, 2016 / 11:43 am

      I could easily do a trip every few months and find different ways to enjoy it. I’d like to go to Syon House one day after seeing it across the river. Hope you enjoy Christmas at Kew. It is a lovely thing to do!