Kew Science Festival

Event details

4 to 6 August, 10am to 5pm

Kew Gardens


Included with entry to the Gardens

Event overview

Don your lab coat, dig out your goggles and come and meet our scientists as they bring their science out of the labs and into the Gardens. 

After a hugely successful first year, Kew's Science Festival is back for three days of exciting activities, workshops and tours that will inspire children and adults alike, celebrating the incredible discoveries and pioneering work of Kew scientists.

Kew's science work around the globe

With over 200 scientists and work spanning 110 countries, Kew is a global leader in plant and fungal science; from carrying out exciting plant discovery expeditions in Mozambique, to vital conservation work in the biodiversity hotspot of Madagascar, to unearthing the fundamental impact of plants on our daily lives.

This year’s scientific extravaganza will not only focus on the vital importance of conserving the world’s plant biodiversity, but will bring to life, for all ages, the crucial value of plant and fungal science.

Hands-on activities

There will be fascinating hands-on experiments and fun activities to enjoy, unlocking the secrets of the plant and fungal kingdoms. You can try your hand at DNA extraction or learn how to make a herbarium specimen.

Find out about the ground-breaking scientific discoveries and the work of Kew scientists, this family-friendly festival showcases the importance of plant and fungal research and the need for conservation.

More than 15 interactive areas to discover

Visitors can get hands-on and interactive with Kew’s science in a way that will spark a lifelong interest in plants and fungi. The festival will feature over 15 interactive areas, giving all ages the opportunity to explore Kew’s scientific work in a hands-on way. As well as many other activities all across the Gardens.


Included with entry to the Gardens.

Save on the price of your ticket when you book online

Animation workshops

Event details

Saturday 27 May to Sunday 4 June 2017, 10.30am – 4.30pm

Green Oak Shelter, Natural Area


Included with entry to the Gardens

Event overview

Make your own props using felt, paper and glue. Then bring them to life using simple and accessible stop motion animation software.

Join professional filmmakers, Chocolate Films, and help craft scenes and animate movements.

Everyone taking part will be contributing towards a large scale stop motion animation telling the story of Olivia the oil beetle as she finds her way around Kew Gardens, meeting other creepy crawlies along the way and finding her perfect flower. 

Suitable for all ages. Each drop-in workshop will last for approximately 20 minutes. There are 20 spaces available for each workshop. These will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. 


Included with entry to the Gardens. 

Save on the price of your ticket when you book online


Related links


Event details

Monday 21 August to Wednesday 23 August

Wakehurst, Pearcelands Wood


£21 per person (£19 Friends of Wakehurst)

Event overview


Reach new heights by learning to climb a Wakehurst tree in our wonderful ancient woodlands, with the help of our friendly team of skilled instructors from The Great Big Tree Climbing Company.

  • Hourly slots between 10am and 3.45pm
  • Climbs last one hour
  • Minimum age 6 years

Book your session in advance


Wild Kids - woodland adventures

Event details

Monday 24 July to Sunday 3 September



Most activities are included with garden admission. Nominal charge for some crafts - CASH ONLY.

Event overview

Head down to the woods throughout the summer holidays for a wide array of fun activities, where children can immerse themselves in nature.

This summer we have:

  • weekly calendar of activities - meaning you can return each week and have a different experience every time. This year we have such delights as a 'woodland mammal safari' and 'wild bites and woodland potions'.
  • Tree-climbing - children will be able to learn to climb a Wakehurst tree in the woodlands alongside our friendly team of skilled instructors from the Big Tree Climbing Company.
  • The Children’s Heritage Garden will delight our younger visitors. They can enjoy sowing seeds in the potting shed and digging for wooden vegetables in the ‘dig it’ area.
  • Natural Play Spaces dotted throughout Wakehurst will enable all ages to let off steam. NEW this year is the Woodland Trail where young explorers can discover the secret life of an oak woodland with new interactive adventures – a giant badger sett, life-size dormouse nest and a woven tunnel to crawl through. Pick up a map on your arrival which will show you where all our play spaces are located.
  • Outdoor theatre - more information to follow.
  • The Stables restaurant has a daily menu of freshly prepared hot meals for children as well as take-away lunch boxes.

Find out more about tree-climbing (please note there is a fee for this activity)

Find out more about natural play spaces at Wakehurst


Weekly calendar of activities

A beautiful rustic shelter nestling in the heart of Pearcelands Wood is the hub for this summer’s fun in the fresh air.

  • Activities run between 11am and 3.30pm, seven days a week, and are FREE with garden admission.
  • Some take-home crafts attract a nominal charge to cover the cost of materials. Please remember CASH ONLY.
  • A picnic area, refreshments and toilets will be available in the woods for visitors to our summer programme. 


Butterfly encounters (with the Butterfly Conservation Society)

24 – 30 July 

Join the Big Butterfly Count and be part of the world’s biggest butterfly survey.  We’ll show you how to tell your skippers from your speckled woods and where you might find them. 

Find out about woodland butterflies, those that stick to the shade and those that bask in dappled sunlight. Have lots of hands-on fun too with creative butterfly crafts.

Woodland mammal safari 

31 July – 6 August    

Calling all eco-rangers and nature detectives. Track the woodland’s small inhabitants to find out who’s about, as you discover the signs of their secret world. Even a look at their poo will give you a clue!

Build a cosy home for dormice using materials gathered from the woodland floor.

Wild bites and woodland potions  

7– 13 August

Gather round the brazier to cook your damper bread for a taste of the wild.  Make woodland perfumes and potions and see if you can invent your own recipe. Blend some herbs to experiment with your sense of smell and take your concoction home in a sachet. Collect, pound and stir to create a woodland scented potion. 

Throughout the week the team will also demonstrate bread making in the newly built wood-fired earth oven. Time it right and you’ll get a nibble of fresh bread.   

An eye for nature – art and photography week

14 - 20 August  

Take a close-up look at the natural world – get down on the woodland floor to examine spiders’ webs, the intricate patterns of leaves or the secrets of the woodland. Then take a picture challenge - with a list of objects to seek out and snap - or simply draw.  Make a rustic frame to fill with your creation. 

Expert photographers will be on hand to share ideas and give tips. Bring a camera from home, or have fun on a smart phone. We’d love you to share your photos with us (parents will need to give consent for this for children under 13).

Get fired up about nature  

21 - 27 August       

Let the sparks fly and try your hand at fire-lighting as you get stuck into some bushcraft skills.

Discover some of the magical and fiery properties of the trees in the woods, then get your hands dirty in gorgeous gooey clay and make a tile for firing in the woodland kiln. 

Colour the woods – pigments and paints 

28 August – 3 September

This week we invite you to explore the colours of the woods and the magical effects that the light creates. Create a woodland palette and experiment with the alchemy of pigment and pick a quiet spot in the dappled glade to paint what you see.

Use pestles and mortars to pound leaves and berries to make your own colours, blend them and watch how they change. You can use them to create your own special woodland artwork. 

Pulp Fiction at Kew the Movies

Event details

Wednesday 6 September 2017, gate opens 6.30pm, film starts 7.45pm

Kew Palace Lawn

  • Adults: £17.50
  • Children: £13.50 (ages 5-15)
  • Guests with a disability and essential carers: £8.75 per person
  • Premium: £30

Event overview

Pulp Fiction (1987, certificate 18, 154 minutes)

With an all star cast including Samuel L Jackson, John Travolta and Uma Thurman, and directed by Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction, follows the interconnecting storylines of Los Angeles mobsters, small time criminals and chancers – not for the squeamish!

Premium tickets

  • Watch the film from a director's chair, with a prime view of the screen
  • Enjoy a complimentary drink at the Luna Bar
  • Avoid the queues - enjoy priority access to the bar and hot food (where layout permits)

Further information about Kew the Movies

Book tickets

Related links

Grease at Kew the Movies

Event details

Thursday 7 September 2017, gate opens 6.30pm, film starts 7.45pm

Kew Palace Lawn

  • Adults: £17.50
  • Children: £13.50 (ages 5-15)
  • Guests with a disability and essential carers: £8.75 per person
  • Premium: £30

Event overview

Grease (sing-a-long) (1978, certificate PG, 105 minutes)

An American romantic comedy about friendships, romance and teenage love in the 1950s, starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta. Come and sing your heart out to You’re the one that I want, Summer Nights, Greased Lighting and many more.

Premium tickets

  • Watch the film from a director's chair, with a prime view of the screen
  • Enjoy a complimentary drink at the Luna Bar
  • Avoid the queues - enjoy priority access to the bar and hot food (where layout permits)

Further information about Kew the Movies

Book tickets

Ghostbusters at Kew the Movies

Event details

Wednesday 30 August 2017, gate opens 6.30pm, film starts 8pm

Kew Palace Lawn

  • Adults: £17.50
  • Children: £13.50 (ages 5-15)
  • Guests with a disability and essential carers: £8.75 per person
  • Premium: £30

Event overview

Ghostbusters  (1985, certificate PG, 116 minutes)

Three eccentric parapsychologists start a ghost-catching business in New York, starring Dan Ackroyd, Sigorney Weaver and Bill Murray. A fun film for all the family.

Premium tickets

  • Watch the film from a director's chair, with a prime view of the screen
  • Enjoy a complimentary drink at the Luna Bar
  • Avoid the queues - enjoy priority access to the bar and hot food (where layout permits)

Further information about Kew the Movies

Book tickets

Kew the Movies

Event details

Wednesday 30 August, Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 September 2017

Kew Palace Lawn

  • Adults: £17.50
  • Children: £13.50 (ages 5-15)
  • Guests with a disability and essential carers: £8.75 per person
  • Premium: £30

Bookings for 10+ tickets receive a £1 discount for each ticket.

A Premium ticket gives you a director's chair with a prime view of the screen, a complimentary drink, and fast track queuing at the bar.

Event overview

Wednesday 30 August - Ghostbusters

Wednesday 6 September - Pulp Fiction

Thursday 7 September - Grease (sing-a-long)


Come with a crowd

Kew the Movies is a great evening out for groups of friends or families of all ages. It was even voted one of London’s most romantic date destinations by eHarmony!

General information

  • No seating is provided so bring your own picnic rugs or folding chairs. There is a 'picnic blanket only' section in the front central section of the arena—please show consideration to your fellow picnickers.
  • Picnic rugs and inflatable back wedges will be available to purchase at the event.
  • As this is an open-air event, please dress accordingly, and out of courtesy to fellow cinema-goers please refrain from using umbrellas.
  • Any decision to cancel the event due to bad weather will be taken at the advertised starting time. No refund will be made if a screening starts, but is later abandoned.
  • For safety reasons, no naked flames (i.e. barbecues, candles, night lights, flares and lanterns) are allowed. Picnic tables, gazebos and tents are also not permitted.
  • Videos and recording devices of any sort are not permitted.
  • As per our ticket terms & conditions, we would like to remind you that as a ticket holder you are consenting to photography and filming by Kew that may be used for promotional purposes.
  • We strongly encourage guests to recycle their glass at each event using the recycling facilities provided.
  • Please leave quietly at the end of the event out of consideration to our neighbours, and place all litter in the bins provided on the way out.
  • Please note that the nearby play areas will be not be accessible during Kew the Movies.

Food and drink

You are welcome to bring your own picnic to Kew the Movies, however food and drink will be available on site and you can also pre-order food when you book.

Getting to the event

Which gate to use

  • Entrance (from 6.30pm) and exit is via Elizabeth Gate on Kew Green (TW9 3AB).
  • Guests with a disability, plus one additional carer, may enter from 15 minutes before the general public (from 6.15pm) via Elizabeth Gate 
  • Elizabeth Gate is about a three minute walk from the cinema arena.
  • There is no entrance or exit via any other gate at Kew.

By tube

  • From Kew Gardens station it is about a 15 minute walk to Elizabeth Gate.
  • It is in Zone 3 and is served by the District Line (Richmond branch) and London Overground.

By train

  • From Kew Bridge station it is about a 10 minute to Elizabeth Gate (800 metres). 
  • South West Trains run services from Waterloo, via Vauxhall and Clapham Junction. There is no level access at Kew Bridge.

By bus

  • Route 65 bus stops on Kew Green (runs between Kingston and Ealing)
  • Route 391 bus runs between Richmond and Fulham and stops on Kew Green
  • Routes 237 and 267 stop at Kew Bridge station

By bicycle

Bike racks are available at Elizabeth Gate. Owners leave bikes at their own risk.

Drop-off/pick-up area

There is a designated drop-off/pick-up area outside Elizabeth Gate and disabled access parking spaces are a short distance from the gate.


  • Please note that local parking is extremely limited. Kew cannot reserve spaces, so please allow time to park.
  • Free parking is available on Kew Road (after 10am every day), however this road is congested at peak times.
  • Please note that parking restrictions apply on most of the residential streets around Kew and on parts of Kew Road, please check parking restrictions carefully.

Kew the Movies car park

  • Parking is available at Kew’s Herbarium car park, you can access this by turning off Kew Green. (TW9 3AF).
  • This is free of charge to guests of Kew the Movies.
  • Parking is limited to 100 cars.
  • Motorcycles and mopeds may also park here.
  • There are five disabled access parking bays in the Herbarium car park and a further three spaces next to Elizabeth Gate on Kew Green.
  • Parking is first come, first served.
  • The car park closes at 11pm.

Access information

Disabled access parking

  • There are three marked disabled access parking bays next to Elizabeth Gate on Kew Green.
  • There are also  five disabled access parking bays in the Herbarium car park.
  • These are available on a first come, first served basis.
  • Kew cannot reserve spaces, so we advise drivers to leave in plenty of time to secure a parking space.

Access to the arena

  • Guests with a disability, plus one additional carer, may enter from 15 minutes before the general public via Elizabeth Gate (from 6.15pm for Ghostbusters and from 6.45pm for xx and Grease).
  • The event site has level, step-free access throughout.
  • Some areas of the grounds are uneven and special care should be taken while moving around the site.

Viewing area for guests with a disability

  • There is a designated viewing area for guests with a disability.
  • Stewards wearing high-vis vests will guide you to the location.
  • The area has level access and offers excellent views of the screen.
  • Solely for guests with a disability plus one essential carer.


If you plan to arrive early, we recommend you bring a folding chair for the queue.


There are accessible toilets within easy reach from the viewing area for guests with a disability (approx 50m).

Wheelchair access and guide dogs

  • There are wheelchairs to borrow at Elizabeth Gate on a first come, first served basis.
  • Mobility scooters are not available.
  • Guide dogs or registered disability assistance dogs are allowed within the Gardens. Other dogs are not allowed.

Ticket information

  • There is a fee of £2.50 per transaction on posted tickets or £1.50 on print-at-home if booking online or on the phone.
  • We reserve the right to offer ticket discounts/promotions at our discretion. No refunds can be made for completed purchases or transactions retrospectively.
  • Please note that children must adhere to the film’s certification and our stewards may check to ensure all audience members are the suitable age to see the film. Please ensure you have photo identification with you if your child appears younger than the listed film certification.

Detailed ticket information

  • All guests (including children under 5) must have their own valid ticket, which must be produced to gain entry to the event.
  • Physical tickets bought by phone/internet will be sent out within two weeks of your purchase. If your tickets have not arrived after this time please call the box office on 0844 858 6767.
  • Within seven days of a screening, any physical tickets bought via phone/internet will be available for collection on the night of an event from the Ticket Collection Desk at Elizabeth Gate from 6pm. After collecting tickets, patrons should join the main queue.
  • Tickets can be purchased by phone/internet until 5pm on the day of a screening.

Ticket collection

  • Although it is not advisable to leave it until the night, if there are tickets left over on the evening of the event, these will be transferred to the Ticket Collection Desk at Elizabeth Gate for sale from 5.30pm. 
  • If leaving tickets for other members of your party for later collection, please also use the Ticket Collection Desk at Elizabeth Gate, which will be open until approximately 8pm. After this time remaining tickets will be left with security at the Gate. Kew, however, can take no responsibility for these tickets.

Refunds/event cancellation

  • Kew and See Tickets are unable to offer refunds/duplicates on unwanted/lost tickets.
  • Inevitably bad weather can affect any open-air event. Any decision to cancel the event will be taken at the advertised starting time. No refund will be given if an event is started but later abandoned.
  • Tickets will only be refunded if the event is cancelled by the organiser and as long as the ticket is returned within 28 days of the due event date. The booking fee is not refundable under any circumstances.

Visiting the Gardens

  • You are welcome to visit the Gardens on the day of the event, but please note that your event ticket does not include day visitor entry to the Gardens.
  • Kew closes at 6pm (last entry 5.30pm) and all daytime visitors are kindly asked to depart the Gardens at this time. Garden visitors with a Kew the Movies ticket should exit the Gardens and join the queue at Elizabeth Gate.

Kew After Hours: Celebrating Joseph Hooker

Event details

29 June 2017, 6pm to 9.30pm (last entry 9pm)

Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art (entry only via Victoria Gate)


£15 per ticket (advance booking only)

Event overview

Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911) was a tireless traveller and plant collector, a founder of modern botanical classification and a close friend of Charles Darwin. Kew Gardens was at the heart of Hooker’s career and he helped add thousands of specimens to its collections.

Spend an evening in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at Kew Gardens celebrating the life and legacy of Joseph Hooker. As well as learning about his intrepid plant-hunting adventures through the gallery's extensive collections, you'll get the chance to meet the man himself and talk to him about his amazing discoveries. Don't forget to wish him a very happy birthday!

Book tickets

Unique, inspiring and fun, Kew After Hours are for over 18s only, giving you the chance to discover Kew Gardens after dark. After Hours events are always popular, so tickets are sold in time slots of 6pm, 6.30pm and 7pm. 


What to expect:



Access to the exhibitions at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art and the Marianne North Gallery is included in the price of your After Hours ticket. Current exhibitions:

Joseph Hooker: Putting plants in their place

British artists in the Shirley Sherwood Collection


Exhibition tours: Introducing Joseph Hooker - Kew's botanical trailblazer

Tours start from the foyer of the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at 6.30pm, 7.30pm, 8.30pm

20 people maximum per tour on a first-come basis

A tour around the 'Joseph Hooker: putting plants in their place' exhibition, with Maria Devaney, Galleries and Exhibitions Leader. Understand why Hooker was important to Kew, how he made his name in the world of Victorian science and his lasting legacy as a botanical trailblazer. The tour will highlight some of the key images and objects from Kew’s collections that tell us about Joseph Hooker’s life and achievements.


Joseph Hooker reads his letters

Ten minute readings at 6.15pm, 7.15pm, 8.15pm, 9pm

Joseph Hooker was a prolific letter writer. The Joseph Hooker Correspondence Project, hosted by Kew, is conserving, digitising, transcribing and making available online Hooker’s personal and scientific correspondence. Listen to Hooker read some of his letters aloud.


Capturing Joseph Hooker

Half hour sittings at 6.30pm, 7.30pm and 8.30pm

In celebration of his own great draftsmanship, Joseph Hooker will pose for you to draw his pencil portrait. Capture a likeness of Charles Darwin's scientific confidant and Kew’s most illustrious Director.


Kew experts

Drop-in all evening

Masumi Yamanaka - Kew Resident Artist

Kew Resident Artist, Masumi Yamanaka, will reveal her new painting of Rhododendron thomsonii painted especially for Hooker’s bicentenary and demonstrate some simple illustration techniques that you can try in your own botanical art.

Cam Sharp Jones -  Joseph Hooker Correspondence Project

Cam Sharp Jones will talk about her work conserving, digitising and transcribing the personal and scientific correspondence of Joseph Hooker. The Project allows visitors to examine Joseph Hooker artefacts - including a lifetime of letters, hand-drawn maps, plant specimens, scientific instruments, battered travel notebooks and lively sketches of plants, people and places.

Lynn Parker - Kew’s Illustrations & Archives Curator

Learn about Joseph Hooker’s relationship with botanical illustrator, Walter Hood Fitch, also celebrating his bicentenary this year. Fitch made many botanical illustrations for Hooker, which were shown in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, Hooker’s Himalayan Journals, and Illustrations of Himalayan Plants.


Craft activities

Drop-in all evening

Make your own Joseph Hooker inspired crafts, including an adventure postcard, a botanical badge created with reproduction images from Kew's archives and a birthday message.


Food and drink

Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and a selection of snacks will be available to purchase with cash or card in the galleries.