24 October 2022

Best things to do at Kew this autumn

From woodland walks to our Mexican fiesta, there's plenty for all to do at Kew Gardens this autumn.

By Ellen McHale , Kate Dickinson and Ellen Reid

Fallen yellow autumn leaves at Kew

The Gardens have come alive with the rich colours of autumn. 

Get outside this season, breathe in the fresh air and spot our autumnal highlights. 

Revel in the change of colours

Enjoy the sensual delight of autumn, with vibrant colours, crisp leaves, petrichor and other seasonal smells.

There are many places to enjoy the dramatic changes that take place in our Gardens, but the best spots for blazes of colour are the Treetop Walkway and the Arboretum (which has 14,000 trees!).

The Grass Garden is also stunning at this time of year, exhibiting plenty of hues and textures, and don’t miss out on the daily walking tour of Kew’s trees, a free and fun way to learn more about them.

Autumn canopy of colourful leaves
Autumn, Ellen McHale © RBG Kew

Explore artworks 

The fun candy-coloured magical land of Pip & Pop’s When Flowers Dream in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art can banish those dull moments on some autumn days.

The artist took inspiration from nature to create a fun-filled imaginary landscape fit for a unicorn or two.  

A close up of the Pip and Pop exhibition
Detail of When Flowers Dream, Ines Stuart-Davidson © RBG Kew
Two visitors explore the colourful When Flowers Dream exhibition
Visitors explore When Flowers Dream by Pip & Pop, Jeff Eden © RBG Kew

Don’t miss another exhibition at the Gallery – The Art of Food. Discover some fascinating insights into the plants we eat, from pomegranates and red currants to beetroot and potatoes.

An illustration of a beetroot
Botanical Food © RBG Kew

Visit Mexico

Revel in the vibrancy of Mexico at Kew’s Temperate House. This iconic building is hosting three spectacular art installations, including a slumber of sloths amid the canopy, and two new works by Mexican artist Betsabée Romero, created especially for Kew.

There are also weekend performances from all-female band Mariarchi Las Adelitas, and a special Mexican-inspired menu at The Pavilion Bar and Grill.

Don’t miss out on our Family Fiesta – a week of fun activities and folklore, including a carnival parade!

If you miss out on our Mexico celebrations, don’t worry, there are more fun events coming soon... (Did someone say Christmas at Kew?) 

The Altar detail by Betsabeé Romero at Mexico
The Altar detail by Betsabeé Romero at Mexico © RBG Kew
Bright yellow and orange sloth installation hanging from the ceiling of a glasshouse
Fantastic Jungle Sloths by Fernando Laposse at Mexico © RBG Kew

Burn off some steam

Let children run wild at our Children’s Garden (also open early on 30 October for quiet sessions). Find bouncy pads, run rings around an ancient oak, and slide to your heart’s content.

Go on a wander through our main Gardens to find the log trail, fun for children big and small. On the way look out for fungi nestled in fallen leaves, bright autumnal berries, and Kew’s resident foxes and badgers. 

Adults can challenge themselves to walk the perimeter of Kew. With the Gardens measuring a whopping 300 acres, you're sure to slam your step count this week!

Blurred movements of children running fast in the children's garden under coloured windmills
Children in The Children's Garden

Moments of calm

Kew has some ideal spots for quiet contemplation, where you can immerse yourself in the landscape and notice small details.

The Lake Crossing is the perfect pause for autumnal reflections on the water.

A stroll through the Rock Garden will reward you with late-flowering sedums, autumn crocuses and silver vegetation.

Bask in peak tranquility in the Japanese Landscape, brimming with fiery foliage.

Relax at King William’s Temple, one of Kew’s historical structures built in 1837 for Queen Victoria (and a lovely place for a cuppa from one of our cafes). 

Autumn tree,  Ellen McHale © RBG Kew
Autumn tree, Ellen McHale © RBG Kew

Roam free

Head to Wakehurst and explore our gardens in the heart of the Sussex countryside.

Our sister site is the home of beautiful woodland, rolling hills and rare plants like the Wollemi pine. 

Get swept away on a Room on the Broom adventure, or see what wildlife you can spot in our peaceful Loder Valley Nature Reserve.  

Wakehurst autumn highlights:

  • Smell the brown leaves of the candyfloss tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) for that sweet, fairground smell. 

  • Meet our incredible redwoods in Horsebridge Wood. These resilient giants have fire resistant bark and live for thousands of years. 

  • Spot the golden larch (Pseudolarix amabilis), also known as the 'Halloween tree’ because the flame-coloured branches turn the colour of pumpkins. 

Autumn colours of trees at Wakehurst
Autumn colours at Wakehurst, Jim Holden © RBG Kew
A red illustrated banner with a small child and a costumed person

Mexico Family Fiesta

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