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Disability and access guide for Kew

Kew welcomes all visitors and we aim to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable day out by providing the best possible access throughout the Gardens, our glasshouses and galleries. Here are some tips about travelling to the Gardens and getting around when you arrive.

Contact us

We want you to enjoy your visit to Kew Gardens. If there is anything we can do to help with information before your visit, please call us on 020 8332 5655 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) or email info@kew.org.

Ticket information and prices

Registered blind and partially-sighted visitors can enter for free as can essential carers accompanying adult visitors (aged 17 and above) with a disability. Please notify the admissions staff when you buy your ticket at the gate.

Getting here by public transport

If you are travelling to Kew Gardens station from central London by the District Line or on the westbound service of London Overground, please be aware that if you are a wheelchair user or find stairs difficult, there is no direct accessible exit to Kew Gardens from the westbound platform. It is advisable to continue your journey to Richmond (one stop) and catch a tube or train back to Kew Gardens, where the eastbound platform leads out via a level exit to the Kew village area. From here it is a distance of approximately 400m to the Victoria Gate entrance to the Gardens on Kew Road.

Richmond station is served by National Rail and there is a lift to street level and level access to the pavement from the station concourse. The bus stop for the local bus route which travels in the direction of Kew Gardens, 65, in the direction of Ealing Broadway, is on the opposite side of the street from the station. The bus stops near two of the gates to the Gardens: Lion Gate and Victoria Gate.

Parking at Kew Gardens

There are eight extra wide disabled parking bays in our Brentford Gate car park, near the ticket kiosk, and these are free for blue badge holders. If these are full, disabled drivers displaying the blue badge are welcome to park elsewhere in the car park free of charge. There are also three disabled parking bays to the right of the Main Gate on Kew Green. You may find a space on Kew Road (A307) where you can park free of charge after 10am.

Getting around Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens is largely accessible to wheelchair users. We also have a number of wheelchairs and a fleet of eight mobility scooters, available for visitors to use.

Most of the buildings in the Gardens have level or ramped ground floor access for wheelchairs. The Gardens themselves are largely flat with tarmac paths in most places.

Wheelchairs are available for free at all the gates on a first come, first served basis. There is usually a good supply available and some visitors like to bring their own cushion. You can leave the chair at any gate when you leave the Gardens.

There is no wheelchair access to the following parts of the Gardens:

  • Sackler Crossing at Kew Gardens
  • Marine display in the Palm House basement
  • Upper galleries in the Palm House and Temperate House
  • Upper levels of the Princess of Wales Conservatory

Please also note that one manually-operated fixed wheelchair can be accommodated in the area at the rear of the Kew Explorer.

Photo: Mrs Denver tries a mobility scooter

Mobility scooters at Kew Gardens

We have eight mobility scooters which are free to use, but must be booked in advance by calling the Operations Team on 020 8332 5121.

Scooters can be collected at Brentford Gate, Victoria Gate or Elizabeth Gate and, subject to availability, you may be able to specify which gate you would prefer when you book the scooter and to complete a simple form. We will give you simple instructions on using the scooter. You will be asked to present some form of ID with your photograph or home address when you collect the scooter.

Please note that the scooters are provided to help visitors with limited mobility who find it difficult to walk long distances, but are otherwise able and have reasonable eyesight, reactions and hand grasp. You are also welcome to bring your own scooter if it is a pavement-use mobility scooter limited to 4mph.

All mobility scooters used in Kew Gardens are for outdoor use only and cannot be taken into the glasshouses, galleries, Kew Palace, the Xstrata Treetop Walkway, the restaurants and cafes or the WCs. Scooters must be left outside in a safe position. No scooter may be used on the grass.

Walks and tours

We offer bus and walking tours designed for visitors with additional needs such as limited mobility, sight loss, learning disability and deafness. Our specially adapted mobility bus with volunteer guide and driver is used for tours lasting around an hour. The tour takes in all the major sights at Kew Gardens and is designed for groups of up to 12 people seated plus one fixed wheel wheelchair space.

  • Discovery bus tours are usually available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, morning and afternoon, subject to driver and guide availability.
  • Tours must be booked in advance and cost £30 per group.
  • Please ensure there are at least 2 carers per group.
  • To book a Discovery bus tour call 020 8332 5643 or download the Discovery Bus Tour booking form
Our Discovery programme also offers guided walking tours for groups and individuals with sensory and mobility difficulties. Our guides are trained to lead groups of visitors with visual impairment and some use British Sign Language.

The Discovery bus team in front of the bus

Discovery Bus team at Kew Gardens

  • Tours must be booked in advance and cost £5 per guide.
  • Tours are designed for groups of up to five people, including carers.
  • If your group is larger than five we will need to assign additional guides.
  • To book a Discovery walking tour call 020 8332 5643 / 5604 or download and complete the Discovery walking tour booking form
Toilets

You will find accessible toilet facilities within easy reach of all the main attractions, cafes and gates and their location is clearly marked on the Visitor information map.

A few metres from Brentford Gate there is a specialised adult changing facility that is accessible for disabled people, fully equipped with hoist and changing bench. A Radar NKS key is required to enter and is available to borrow from the ticket kiosk at Brentford Gate. Please bring your own sling.

Eating, drinking and shopping

  • All our cafes have level access and are self service.
  • Both shops at Kew Gardens are accessible to wheelchairs .

Rhizotron and Xstrata Treetop Walkway

  • The Rhizotron is fully accessible to wheelchairs and mobility scooters. You enter via a path on a gentle downwards slope with handrail, on a smooth surface. The exit path is an identical upward slope.
  • The Xstrata Treetop Walkway lift is available for disabled and mobility impaired visitors.
  • Mobility scooters and pushchairs are not permitted on the Xstrata Treetop Walkway.

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