Syon Vista

Planted with holm oaks, Syon Vista is one of three vistas at Kew created by landscape designer William Andrews Nesfield during 1845 and 1846.

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Syon Vista

Syon Vista looking towards the Palm House

Did you know?

  • Nesfield initially proposed that Syon Vista should terminate at an obelisk or other suitable architectural feature, but this was not erected. However, Syon House provides an eminently attractive focal point.
  • Syon Vista was originally gravelled but neither Kew's then Director Sir William Hooker nor the public favoured this. It was covered in soil and grassed over in 1882.
  • A single-seater aircraft crashed in flames near the west end of Syon Vista in 1928.

Historical information

Planted with holm oaks (Quercus ilex), Syon Vista is one of three vistas created by landscape designer William Andrews Nesfield during 1845 and 1846. It runs west for 1,200 metres from the Palm House, providing a view of Syon House. This is the Duke of Northumberland’s London home, which lies across the River Thames beyond Kew’s boundary.

 

Created at the same time as the Syon Vista were the Pagoda Vista and a shorter walkway terminated by a mature cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani). Together, the three formed a goose foot, or 'patt d’oie', radiating out from the Palm House. Today, only the Syon and Pagoda Vistas remain.

Things to look out for

An oak tree originally stood in the middle of the path that Nesfield wanted the Syon Vista to take. The tree had been raised in a nursery in Exeter by a Mr Lucombe as a cross between the Turkey oak (Quercus cerris) and cork oak (Q. suber). It was planted at Kew in around 1773. Rather than fell it, Nesfield arranged for it to be moved sideways. Now known as the Lucombe oak (Quercus x hispanica ‘Lucombeana’), it remains to this day on a mound beside Syon Vista, and unusually, doesn’t lose its leaves in winter. Kew’s arboretum staff are now strengthening this great vista with young specimens of holm oaks, which are also evergreen.




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