King William’s Temple and Mediterranean garden

King William’s Temple stands on a mound on Cherry Walk, in between the Palm House and Temperate House.

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King William's Temple

King William's Temple

Did you know?

  • There are three main types of habitat in the Mediterranean: maquis, garrigue and woodland. Maquis has dense shrubland, olives and oak trees; garrigue is open with heaths and aromatic shrubs such as lavender; and woodlands comprise oaks and conifers.
  • Kew is investigating how waste products from olive oil production could be used as sources of compounds to make medicines to treat cardio-vascular diseases.

Historical information

King William’s Temple stands on a mound on Cherry Walk, in between the Palm House and Temperate House. It was built in 1837 for Queen Victoria in the memory of William IV and designed by his architect, Sir Jeffry Wyatville. Initially called the Temple of Military Fame, it was designed to complement Sir William Chambers’ Temple of Victory (no longer standing). Inside, cast-iron plates commemorate British victories from 1760 to 1815. It originally contained a parade of busts of characters including George III, George IV, William IV and the Duke of Wellington but these were later removed to Buckingham Palace. It stands in the centre of the Mediterranean Garden, which Kew created in 2007.

Things to look out for

The 2000m² area to the west of the Temple is planted to depict a typical Mediterranean natural habitat. Kew’s aim in creating the feature was to highlight the economic uses of many endemic Mediterranean plants, the diversity of life the habitat supports and the conservation efforts needed to ensure its survival. Stone pines (Pinus pinea), Tuscan olive trees (Olea europaea) and the green spires of Italian cypress (Cupress sempervivens) grow above shrubs such as Cistus and lavender (Lavandula lanata). Information boards explain the uses of some of the most economically important plants.

Mediterranean Garden, October 2013
The Mediterranean Garden in October 2013

Kids’ mission

  • Five regions around the world share the same distinctive climate that we call Mediterranean. These regions cover two per cent of the world’s land surface but hold 20 per cent of its plant life. Can you name the four that lie outside the Mediterranean region itself?
  • Can you find the tree that we use to make wine bottle stoppers from? Which part of the tree is used for this purpose?

3 comments on 'King William’s Temple and Mediterranean garden'

Kew feedback team says

21/03/2013 12:17:30 PM | Report abuse

Hi Sue Thanks for pointing this out. We've made the correction.

Sue Webster says

20/03/2013 12:54:56 PM | Report abuse

Pardon me if I correct you, but that should be Cupressus sempervirens.

Jordan Jackson says

27/09/2010 2:33:57 AM | Report abuse

I visited this garden in July 2009. It is a wonderful garden, the most impressive I saw at Kew. But if this garden is planted to depict a typical Mediterranean natural habitat, then you are misleading the public. There are quite a number of plants there native only to the Americas. Your picture shows 2 large clumps of Yucca in the foreground. Yucca is native only to the New World. I have photos from the garden that show fan palms of American origin & California flannel bush (Fremontodendron).

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