Parents' Survival Guide
Kew isn’t just for gardeners! Children can be entertained all day long with family-friendly activities, our Climbers and Creepers playzone as well as 300 acres to explore! Follow our essential guide and plan a visit to Kew Gardens for the whole family.
There's so much see on a day out at Kew. We've picked out some family favourites for you, to make sure you make the most of your family visit.
- Climbers and Creepers - explore our unique indoor play zone, where children can wiggle through tunnels and slide down our giant pitcher plant. Suitable for children aged 3 – 9, children must be accompanied by an adult
- School holiday activities - click here to find out what's happening this October half term
- Xstrata Treetop Walkway - climb 18 metres high into the treetops on to this circular walkway, to learn about trees and enjoy an exciting birds-eye view over the Gardens
- Stag Beetle Loggery - insect lovers should head here during May to try and spot some of these giant beetles
- Aquatic Displays – as well as incredible plants, the Palm House and the Princess of Wales Conservatory also feature aquatic displays where you can see piranha, enormous catfish, freshwater stingrays and water dragons.
- Treehouse Towers - Located outside Climbers and Creepers, children (from 3 - 11) can play on giant swings, zip wires, scramble nets and slides.
- Glasshouse galleries – climb up high inside the Palm House or the Temperate House to tower above the palms and plants and experience the huge scale of these historic glasshouses
- Evolution House - learn about the theory of evolution by travelling through time back 3,500 million years, on the way you pass a fuming volcano with glowing lava and even dinosaur footprints
- Arboretum - run off some energy in amongst the trees of Kew’s arboretum; children in particular will enjoy the area around the Lake and the Sackler Crossing, where they can see duck, geese and occasional peacocks or golden pheasant
- Trails – look out to see if there are any children’s trails at the time of your visit, details can be found at the gate when you arrive, there are also trails to follow in the kids’ guidebook Kids’ Kew (see below)
- Guided Tours - older children can learn lots about plants on our FREE daily guided tours, which leave at 11am and 2pm daily See our Guided Tours page for more information
Kids' Kew - so much more to explore!
Kids' Kew is our children’s guidebook featuring exciting places to visit and things to do at all year round. Aimed at 7-11 year olds, this 48 page guide is beautifully illustrated and features a fold-out map, 60 stickers, activities, fascinating facts and bad jokes!
Kids’ Kew is available at any gate and in the Kew shops, priced £3.95.
Eating and drinking
There are four cafes and restaurants across the Kew site. Try our special children's boxes - select five of your children's favourite items from sandwiches to fruit, crisps, juice and cake.
The Orangery Restaurant is our largest catering outlet and serves freshly prepared main meals (including children’s portions), along with homemade cakes and children’s boxes. The Orangery is near Elizabeth Gate.
The Victoria Terrace café is the smallest catering outlet at Kew, and is perfect for a cup of coffee, sandwich or cake. The Victoria Terrace café is inside the Plaza at Victoria Gate.
White Peaks offers hot carved roasts in a bap, soups, children’s boxes and ice cream in summer. White Peaks is next door to the Climbers & Creepers play zone.
The Pavilion Restaurant is a quiet restaurant near the Temperate House. It serves fresh salads, special children’s meals, seasonal hot dishes and children’s boxes.
Facilities for warming baby’s bottles are available at all restaurants and cafes.
You are also allowed to bring your own food to Kew - picnics are allowed anywhere except in the cafes and restaurants, or inside the glasshouses.
Visit the White Peaks shop which offers a range of books, toys and gadgets for imaginative minds. There are also children’s wellies and raincoats for sale if you visit on a rainy day.
Toilets and baby changing
There are toilets at regular points throughout the Garden, please see our map for details. Baby changing facilities are available at various toilets - Climbers and Creepers, Victoria Gate, White Peaks, and at the toilets near Pavilion Restaurant.
Bags and buggies
Kew's landscape has many paths and most buildings have ramped access. The only areas that are not accessible with buggies are the following:
- Glasshouses Galleries inside the Temperate House and the Palm House
- Xstrata Treetop Walkway (a buggy park is positioned at the bottom of the stairs to the walkway)
- The Waterlily House
If you need to leave bags or other equipment while you visit, there are lockers* (£1 deposit) at Victoria Gate and Elizabeth Gate:
Victoria Gate: self-service lockers measuring 54cm x 33 cm x 44cm and 84cm x 33cm x 44cm (£1 fee). Tokens for these lockers are available from a self service machine located in the locker room or from the ticket office.
Elizabeth Gate: limited number of lockers measuring 25cm x 82cm x 27cm available at a cost of £1, payable at the ticket office.
*All lockers are subject to availability
The Gardens span over 300 acres, so it is great place to let the children run around. To get an idea of the size of the gardens, some examples of walking times with a 5 year old child are:
- Victoria Gate to the Xstrata Treetop Walkway - 15 minutes
- Xstrata Treetop Walkway to Badger Sett – 20 minutes
- Elizabeth Gate to Climbers and Creepers - 15 minutes
Take a look at our Garden Map for locations of all the family friendly attractions.
Visits involve plenty of walking, so wear comfortable shoes. Please note that rollerskates, rollerblades and heelies are not allowed within Kew Gardens.
Indoor and outdoor
There is plenty to do inside at Kew if it’s raining. Kew’s glasshouses cover over 4 acres and inside you can discover plants from South Africa to the Sahara. There is lots more to see inside, including four galleries and exhibitions and of course the hours of fun to be found at our indoor play zone, Climbers and Creepers. Our restaurants and cafes also all have indoor seating areas.
Bicycles and games
To protect our rare and valuable trees and plants, bicycles, scooters, ball games and tree climbing are not allowed at Kew Gardens. Scooters can be left at the gates when you arrive.
How to find us
We encourage you to visit Kew Gardens via public transport both for environmental reasons and our limited parking. See How to find us for more detailed information on public transport and parking.
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