Saturday, 7 January 2012

A New Year Adventure

I've been so caught up in the post-Christmas madness that is taking down decorations and going back to work, that I haven't had time to tell you about my New Years Day adventure!

After a leisurely breakfast following our New Year festivities (a quiet night in with friends) we jumped in the car and drove into London to visit Kew Gardens. Jamie and I hadn't been before, so it was all new and exciting for us.

Big tree
Friends included for scale! Some of the trees are absolutely enormous.

It was a rather grey, blustery day, but there was still plenty to see and do. Three enormous glass houses filled with a wondrous variety of plant life.

Carnivorous plant 4
We loved the carnivorous plant display in the Princess of Wales glass house.

After walking through the first glass house and the surrounding gardens, we headed over to Palm House, one of the two huge Victorian structures in the centre of the park.

Heraldic Yale
There's a fantastic range of heraldic statues outside the Palm House. This one is a Yale.
The Yale is a mythical beast that could swivel its horns independently!

Inside the glass houses there are so many plants. It being the middle of winter didn't really bother them, as they were all warm and cosy in the rather humid air. You can climb up beautiful wrought iron spiral stairs and walk along a balcony at canopy height.

Glasshouse spiral stairs
It's actually quite high, once you get up there!

Glasshouse roof
The glass houses are very old, and have clearly seen better days!

We adjourned to the cafe for a spot of tea and cake, and I was shocked to discover they didn't sell Coke! Caffeine is essential to my hangover recovery plans, so I had to make do with coffee cake. While we were in the cafe, it started to rain. Proper, heavy, serious rain. We spent a bit of time browsing in the shop (where we determined our plan for the year was to collect a fridge magnet from every place we visited in 2012), but the rain didn't let up. We decided we were quite hardy folks, so a bit of rain shouldn't get in our way; however the rain was so severe we were forced to purchase a Kew Gardens branded umbrella, for the princely sum of £25!! It is, I will concede, a very good umbrella - a huge golfing umbrella with a button you press to open it up.

Thus protected from the worst of the weather, we walked over to the Temperate House, the largest of the glass houses, and spent some time wandering inside.

Oldest Pot Plant in the World
This is the oldest pot plant in the world. The timeline below shows all the major
world events that have occurred since it was planted. France still had a monarchy
when this plant was born!

There was one other thing we were determined to see, in spite of the weather. The tree top walkway! 18 metres above the ground takes you through the canopy of lime, sweet chestnut and oak trees. Of course, it being winter, you could see quite a long way out across the park.

Treetop walkway 1
Yes, it really is as terrifying as it looks. With only four of us walking on it,
it wobbled alarmingly. And the floor is see through.

View of the Temperate House
The view is quite nice though.

We had a great time, and will definitely be going back when the weather is better, as there is so much we haven't seen! I'm particularly keen to get a closer look at the Japanese pagoda, as we saw it rising up out of the trees but didn't want to slosh across the grass pathways to get to it.


  1. Wow, I must go there before I die. Beautiful!

  2. Stunning!  I envy Europeans the old, rich heritage you have to enjoy. I was amazed at your photo of the spiral staircase.  Here in America nothing historical is old enough to be considered wonderful...know what I mean?   Oh, I did giggle at the description of your new umbrella---living in Seattle like I do, that golf size with the up-button is the only kind I will use as it is the only kind that keeps me dry and won't blow inside out easily if it is breezy. 

  3. That is a great tree; I'm always so amazed at how they grow and marvel while thinking how long it must have taken to grow that tall and big.

  4. That is a very big looks like you had a wonderful adventure :)

  5. So much green for winter!  I'm a dumb American...does London ever get snow?

  6. Yes, but not every year. The last two winters we've had quite severe snow all across Britain, but so far (fingers crossed) it hasn't turned up this year yet.

  7. What a lovely way to spend a day! I love the gardens that are by my work.  Sometimes when the weather is warm I got and sit there on my lunch  breaks.  

  8. I absolutely love Kew - we were given entry tickets for Christmas last year.  The treetop walkway was pretty busy when we went, and definitely terrified me as much as I loved it.  Plus I'm not a huge fan of stairs, which was a bit of a problem!  But still, it was well worth the visit, and we got some lovely photos.  It'll be interesting to go back in the sun and take pictures from the same spots for comparison purposes :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...