To Kew or Not to Kew: A Comparison of Two Days in London

London Eye from Westmminster Pier, London

London Eye from Westmminster Pier, London


The weather was beautiful in London, and we took a boat from Westminster Pier to Kew Gardens. It’s a leisurely, 90-minute trip upstream, with a guided talk by an amusing British human being (vs. a taped recitation of historical facts).

Two return (round-trip) tickets cost 22 pounds, including a one-third discount because we had a daily travelpass for the London Underground.

Neither Clive nor I likes to garden, but we enjoy visiting and admiring gardens when we travel. I’d been to Kew Gardens on my first trip to Europe (via train from London, not as much fun as the boat trip), and remembered them as worthy of a visit, especially in Spring.

Tulips at Kew Gardens, London

Tulips at Kew Gardens, London

Kew Gardens: Get Your Wallet Out

We should have checked prices ahead of time, but didn’t. It came as a shock to discover the fee to walk through the entry gate is 13 pounds per person. I had to ask for a second map, which was handed over with no sign of a smile. They may want to save paper, but we thought it was stingy, for 26 pounds, to provide only one map without offering a second one.

Once inside the gate, if you want to visit Kew Palace, it’s another 5 pounds per person. We were disgusted at the entry fee and decided to spend as little additional money as possible inside the garden. The casual cafe offered jacket potatoes with filling at 4.50 each, more than double what we paid two evenings earlier on Oxford Street.

The gardens were green and pleasant enough for walking. My favourite part was the Minka House, a traditional Japanese structure set in a bamboo garden. Clive enjoyed the treetop walk. But having had two weeks in Paris and a couple days in London, walking for miles in the beautiful parks and gardens of both cities, all for free, we felt we spent too much for too little at Kew Gardens. An entry fee of 6 or 8 pounds, maybe, or even ten at the high end, would have been OK. Thirteen each was just too high.

Bluebells and Lilac Bushes, Kew Gardens, London

Bluebells and Lilac Bushes, Kew Gardens, London

To Kew or Not to Kew: A Comparison of Two Days in London
(all numbers in British pounds, for two people)
                                                 Kew    No Kew
Boat Ride on the Thames          22.     22.

Walking in the Gardens
Kew                                             26.
Kensington & Hyde Park                    Free

Jacket Potatoes & Filling
Kew                                              9.
SpudULike, Oxford St.                       3.98

Additional Culture
Kew Palace                               10.
Tate Gallery                                       Free

Grand Total
Kew Gardens:   67.00
London:             25.98

Stilton Burgers Rule

Again we ended our day with a Stilton burger in central London. We now have a loyalty card at Fine Burger Company and next time one of our burgers will be free.

Now, that’s good value.

Big Ben from Westminster Pier, London

Big Ben from Westminster Pier, London

6 Responses

  1. What a RIP OFF…That is disgusting, and like you say stingy too!! Give me Paris anyday…

    Look at the price of the boat trip..oh my word, lot lot less to go on the Seine boat trip..:-)

  2. Tourist trap!!!!

  3. I find all of London very expensive, at least compared to France. I’ve never made it to the Kew Gardens. At those prices I probably never will.

  4. Your photos of the gardens are beautiful, but I would have to go with “Not to Kew” – no question.

  5. Hmmmm. I guess it would depend on how ‘richly planted’ one found the gardens . . .or if there was a Dale Chihuly exhibit on! But certainly for your purposes (and I imagine for mine), it would seem to be “no Kew” for me!

  6. Thanks all. Anne, definitely a rip-off and Paris better value. Nadege, yes too re tourist trap, though there were also a lot of mums with strollers there, whom we thought were probably locals with annual passes. Linda, London’s expensive compared to Sydney too.

    Susan, thanks for your visit and kind comment. It’s really a shame the gardens are so high-priced.

    Kim, very interesting re Dale Chihuly – I had to look him up and found he had a glass/art exhibition at Kew in 2005. Sounds like you were there and it was good!

    Cheers all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: