The Hive

Experience the drama of life inside a real beehive in this mesmerising installation.

The Hive, RBG Kew

At a towering 17 metres tall, The Hive is a striking installation in the heart of a wildflower meadow that recreates life inside a beehive.

A stunning piece of contemporary art, it’s one of the most photographed spots in the Gardens.  

Walk into this larger-than-life enclosure and you’ll immediately enter the whirring world of a real beehive at Kew. 

One thousand LED lights glow according to the vibrations of bees that live in the Gardens.

In the background, a musical symphony responds to this activity. You might (or might not) notice that every sound is performed in the key of C – the very key that bees buzz in!  

Exploring the secret life of bees on a human scale, the Hive is a space to celebrate their powerful role in sustaining life as we know it.

Creating The Hive 

Designed by UK based artist Wolfgang Buttress, The Hive is a visual tribute to Britain’s honeybees. Originally created for the UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo, it now lives in our Gardens at Kew -  surrounded by wildflowers to celebrate the environments that real bees need to thrive.  

The Hive’s distinctive mesh frame is constructed from 170,000 aluminium parts and 1,000 LED lights. It took four months to reconstruct here at Kew and is now one of the most unique features in our Gardens.  

In 2016 The Hive won a Landscape Institute Award for its immersive impact. A beacon of contemporary art, it continues to stand tall as a striking symbol of the challenges facing bees today.  

Visiting The Hive 

  • The Hive is an open-air attraction, so we may occasionally need to close it for maintenance or visitor safety: check for visitor notices and closures
  • Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate mobility scooters due to the restricted width of the paths and interior space within The Hive. 
  • The path to The Hive is designed to be wheelchair-accessible but the gradient may feel steep to self-propelled wheelchair users.

Discover more of Kew

Did you know?