With an upcoming anniversary celebrating the start of the Georgian royal dynasty, 2014 is the perfect time for a group visit to Kew Gardens.
Kew Gardens has long been a royal playground, where King George III and Queen Charlotte brought up their 15 children in Britain’s smallest and most intimate royal palace and enjoyed summer picnics and entertainments in the grounds.
Prices held at 2012 levels
We’ve got some good news for group travel organisers planning a visit next year, as it’s just been confirmed that entry to Kew Palace and the Royal Kitchens will once again be available at no extra cost next year. Kew Palace is open throughout the summer; the opening dates for 2014 have now been set as Saturday 29 March to Sunday 28 September.
What’s more, it’s also been confirmed that 2014 ticket prices are going to be held for the third year running, with no price increase. So once again, if you book in advance for our 15% discount rate, your group tickets will cost you just £12.35 for adults and £10.65 for seniors and other concessions! If numbers aren’t certain till the day of your visit, our groups on-the-day rates will also remain at the 2012 rates for another year; that’s £13.05 for adults and £11.25 for concessions.
So why not plan a visit to Royal Kew?
The charming Kew Palace, family home of King George III and Queen Charlotte
Reminders of Kew Gardens' royal history
Kew Gardens was founded just over 250 years ago by the then Princess of Wales, Princess Augusta. Her son, the future King George III, would have known her little botanical garden intimately as he and his large family actually lived here. That first garden beside Kew Palace was just nine acres, compared to modern Kew Gardens’ 326-acre extent. Just like great oaks, great gardens from small beginnings grow!
As well as Kew Palace itself, another link to our royal past can be found with the Old Lions, venerable trees planted in Princess Augusta’s time which can still be found growing and thriving here today.
One of Kew's Old Lions, the oriental plane, Platanus orientalis, on Kew Palace lawn
So, if you like the idea of a royal walk at Kew, you can follow in the footsteps of Princess Augusta and King George III and his family, seeing cosy Kew Palace where they made their family home, and visiting trees they would have known as saplings.
For a final touch of Georgian style, why not take in some of the remaining follies built for the royal family to enjoy when they were living in Kew Palace? The little Temple of Aeolus, on the Mound by the Palm House Pond, and Queen Charlotte’s Cottage, away in the wooded Conservation Area, both date from this royal period in Kew Gardens’ history. Although visitors can’t normally go inside the famous ten-storey Pagoda, they can enjoy the handsome vertical accent it provides as the backdrop of many fine vistas and views.
The Pagoda, one of several impressive follies built by George III at Kew Gardens
Have afternoon tea where royal orange trees once grew
The elegant Orangery is another royal relic, as this was Kew’s first-ever hothouse, built for Princess Augusta in 1761. It didn’t work very well as a glasshouse (orange trees like much more light, apparently) and nowadays it’s used as our main restaurant. That means that even when you stop for mid-afternoon tea and cakes, you’ll still be following in the footsteps of past royalty.
Visitors having afternoon tea in the Orangery Restaurant
So as Britain marks the 300th anniversary of the start of the Georgian Era, what better place to visit than this former royal residence and the Gardens that owe their very existence to our royal founder?
A group enjoying the Waterlily House
- Imogen -
Imogen Dent is the Group Bookings Coordinator at Kew Gardens and has been working here since 2005. Prior to coming to Kew she worked in a busy tourist information office, after graduating from art school in 2000. When you ring or email to make a group booking, she’ll probably be your first port of call.
Paul Chibeba is the Travel Trade and Group Bookings Manager. Paul joined Kew in 2012, returning to London after almost ten years in America. As travel trade manager, he is delighted to work with tour operators and travel planners from around the world to ensure that Kew is included in as many tours and packages as possible.
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