In my latest adventure I headed out to Kew Gardens! I met some of my fellow Museum Studies students there and we were off.
Most of my flatmates have actually moved in and I’ve been getting to know them a bit. One of them is actually a fellow Museum Studies student who’s Canadian- what are the odds? (Don’t answer that as I don’t really care). Fun stuff!
School gets going next week so I’m still in limbo. Mostly, I’m tying up loose ends, gearing up for school and relaxing. I’ve got a feeling that this may be the most amount of downtime I’ll be getting for about a year. Woo-hoo!
Kew Gardens was so lovely! I really adore gardens but I’m a bit of a black thumb. Most of my own plants do not survive my winning combination of intense adoration and then total abandonment. Not sure why really…
We managed to visit on a lovely sunny day. It was really stunning. They’ve got a special exhibit on about Spices- A Taste of Adventure. We managed to find Saffron plants aka crocuses! They were scattered around the grounds. Boy were they beautiful. The orange bit is where the saffron is on the stamens!
In one of the many ‘ruined’ temples (thank you the romantic movement) there was an altar set up with info about Saffron. The altar was done as if it was in India, where most saffron is produced/ harvested. There were really high quality photos on easels and lovely banners outside. All in all, a lovely little exhibit that ran throughout.
There were a lot of places to see including a ‘Pagoda.’ More like a British orientalist interpretation of a pagoda. It was made of brick rather than wood. And my photos makes it look like it leans- it does not.
There was a treetop walk that was really lovely. Long tree lined stretches of lawn. Ponds, swans and gangs (yes, I now the correct term is gaggle) of geese. I really loved the Palm House greenhouse. It was beautiful, hot, and humid inside.
The Water Lily greenhouse was also super stunning!
I wanted to jump right on those Lily pads! Knowing full well I am not Thumbelina and thus would tumble and flail enough to get me on America’s funniest home videos. Or would it be England’s?
Here we have the Royal Palace at Kew. This house was sort of a catch-all for the royals. It was where George III was tutored and where he was kept when he went mad (all three times). His wife Charlotte died here. Queen Victoria’s parents were married here. George the third’s parents stayed here but mostly in the White house that used to be across from it. That was torn down in 1801 a costumed (!) guide told us.
It was pretty snazzy. They do a lot of restoration work. Which is still ongoing- you can spot the scaffolding in the first photo! It’s set up as it was in 1804 when Queen Charlotte lived there to be close to George in his mad state. She lived there with three of her 15 children!
Some rooms have the plaster removed to reveal where the servants entrances were and the construction techniques. There was a research room with computers, videos and info book to flip through which I thought was very clever.
The Royal Kitchens
The kitchens were set apart from the House and actually were much closer to the White house than the one that still stands. The kitchens employed 24 workers and a kitchen clerk who created the menus with the head chef, organized wages, ordered food etc. It was pretty cool. Out front is a kitchen garden though at the time it would have been located elsewhere.
Pros: Great gardens, royal residence, cafe and gift shop. A fun exhibition that encouraged visitors to explore the grounds. It’s really just stunningly beautiful. Easy access via the tube- the local station is named after it!
Cons: The gardens are not free but the royal residence and kitchens had highly encouraged donations. It seemed rather odd to me and may reflect internal disjointed funding schemes. The price of the entry ticket should also go the the upkeep of the historic buildings as well. After having gone to so many free museums here it felt odd. It’s also massive so bring your walking shoes! Or at least ones that can handle a bit of mud.
We got there at about 11am and stayed till 3pm and still did not see it all!
After the Gardens me and my fellow Museum nerds went for Tea at a cute cafe and I got PIE! Like not savoury pie but honest to God, North American style pie! It was lemon meringue and it was beautiful.