27 May 2023

Best things to do at Kew this summer

From our new inspirational trails to an extraordinary art exhibition, there is plenty to do at Kew Gardens this summer.

By Katie Avis-Riordan , Grace Brewer and Ellie Wilson

Late summer in the Great Board Walk Borders at Kew

Summer at Kew is a special time. Every corner of the Gardens is alive with colour and life.

Explore our summer nature trails, join our wellbeing sessions, see vibrant summer colour and enjoy the many more seasonal highlights on offer.

Visit The Wander Project

For Kew's event of the summer, we've invited artists, musicians and environmentalists to inspire visitors to experience nature in new ways.

Singer Ellie Goulding, campaigners and authors Mya-Rose Craig and Dara McAnulty, broadcasters Fearne Cotton and Clara Amfo, and climate activist Clover Hogan are just a few of the 25 inspirational leaders you'll hear from as you wander around Kew this summer.

Along five new trails throughout the gardens, they've left personal invitations for you to feel, move, hear and think differently. Whether you love a treetop adventure, a slow mindfulness stroll or a story that propels you back in time, you'll see Kew in a brand new light.

Don't miss The Wander Project Exchange near Victoria Gate, where you can find out more and leave your own written invitation for others to enjoy.

Shot of palm trees from below with light filtering through

View amazing art

Visit our Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art this summer to enjoy a cluster of stunning art exhibitions.

All the Flowers Are for Me by Pakistani-American contemporary artist Anila Quayyum Agha is an arresting installation, drawing on botanical patterns used in Islamic architecture and art to explore connectedness and co-existence in sacred spaces.

From inside a five feet tall steel cube suspended from the ceiling, intricate shadows fill the gallery and make you part of the artwork.

Also at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery, you'll find the UK premiere of Agha's work, Stolen moment bouquet I and II.

Made of mirrored stainless steel, these silhouettes of plants and flowers are inspired by the Great Piece of Turf by 16th century painter Albrecht Dürer, to showcase how botanical art is constantly evolving.

While you're there, don't miss the world premiere of Plants of the Qur’ān. These breathtaking illustrations from botanical artist Sue Wickison and Kew scientist Dr Shahina Ghazanfar put the plants you know and love – like garlic, pomegranate and henna – in a whole new light.

And if you're familiar with Kew's giant waterlilies (the biggest in the world), you'll love The wonderful world of water plants, where you can get up close with botanical artist Lucy Smith's intricate painting of the underside of one of our mammoth waterlily leaves.

Wide shot: a blue glowing cube hangs suspended in a gallery, throwing intricate shadows onto the orange walls and wooden floor
All the Flowers Are for Me © RBG Kew

Join our wellbeing sessions

Come to Kew for a series of specially-curated wellbeing sessions to help you disconnect from your everyday life and boost your mood.

Allow our beautiful landscape to relax and energise you — take your pick from forest bathing; an evening summer cycle with live music; yoga in the majestic Temperate House; and morning tai chi in our enchanting Gardens.

For the ultimate immersive experience, come for a soundbath session surrounded by the relaxing sounds of nature.

Yoga in the Temperate House
Yoga, Temperate House © RBG Kew

Watch movies and theatre at Kew

Grab your popcorn and join us in front of the big screen at Kew's outdoor cinema.

From new releases such as The Little Mermaid, Oscar winner Everything Everywhere All at Once, blockbuster Avatar: The Way of Water, and the thrills and spills of Top Gun: Maverick, to Encanto and Frozen sing-alongs as well as family favourite Moana, Kew the Movies has something for everyone.

If theatre is more your thing, you're also in luck! This summer, Theatre on Kew brings Alice in Wonderland to the Gardens, with enchantment for kids and the young at heart.

A crowd of people watch a movie outdoors at Kew
Kew the Movies © RBG Kew

Immerse yourself in summer colour

No summer visit to Kew would be complete without witnessing the rainbow of colour on display in our Gardens.

After two years of replanting, the Peony Garden is back, bigger and brighter than ever.

Stop at the Rose Garden to admire the range of petal hues and delicious scents of more than 170 different rose species and cultivars.

The Agius Evolution Garden shows a breath-taking array of colour as you learn about the science behind the magnificent plant collection.

Be dazzled by our Great Broad Walk Borders, 320 metres of floral delight with each plant chosen for its beauty, colour or form. Amble down this aromatic walkway to see swathes of lavender, alliums, salvias and many more showstopping species.

Don’t miss the Rock Garden, Queen’s Garden or Woodland Garden for bright summer colour and beautiful blooms.

Late summer in the Great Board Walk Borders at Kew
Great Broad Walk Borders, Richard Wilford © RBG Kew

Admire our glasshouses

Explore our glasshouses this summer while they are brimming with life.

Soak up the tropics in our Palm House as you wander amongst the lush green rainforest plants and splashes of blooming colour.

Stroll through the Temperate House, the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse, to see 1,500 species of plants from Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific Islands.

The Princess of Wales Conservatory has variety for all tastes. With 10 climatic zones, you can venture from the desert to the wet tropics, spotting carnivorous plants along the way.

Admire the hardy alpine plants in the Davies Alpine House and the spectacular aquatic plants in the Waterlily House.

Inside the Palm House
Inside the Palm House, Ellen McHale © RBG Kew

Enjoy tasty food and drink

Choose between our variety of cafés and restaurants in the Gardens. Whether it’s indoor dining, alfresco lunch, or takeaway grub, we’ve got it.

Dine surrounded by trees and vines in our Pavilion Bar and Grill, pick up a sweet treat and coffee at Victoria Gate Café, order a delicious dish in the Orangery from July onwards or enjoy a stone-baked pizza and fresh ice cream at our Family Kitchen & Shop.

Look out for seasonal specialities and food foraged from our Gardens on our menus.

You’re also welcome to bring your own picnic and find the perfect spot in our Gardens to lay out your blanket.

A family of four eats a meal in a colourful restaurant underneath a brown mushroom made from sticks
New Family Kitchen and Shop © RBG Kew

Get early entry as a Kew member

Between 1 May and 30 September, Kew members can enjoy the tranquility of the Gardens from 8am every day.

You’ll get exclusive entry before we open and have the chance to experience the unique beauty of Kew in the early morning light – the perfect way to start a summer’s day.

Why not make a pit stop at the Victoria Plaza Café for hot drinks and a range of breakfast snacks?

Become a member

Great Broad Walk Borders, RBG Kew
Great Broad Walk Borders, RBG Kew / Jeff Eden
Visitors amongst the plants in the Temperate House

Wander Project

Explore five new trails and reconnect with nature this summer at Kew.

Read & watch