Kew Gardens encompasses over 300 acres and 50,000 plant species. The gardens were created in the 18th century and over the years have collected plants internationally. They are a resource for scholars and a means of conservation.
They are also beautiful.
Kew Palace was open to tour when we were there. It was used as a retreat by King George III and Queen Charlotte during his periods of "madness."
The royal kitchens were also open to tour. I like touring homes and palaces, they are usually beautiful and impressive. However, my favorite part is usually the kitchens. They make the house come alive. The ornate rooms are sometimes hard to actually picture anyone living in but I can always picture the kitchens in use. There was a very nice woman working in the the kitchen building who walked around with us and gave us a mini tour since we were the only ones in the building at the time. A few other people came in as we were leaving.
The table in the second picture is three hundred years old and the little patch of blue you can see on the near leg is some of the original paint. The knife marks from the kitchen staff chopping food are clearly visible. That is the type of thing that fascinates me. It is history coming alive.
This little guy was just wandering through the gardens. He didn't seem bothered at all by the people who were following him around photographing him. He walked right up to some people sitting on a bench, I think in hopes of finding some food. He finally trotted off, looking convinced that he owned the gardens and the rest of us were interlopers.
Kew Gardens was the perfect day out. It was beautiful, peaceful, and a bit of a respite from the London crowds. Plus, it has cafes, in one of which I had a very nice piece of coffee-walnut cake. What more can you ask for out of a day?