Great Pagoda

Enjoy spectacular views across London from the heights of the Great Pagoda.

Pagoda Vista at Kew

The Great Pagoda is closed for winter and will reopen on 3 April 2020.

Following a major restoration project, you can now reach the heights of the Great Pagoda and marvel at spectacular views across London. 

Kew’s Pagoda was completed in 1762 as a gift for Princess Augusta, the founder of the Gardens. It was one of several Chinese buildings designed for Kew by Sir William Chambers, who had spent time travelling and studying the architecture of East Asia. A popular ‘folly’ of the age, it offered one of the earliest and finest bird’s eye views of London – which you can enjoy today.  

Visiting the Great Pagoda  

Please note: The Great Pagoda is now closed for winter and will reopen on 3 April 2020.

Nearest entrance 

Lion Gate. The Great Pagoda is located near the Temperate House and Pavilion restaurant.

We may occasionally need to close attractions for maintenance or visitor safety: check for planned closures and visitor notices before you visit. 

A little bit of history  

The Great Pagoda was restored in 2018 to its original 18th century splendour. This includes the 80 dragons which originally adorned the roofs, each carved from gilded wood.  

The dragons were removed in 1784 and were rumoured to have been sold to settle George IV’s gambling debts. However, experts believe that since they were made of wood, they had simply rotted over time. 

Still, the pagoda itself has stood the test of time and borne witness to key moments in British history. During the Second World War, British bombers tested their latest inventions in flight by making holes in each floor of the pagoda and dropping bombs down in secret - the repairs to the holes are still visible today. 

The exhibition reveals more about the history of the pagoda and how the Royal Family used this unique building. 

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