Kew’s Elizabeth Gate stands beside Kew Green on the northern edge of the Gardens. It is a Grade II Listed building.
- In its first year of opening, around 9,000 people passed through Burton’s gate
- Today, a million people visit Kew Gardens every year, a third of them entering through the Elizabeth Gate
Kew's Elizabeth Gate was completed to Decimus Burton’s designs in 1846. Fashioned in Jacobean-style ironwork and supported by carved Portland stone pillars, it comprises a double central gate (designed to be wide enough for carriages) and side openings for pedestrians.
In Kew’s early days, visitors had entered the Botanic Garden via a small wooden door in the arboretum wall which stretched from the last house on the south side of Kew Green to the stables standing east of Kew Palace. A separate gate admitted visitors to part of the Gardens known at the time as the Pleasure Grounds.
In 1825, King George IV had erected a gate and railings on Kew Green flanked by two lodges, topped with a lion and unicorn apiece, “separating the royal domains from the intrusion of vulgar curiosity”. The new gate blocked off the existing visitor entrances to Kew, so the king opened “three small doorways” through which the public could enter.
After Sir William Hooker became Kew’s director in 1841 he decided the Gardens deserved a grander public entrance and commissioned Burton to design the existing Elizabeth Gate. The resulting construction, with its royal coat of arms and floral motifs were more fitting for a Garden in the throes of becoming an important national botanical institution.