Right on Kew

Last weekend I visited Kew gardens for the first time in over 30 years. It’s a place that I’ve been intending to return to for ages. It’s amazing, with iconic glasshouses and rare plants, as well as some artwork that I particularly wanted to see again. As an unexpected bonus, there was also an impressive exhibition of the work of Dale Chihuly, who creates huge glass sculptures, many inspired by natural forms.

It was a hot day, so spending any time in the tropical house was beyond us, but we did manage to enjoy some of the glasshouses. Mostly, however, we wandered the extensive outdoor spaces, enjoying the sculptures dotted around the garden as well as the beautiful plants.

I particularly wanted to revisit the Marianne North gallery – it’s a wonderful space, completely filled with her paintings. She paid for its construction, but was prevented from implementing her original idea that it be a tea room… such a shame because it would be a perfect place to relax with afternoon tea.

I’m not going to leave it another 30 years before going back.

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17 Comments

  1. I went back last spring after a gap of more than 30 years! As you say it’s still a wonderful place!

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    • Over the past few years I have been trying to visit some of the many places that were on ‘my list’ – Kew is the latest, but we’ve also managed Chedworth Roman Villa, Heligan,The Eden Project, New Lanark and the west coast of Scotland. Next on the list is Chester… I want to walk round the walls again and then Vindolanda and the Piece Hall. Gardens and Roman remains are things I really love, as well as industrial heritage… what an odd set of interests!

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  2. Oh, you lucky thing! You timed your visit perfectly – the Chihuly sculptures look right at home in among the treasures at Kew. The gap since my last visit is a modest 5 years, but your pictures have me itching to get back. Did they reopen the Temperate House yet, by the way?

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    • Yes, the big blue sculpture is in the temperate house – it was specifically designed for that location. The Chihuly exhibition is on until 27 October, so there is plenty more time to get there for those who are within easier traveling distance.
      I think I’ll go in the spring next time to see the bluebells.

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      • Both of those sound pretty tempting… I might have to schedule in TWO visits! Nice to hear that the Temperate House is back in business too – I took some pretty sad-looking pictures through the windows last time. It definitely looks better now!

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  3. How serendipitous…. Your visit to Kew coinciding with the Dale Chihuly exhibition – he’s one of my favourite glass artists, and this is the second time in a couple of weeks that a blog I follow has mentioned his work! I think my favourite piece is his chandelier in the V&A.

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  4. You were there the same time as my son and his family, fortunately it’s a big place and you would have missed his tribe!. Lovely pictures. I went for my birthday a few years ago, not quite certain how many but I think Mr B was with us, and no children so I am guessing about 15 years ago.

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  5. I love Kew, not only for the plants, but for their conservation and research projects. I was lucky enough to go there on my birthday a few years ago and we absolutely lucked out on the weather…it only started raining when we were done. The Chihuly display is amazing, I didn’t even realize some of those were glass on my first scroll through.

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  6. I do love to see those trademark Chihuly pieces pop up in blog photos. Kew is looking rather stunning. And the Marianne North Gallery – why wasn’t that made into a tea room? Wouldn’t that be an amazing venue to drink a cup of tea or coffee and admire the work!

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  7. No, don’t wait another 30 years. What a fabulous place! The Chihuly pieces are hard to beat, but that giant face emerging from the hedge comes close.

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  8. Kew is definitely on the list of places I must visit in London, not that I have been there for a while. (The National Gallery is another.) I loved the Shirley Sherwood Gallery, and was blown away by Marianne North’s prodigious output. It was lovely to relive the Gardens through your photos.

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  9. I visited with my daughter for the Christmas lights a couple of years ago. I really want to visit again, and the Chihuly glass is a great reason to do it. Thanks for sharing your visit. The photos are lovely 😊

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  10. I went to Kew a few years ago now – it’s such a big place, you could take photos that I wouldn’t recognise because I hadn’t seen them at all. Mind you, I dare say some of the areas will have evolved since 2013.

    Anyway, this is where I first fell in love with yew trees, having met the grand old lady at Kew, who still keeps going though she is hollow and lying on the ground (as far as I remember).

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