England's Kew Gardens: A Museum of Botanical Life

Tour the world's largest collection of living plants and some exotic specimens.
An 1882 Rock Garden

An 1882 Rock Garden

Kew's rock garden features mountain, Mediterranean and moisture-loving plants from around the world.

Photo by: Image courtesy of Felicia Feaster

Image courtesy of Felicia Feaster

Kew's rock garden features mountain, Mediterranean and moisture-loving plants from around the world.

During my Collette tour of English gardens, I spent a day wandering around the remarkable Kew garden in a plant-besotted stupor. Established in 1759 and extending over 327 acres, the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew is practically a theme park of growing, a reminder of the astounding diversity of the natural world. 

There are treasures around every corner, and an array of awe-inspiring garden “rooms:” a Japanese garden and Great Pagoda designed by William Chambers in 1762, a woodland garden, 19th century rock garden and vegetable gardens, among many others. A celebration of plant life from around the globe, there are groves dedicated to redwoods, azaleas, magnolias and rhododendron.  A water lily house so steamy your glasses and camera lens immediately fog up upon entry features waterborne flowers in hallucinatory neon colors. Walks between the countless garden tableaux are punctuated by centuries-old trees that dot its landscape like living temples to time’s passage. 

Throughout the decades, Kew's design has profited from the talents of such renowned landscape architects as Charles Bridgeman, William Kent, Lancelot 'Capability' Brown and William Chambers and the garden remains an essential visit for garden tourists.

A Sample of Kew's Plant Collection

See All Photos

Shop Related Products

Kew Trivia

  • Kew boasts one of the largest compost heaps in Europe.
  • Kew participates in the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, the largest plant conservation partnership in the world. In this program seeds of the most imperiled plants, and of the most use to the future, are conserved outside of their native habitats.
  • In 2003 Kew was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for illustrating significant periods of the art of gardens from the 18th to the 20th centuries.
  • Kew contains the largest Victorian greenhouse in existence, the Temperate House.
  • The experts working at Kew are an important resource in forensic plant science and aid the police in solving crimes in which botanical materials are involved.
  • Kew contains the world's largest collection of orchids.
Keep Reading

Next Up

England's Kings Were Gardening Fiends

Few can craft a topiary or fashion a yew maze with the zest and perfection of the British royals.

Garden Ideas: Ideas for All Types of Gardens

Looking for garden landscaping ideas? Discover great ideas for gardens of all types.

Urban Gardening Design Ideas

Learn simple ways to transform gritty urban spaces into green garden escapes.

Ideas for Small-Space Gardeners

Whether you have a a patio or a windowsill, start a thriving garden with these space-saving ideas.

Garden Landscaping Design Ideas

Create attractive gardens with easy garden landscaping design ideas.

Garden Mazes Create a Sense of Wonder

Explore the art of maze and labyrinth makers.

Clever Container Garden Ideas

Creative DIY container garden ideas we’ve found around the Web

Small Garden Design Ideas

Don’t let size dictate style—pack a punch with your small garden. Learn ways to make your small space garden seem big.

Garden Designers

Learn about garden designers—how to find one, what you can expect and what those letters ASLA and ASPD actually mean.

English Garden Design

Learn the elements of enchanting English gardens, and discover ways to translate that look to your yard.


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.