Kewing for the palms

The great thing about Kew Gardens is the way that even on the first sunny Saturday in months, it never seems crowded.

Of course, the great pieces of architecture – the Palm House and the Temperate House victorian glasshouses – attract crowds, and deservedly so. But scattered gems like the new Alpine house, a small but breathtaking 10m arc of glass, are less so. And the grounds contain multitudes, built and repurposed over 200 years: an ancient Ice Cellar, a couple of galleries, the brilliant Orangery. In six years of several visits a year, there are still plenty of things I haven’t seen. And new bits – like the temporary Mediterreanean Garden this summer, or the boxy modernist botanical illustrations gallery opening next year – are being created all the time. There’s always something new at Kew, whenever you visit.

I feel pangs at leaving this place, which is good: it means I’m staying in touch with my London.

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