Meandering the Gardens at Kew

Published: 11/4/15 1:00 PM in Europe, Grand Trees, Merevin Wedding, Travel.
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It might be obvious by now, but Kevin and I really like nature. And as two people with master degrees in Landscape Architecture, this passion seems appropriate and even expected. So it should come as no surprise that we were very excited to have the chance to visit the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew during our honeymoon in England.

Getting to Kew from central London is as easy as any other morning ride on the underground ultimately made easier by the fact that you are heading out of the city center while most residents are heading into the city for work. This makes visiting Kew Gardens extremely easy for any visitors to make a part of their trip to London. Spending a day at Kew Gardens also breaks up the hustle and bustle of traveling through the city of London. It is a day spent outside and with significantly less tourists as many of them do not venture this way.

When visiting just make sure you get an early start to your day. The grounds of the gardens are extremely expansive and you will want to have time to explore at a relaxed pace. There is also so much to see and do at Kew besides taking in the flora. From climbing up the 253 steps of the Great Pagoda to taking in the glass and iron design of the Palm House, there are a number of structures scattered throughout the grounds that hold significant historical importance.

Symbols of the English monarchy stand post in front of the iconic Palm House in the Gardens at Kew.

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is home to many monumental trees that tower over the visitors to the gardens.

Looking down the Cedar Vista toward the Thames River at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

Kevin Banogon poses in front of The Great Pagoda within the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew during his honeymoon to England.

The Great Pagoda towers over the grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

Meredith Lambert Banogon stands in front of the National Champion Chestnut Oak planted in the Gardens at Kew.

A picturesque photo of a vista existing in a traditional English Garden.


There is Nothing Quite Like an English Garden

Throughout the history of great kingdoms and the palaces that housed them, there has been a significant importance put on the land you owned as well as palace you built. The evidence of the importance of gardens and courtyards can be seen through many cultures throughout history. The outdoor space was treated with the same level of care and precision as the construction of the structure itself.

In France, it was all about controlling the flora to create rigid lines and forced symmetry. The onlooker would get a sense of the beauty and the ultimate power of the monarch just by walking through the gardens of their palaces. In England, the landscape was no less controlled, but the staging was more subtle. The goal was to create a picturesque scene that presented an idealized view of nature inspired by the landscape paintings of Claude Lorraine and Nicolas Poussin.

Since the Kew Gardens is also the location of a royal palace, the grounds are a royal garden that has been improved upon throughout history. Many architects and landscape architects have added to the overall construct of the Gardens at Kew, but one name comes to mind over many others when considering the landscape; Capability Brown. Known as ‘England’s Great Gardener’, Brown designed over 170 parks throughout England and his work/influence is very much alive in the gentle slopes and grand vistas of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.


A detail shot of a white cherry blossom in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

Kevin Banogon stands among the massive branches of the Lucombe Oak in the Gardens at Kew.

A full shot of the Lucombe Oak in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, one of the many monumental trees within the grounds.

Kevin Banogon and Meredith Lambert Banogon pose underneath the Lucombe Oak, a champion tree in the Gardens at Kew.


The Champion Trees of the Gardens at Kew

Another reason to take your time exploring the Gardens at Kew, if you needed another, is the fact that it is home to a number of England’s Champion Trees. Champion Trees are specimens that have acquired an impressive size, history, or age and are now considered a particular gem to be protected and cared for. Although all trees contain a certain beauty and majesty, it is when a tree possess a significant size, history, or age that makes even the most nonchalant viewer step back, take notice, and give the respect that is due.

Throughout our trips together, Kevin and I enjoy visiting these awe-inspiring grand trees and taking in the beauty of their existence. So during our visit to the Gardens at Kew, we stopped to revel in the beauty of the Champion Trees there. The following are a few of the trees we spent more time with and photographed. Hover over the images throughout the post to see what pictures are which trees.

The National Champion Chestnut Oak: Planted in 1846 on the Seven Sisters Lawn, this is considered the most remarkable at Kew and is the biggest of any sort.

The Lucombe Oak: Planted in 1762, this tree is over 250 years old. It was planted just a nine years after the first year of the gardens. True Lucombe oaks are clones of the original hybrids and tend to be ornamental plantings only.

A 300-year-old Sweet Chestnut: This tree was planted in about 1695 before the gardens were set up. It is thought to be the oldest resident at Kew.

The Dawn Redwood: The Gardens at Kew contain a grove of giant redwoods. The largest of them is the Dawn Redwood, standing at around 25 meters tall at only 66 years old (planted in 1949).


Meredith Lambert Banogon sits calmly at a table from Alice in Wonderland set up at the Gardens at Kew.

Kevin Banogon and Meredith Lambert Banogon laugh with delight at the Alice in Wonderland table at the Gardens at Kew.

A beautiful Golden Pheasant within the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

This 300 year old Sweet Chestnut is the oldest tree at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

Meredith Lambert Banogon stands in front of the oldest tree in the Gardens at Kew, a 300 year old Sweet Chestnut.


Our Kew Gardens Experience

The day Kevin and I spent meandering through the Gardens at Kew was one of my favorites of our honeymoon. While others may have been more adventurous and filled with wild beauty, the entire day, even before and after our visit to Kew, was a relaxing one in England.

It started out with a morning ride on the underground to get out to Kew, a suburban district of London. Upon arriving, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and walked from the train station to the nearest entrance of the gardens. From that point on we meandered the grounds and took our time soaking up the beauty Capability Brown created.

It was a beautiful day to spend outside surrounded by monumental trees and the impressive iconic structures of Kew. However, as always, it was hard to see it all in one day. We tried not to rush as we walked, but we also had a lot of ground to cover so moving swiftly was necessary at times.

As the park prepared to close for the day, we exited and headed back to the train station. On the way, we stopped to pick up some groceries to cook dinner that night in our AirBnB and rest our weary legs. As we got off the train at the Chelsea stop and took the short cut through the neighborhood park where they were setting up for a children’s fair, I realized how comfortable we had become in London and how sad I was to be leaving so soon.


A picture looking up at the impressive height of Redwood trees at the Kew Gardens, a top stop during any trip to London England.

Kevin Banogon stands in the center of the circumference of a redwood tree while visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in London, England.

The front of the Palm House at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew taken at sunset.

Meredith Lambert Banogon and Kevin Banogon take a photo in front of the Palm House of the Gardens at Kew a beautiful attraction during a honeymoon in England.


Enjoy a Short Video of Our Honeymoon in England


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