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London attractions: Visit the Palm House for some summer fun at Kew

Published: Wednesday 12th of June 2013

If you are looking for things to do in London this coming week, then why not take a trip down to Kew Gardens?

There is hardly anything more beautiful than taking a lovely, leisurely stroll through a beautiful garden on a warm, summer's day, and if you are a nature lover, then it can't get much better than Kew.

The attraction is currently hosting a festival called the IncrEdibles, which takes the visitor on a voyage through some of the world's most edible plants. 

Every year, Kew Gardens holds exciting activities during the summer, and this year is perhaps the most palatable of them all. 

This summer-long fun fest will include the Tutti Frutti boating experience, where visitors can hire boats and glide their way through the gardens en route to Pineapple Island. Pineapple Island is just that - a giant pineapple building in one of the gardens - the Palm House, which will allow guests to sail their way around the garden's pond.

Wesley Shaw, Palm House manager at Kew Gardens said that this summer, there will be plenty for guests to get their teeth into.

He said: "This year it is all about edible plants. We've got all sorts of things going on in the gardens to highlight the importance of edible plants. We have extra interpretation in the Palm House highlighting the plants we have here. There is a global garden which is being built further up in the north end of the garden to highlight all of the temperate plants you can grow that are edible. We also have a giant pineapple in the Palm House pond, where you can hire little boats and ride around."

Mr Shaw has worked as a gardener at Kew for over 11 years, and said that the sheer diversity of plants at Kew Gardens is unlike anything he'd ever seen in other parts of the city before. 

He added that both the plantlife and the friendly faces of those who work at Kew, make the attraction an ideal place for him to work.

"Kew is a special place, some great people work here and put in a good team effort. It has the most diverse plant collection in the UK and for a gardener like me, who is into plants, it is just the best place to work. It also contains  the rarest and most unusual plants that you are likely to come across."

The Palm House is one of Kew's most iconic gardens and is often featured on their publicity and marketing material.

It has also attracted a fair few celebrities over the years - as well as royalty. One of the most memorable moments, Mr Shaw said, was when the Queen came to visit on the 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew.

He added: "It is not just a typical garden really, so much goes on here, it always keeps things fresh and interesting. We've had Bradley Wiggins who did a photoshoot. We've also had Lily Cole come for a visit and Dido was here a few years ago. The last one we had was James Cracknell doing 'A Question of Sport' here."

Unsurprisingly, the Palm House is one of Mr Shaw's favourites, out of all the beautiful gardens in Kew, and has a very rich and varied history. It is the oldest of the glasshouses at Kew, built back in 1844.  It is also home to a selection of tropical plants which normally grow in the rainforest and the temperatures are kept high and humid to facilitate growth.

So if you are planning on visiting some London attractions this summer, Kew Gardens is certainly one to look out for.

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