Home to the largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world, the Kew Gardens is located in southwest London. With a history that dates back to the exotic garden at Kew Park, it has grown to include more than 30,000 different types of plants and 7 million preserved plant specimens. Kew Gardens spans more than 121 hectares and includes a number of glasshouse and heritage-listed buildings while boasting its very own police force.
A highlight of visiting the Kew Gardens is the treetop walkway, which winds between a woodland glade tree canopy 18 meters off the ground and offers a unique perspective on the surrounding landscape. Alternatively, you can explore the gardens along the Kew Explorer that takes a circular route around the gardens accompanied by audio commentary or join one of the guided walking tours that are conducted by volunteers.
Plant houses at the Kew Gardens include the Alpine House that houses a range of cool-climate species and maintains a temperature no higher than 20 °C, as well as the Palm House and the Princess of Wales Conservatory where a range of orchids, water lilies, cacti and carnivorous plants are exhibited. Also of note is the Temperate House that stands as the world's largest surviving Victorian glass structure and the Waterlily House (which was originally built to house the Victoria amazonica), together with the Bonsai House and the Evolution House.
Kew Gardens boasts one of the largest compost heaps in Europe that can be seen from a viewing platform, as well as a rhizotron where visitors can observe what’s happening below the ground. The Great Pagoda designed by Sir William Chambers lies in the southeast corner of Kew Gardens and was inspired by the Chinese Ta while there’s also a Japanese Gateway that is a replica of the kara-mon at Kyoto’s Nishi Hongan-ji temple and is surrounded by a traditional Japanese garden.