11 January 2022

Best things to do at Kew this winter

Breathe in the crisp air and enjoy seasonal highlights at Kew Gardens this winter.

By Grace Brewer and Ellen McHale

Holly berries

Get outdoors for some fresh air and winter fun at Kew. 

Get creative at one of our bespoke workshops, discover our new interactive food laboratory, and spot the seasonal delights in our Gardens.

Get creative

Keep an eye on our what's on page for our carefully curated short courses to kick-start your creativity this new year.

There are a variety of courses available in person and online.

Person painting an image of a flower
Person painting a flower © RBG Kew

Awaken your senses

Enjoy the perfect pitstop on a family day out at our brand-new Family Kitchen & Shop, right next door to our Children's Garden.

This immersive eatery offers families a place to feast on delicious food from stone-baked pizza to artisan sandwiches and ice cream.

You will also find an interactive food laboratory here where children can discover the wonders of nature and origins of their favourite foods.

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

Journey through our Costa Rican paradise

Celebrate the richness of Costa Rica at our annual orchid festival in February.

For this carnival of colour, our Princess of Wales Conservatory will be adorned with vibrant horticultural displays and animated soundscapes, transporting you to the tropics of Central America.

Join Kew scientists, horticulturalists and local experts on our mission to understand Costa Rica's bountiful plant life.

Orchid festival
Orchid festival 2020 © RBG Kew

Go wildlife watching

Our Gardens are full of wildlife, from herons and woodpeckers to badgers and hedgehogs. Our woodland areas provide great cover for our furry friends.

Head to the Natural Area to spot signs of badgers. They are nocturnal and shy but if you look closely you can spot tell-tale signs, like claw marks and paw prints.  

Look around our lakes and ponds to spot bird life. From stealthy grey herons (Ardea Cinerea) to noisy Canada geese (Branta canadensis), bird life can be seen on the water and by the water's edge.

Keep your eyes peeled for woodland birds like jays (Garrulus glandarius) and great spotted woodpeckers (Dendrocopos major) in the Natural Area. 

Wildlife at Kew

Green woodpecker
Green woodpecker, Phil Baum/Unsplash
Fox, Scott Walsh/Unsplash

Spot seasonal heroes 

It may be cold but the Gardens are still thriving with winter greenery. 

Take a stroll down Holly Walk near the Temperate House to see one of Europe's most comprehensive holly collections, planted in 1874. 

Head to the Pinetum to immerse yourself in a leafy wonderland. One of our Gardens’ hidden gems, it's tucked away within the Arboretum to the south of the Gardens.

Spanning 40 acres, it's home to a diverse collection of trees including towering redwoods and rare treasures such as our Japanese Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga japonica).

This is the perfect time of year to admire them, particularly when dusted with winter frost on a chilly day.

Several conifer trees within the Pinetum of Kew Gardens
The Pinetum in Kew Gardens, Ellen McHale © RBG Kew
Redwood grove
Redwood grove, Ellen McHale © RBG Kew

Look out for signs of spring

From green shoots to suede-like buds on tree branches, there are a lot of small indications that more colourful days are ahead. Bright camellia blossoms offer some vibrancy in winter, but nothing speaks of this season as much as the first sight of snowdrops.

Head to the Rock Gardens to see some of our snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis). Although they don't rely on pollinators to reproduce, you may spot bees and other insects visiting them on warmer days.

Nodding, white flowers of the common snowdrop
Common snowdrop flower, Andrew McRobb © RBG Kew
A couple enjoy Temperate House, Kew Gardens

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