The Hive at night

The Hive

Installed at Kew Gardens in 2016, the Hive is a unique, multi-sensory experience designed to highlight the extraordinary life of bees. The Hive is a feat of British engineering standing some 17m square and set in a wildflower meadow where you can explore and consider the complex relationship between plants and their pollinators.

About the The Hive

The Hive is an immersive sound and visual experience. The lights you see and the sounds you hear inside the Hive are triggered by bee activity in a real beehive at Kew.

The intensity of the sounds and light change constantly, echoing that of the real beehive. The multi award-winning Hive was inspired by scientific research into the health of honeybees. It is a visual symbol of the pollinators’ role in feeding the planet and the challenges facing bees today. 

Visiting The Hive

  • Entry to The Hive is included in a day ticket to Kew
  • Since The Hive is an open-air attraction, we may need to close it for maintenance or visitor safety: check for visitor notices and closures 
  • We are unable to accommodate mobility scooters due to the restricted width of the paths and interior space within The Hive
  • The path to The Hive is designed to be fully accessible but the gradient may feel steep to self-propelled wheelchair users
  • We encourage buggy users to store their buggies in the buggy park as turning space is limited
  • At busy times the paths may be crowded and you may wish to consider coming back at a quieter time
  • We may implement a queuing system if The Hive reaches its capacity

How was it made?

It is the design of UK based artist Wolfgang Buttress. Originally created for the UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo.

It’s 17 metres tall, constructed from 170,000 aluminium parts, 1,000 LED lights and took four months to reconstruct here at Kew.


The Hive at Kew Gardens

The importance of bees

Pollination is one of the most important biological processes on our planet, and bees one of the most important pollinators. Through pollination, plants are fertilised and can produce the fruit and crops we eat.

Wild bee populations are in decline. At Kew we’re developing a technology to make commercial bees more efficient.

But we really need to restore our ecosystems and diverse flora and fauna to save our wild bees.

Bee pollinating a crocus at Kew Gardens

Help keep bees happy

Here are a few suggestions to help your local bees:

Plant bee-friendly plants - by planning carefully, you can include plants that provide beauty and nectar all year round.

Leave the weeds - weeds are actually wildflowers and a great source of food for bees.

No garden? - Plant a window box, build an insect hotel or keep a pot of moist moss outside.

Wild flower meadows provide shelter and food for important pollinators including bees

Related events and courses

Aerial view of The Hive

Watch the video: The Hive at Kew