This vista's focal point is the Pagoda - a ten-storey Chinese-style octagonal building built by William Chambers in 1762. It stands 50 metres high in the southeastern corner of the Gardens.
Today, the Pagoda Vista forms a triangle with the Cedar and Syon vistas. The former provides a view from the Pagoda towards Syon House, outside Kew’s boundary, and the latter runs from the Palm House towards the same point. Pagoda and Syon vistas are remaining elements of William Andrews Nesfield’s redesign of Kew’s Arboretum that took place in 1845 and 1846.
Nesfield began planting Pagoda Vista in 1845 but it wasn’t completed until 1908. His design was for matched pairs of deciduous broad-leafed trees flanked by Himalayan cedars (Cedrus deodara). Some of the trees failed, while others grew crowns that were too broad and therefore unsuitable for lining a vista.
Things to look out for
Kew is gradually replacing the remaining original pairs of deciduous trees that made up the vista with the North American pin swamp oak (Quercus palustris), sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua) and Turkish hazel (Corylus colurna). Arboreal experts selected these species as they are suited to avenue planting, are likely to be heat-tolerant in the face of climate change and can thrive in Kew’s dry soil. The replanting programme is due to be completed in 2014.
One cedar of Lebanon tree stands in front of the Pagoda, blocking the view. It was a good specimen when the vista was planted and no one wanted to take it out.