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Kew Explorer land train

Enjoy a tour around the gardens on the Kew Explorer land train. Learn about Kew's flora and fauna, iconic buildings and vital conservation work.
Kew Explorer land train
The Kew Explorer land train

Christmas tours

From 1 December there will be no weekday Explorer tours. The weekday service will return on 1 February 2016.

Weekend Explorer tours will continue to run as a hop-on/hop-off service at 11am, 12 noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.

  • Santa Claus will join a separate, non-stop service on 12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23 December.
  • This service will depart from Explorer Stop 1 at 11.30am, 12.30pm and, if demand requires, 1.30pm.
  • Santa will narrate a tour focusing on festive plants throughout the Gardens.
  • Tickets cost £3 per person and can only be purchased from Santa’s helper located at Stop 1.

Tickets and timings

The Kew Explorer is a hop-on/hop-off land train that operates a daily service throughout the year, except during the Christmas period when the timetable will change - see details of Christmas tours on the right.

All services depart from Stop 1, adjacent to the Victoria Gate.

Please see the daily timetable, located at all visitor gates and at the seven designated Kew Explorer stops. 

Price: £4.50 adult, £1.50 child. Essential carers go free.

Explorer land train tickets may be purchased from the Kew Explorer driver, ticket gates, Kew shops, and online*. By purchasing a ticket, you are helping to support Kew's work in saving the world's plants. 

The main boarding point is Stop 1, close to Victoria Plaza. Services arrive at Stop 1 approximately ten minutes after leaving Stop 7. There is then a 20-minute wait before continuing.

Explorer land train ticket holders can get on and off at any stop on the route.

We recommend that you check schedules when you purchase your ticket in case of seasonal fluctuations. During severe weather conditions the service is liable to disruption — to confirm that it is running, call 020 8332 5655 / 5617.

From time-to-time it is necessary to remove services due to essential maintenance.


*You will be able to add your land train tickets to your shopping basket after you select your visit date.


There is space for one manually-operated wheelchair in the back carriage of each vehicle and ample room for storage of folded-up wheelchairs and pushchairs. For further information call 020 8332 5617.

Kew Explorer route

The Kew Explorer land train stops at the following places:

Stop 1. Victoria Gate — for the Victoria Plaza Shop and Garden Shop, Victoria Terrace Café. A fantastic selection of exclusive gifts are available from the shop.
Plants + People exhibition in Museum No.1   |   Palm House — the world-famous tropical glasshouse and tropical display  |  Waterlily House

Stop 2. Holly Walk — the best stop for the Rhizotron and Xstrata Treetop Walkway: get a bird's eye view of Kew when you climb the 18-metre high, 200-metre walkway   |   Mediterranean Garden   |   King William's Temple

Stop 3. Japanese Gateway — the closest gate to Richmond
Japanese Gateway and Landscapes — a replica of the 16th-century Gateway of the Imperial Messenger   |   Pavilion Restaurant (open until 2 November)   |   Pagoda — 10-storey Pagoda designed by Sir William Chambers   |   Cedar Vista — the longest of seven avenues radiating from the Pagoda

Stop 4. Waterlily Pond   |   Conservation Area and Woodland — lake and wildfowl and a glorious display of bluebells in spring   |   Sackler Crossing   |   Waterlily Pond   |   Stable Yard — a viewing platform for Kew's compost area   |   Stag Beetle Loggery and Badger Sett   |   Queen Charlotte's Cottage (open weekends April–September)

Stop 5. Vistas 
Bamboo Garden — traditional Japanese Minka House   |   Rhododendron Dell — stunning colour in late spring

Stop 6. Brentford Gate car park
Riverside Walk — walk among fine oaks alongside the River Thames   |   White Peaks — enjoy snacks and buy gifts in Kew's family shop   |   Climbers and Creepers — interactive play area for children aged 3–9 years   |   Treehouse Towers — outdoor play area for children

Stop 7. Main Gate and the Orangery 
The Orangery — delicious meals, teas, snacks and evening venue hire   |   Kew Palace and Kew Palace Welcome Centre (open 2 April–25 September)   |   Queen's Garden — Nosegay Garden, Parterre and Summer House

Hire the Kew Explorer

The Kew Explorer land train is available to hire as part of wedding or venue hire packages and school groups. Tours and commentary can be tailored to suit your event and guests can board and alight from the vehicle at pre-arranged, convenient locations. The Explorer land train is available for private hire in the morning from 9.30am to 10.30am and later in the day, from 5.30pm onwards. For prices and further information call 020 8332 5617 or email

For further information about the Kew Explorer land train, please contact the Kew Explorer Manager at:

RBG Kew Enterprises Ltd
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Tel: 020 8332 5617 (during weekday office hours)

At weekends, please leave a short message and your phone number on 020 8332 5617 or call our visitor info line on 020 8332 5655.

We welcome advice and comments from passengers. If you need special assistance or have any queries, please email us at