The best Christmas present ever reward goes to my sister. She bought me a red letter experience day to Kew Gardens which we used last week. Ever since Kew Gardens had their own 50p released, I’ve been desperate to go. Finally 12 years later, we made it.
Our day started at 4am which is a time I haven’t seen since leaving the farm. I now start work at 6am so it’s not too painful for me. I also love seeing the world in its early hours.
As soon as we got to London we had one thing on our mind. Coffee and pastries. I found an adorable little shop on trip advisor called Café de Nata, it had top reviews and looked delicious so we made a bee line straight there. We smelt it before we found it and not only did the food look beautiful it tasted it too! Writing this I’m actually feeling nostalgic… I definitely have to go back on my next trip to London.
After all the travelling I’ve done I’m still a very anxious traveller. I am terrified of missing a bus, flight, taxi etc. It’s not happened yet and hopefully never will. I can never truly relax until I’m where I need to be, usually at least an hour early. Something which I’d been particularly a xious about for this trip was the tube. When we got there, all my worries vanished, it was actually very simple to navigate our way around London and enjoyable. We travelled at non-peak times (which was half price woo hoo!) and got there 45 minutes earlier than we needed to, lovely!
We wandered into Kew Gardens in a daze. Everything was so colourful and neat, it was such a contrast from busy streets of London we just left behind the gates. We were also fortunate to have a warm day, it was quite over cast but it stayed dry which is more than you can ask for from a British Summer!
Our first stop was to the Princess of Wales Green House, which is home to the Titan Arum aka the Corpse Flower. We were so lucky to see it/smell it in bloom as it only blooms once every 2 – 3 years for 24 hours. When in bloom, the flower heats up and emits the stench of rotting flesh/vegetables. This is to attract bugs for pollination. I can honestly say it blooming stank!
Walking around the green houses was like walking through a rainforest. It was easy to forget about the bustling city just outside and even forget that you’re in England for a moment!
This sculpture is called The Hive. It is structured as a bee hive would be and inside plays the sounds bees make to communicate with one another. It’s a fascinating piece and really makes you think about how incredible bees really are.
Along with the Corpse Flower, my other favourite was the Waterlily House. The size of the pads were unreal, they were bigger than a dining table. The Waterlily House was built in 1852 specifically for these gorgeous plants, back then people would allow their babies and toddlers to sit on them. I’m not sure that would go down very well today with our health and safety regulations.
Kew Gardens was founded in 1759 and has remained a popular tourist attraction ever since. The grounds span over 300 acres which we covered in 26,000 steps (according to my step counter). We were there for six hours all together. Although Kew had some beautiful restaurants and cafes to offer, we brought our own picnic and enjoyed the gardens and people watching.
After a wonderful day strolling the gardens, it was time to call it a day. We gave ourselves an hour and a half to get back to Victoria coach station, which we planned to fill with a stop at a cafe. Lucky we did this as there was a huge delay with the tube. At first the announcement said 20 minutes which we waited, then 20 minutes again, then shortly after that announcement half an hour. So I had a good look at the map and used three other lines to get to Victoria. When we got there we had to power walk to the coach station and made it with five minutes to spare. Always, always, always give yourself extra time it does pay off!