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how much time should we allow for Kew Gardens?

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Jan 27th, 2008, 12:08 PM
  #1
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how much time should we allow for Kew Gardens?

We'll be there in March. Any ideas as to an average amount of time to explore around, shop and perhaps have tea or lunch there? Thanks Missy
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Jan 27th, 2008, 12:11 PM
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We spent about three hours there, which was just about right. That was in May, though...might have been a bit more to see then.
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Jan 27th, 2008, 12:15 PM
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We went by boat on a Sunday, had lunch at the Rose & Crown pub, spent about three hours looking around (it was September), and went to have tea at the Maids of Honour across the street, only to find it is closed on Sundays. We had had tea there once before and just loved it; so if tea is in your plans, I highly recommend it.

We returned to London by tube.
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Jan 27th, 2008, 12:30 PM
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Most likely you won't be wanting to take the boat in March.

How long you want to spend at Kew depends a LOT on the weather. There are the amazing glass houses plus any of these may/may not be in bloom -- massive carpets of crocuses, camellias, spring flowers, daffodils, forsythia, cherry blossom, and bluebells

It is a large garden and it partly depends on how much "in" to gardens you are. You could spend a couple of hours or an entire day. But when transport and a meal are factored in - plan on about 1/2 a day.
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Jan 27th, 2008, 01:14 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I'm thinking a half day should do it. Since it'll be in March, I'm thinking we'll tube it there and back. Hmmmm then again, IF we go to Grenwich we'll likely take the boat. What are the details about taking the boat??? Where do I find info on cost? How long does it take, etc? Any warmer indoor spots on the boat? Thanks for the pub and tea recommendation, too! Missy
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Jan 27th, 2008, 01:18 PM
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There are MANY different river boat options including river taxis. If you just want to take a boat somewhere - plan on something like Westminster to the Tower or some other short trip. Then IF you get a nice day, you can always do one direction of your Greenwich trip by boat


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Jan 27th, 2008, 01:34 PM
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Boats to Kew resume before Easter which is in March this year.
www.thamesriverboats.co.uk
Kew is upriver from London, in the opposite direction to Greenwich. The boat journey from Westminster to Kew can take from one hour to nearly two hours, depending on the tide.
Boats to Greenwich run all year.
www.royalriverthames.co.uk
www.citycruises.com
There is also a service by fast catamaran.
www.thamesclippers.com
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Jan 27th, 2008, 01:46 PM
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By not wanting to go take a boat to Kew in March - I meant I personally would not relish a 2 hour trip on the water on a cold, blustery, rainy day.

In any case - I would take the tube TO Kew and a boat back IF the weather cooperated.
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Jan 28th, 2008, 06:35 AM
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I've used the boats a lot. I wouldn't be that keen on going as far as Kew; the boats do have enclosed cabins and refreshments on board, but it is a long trip. A compromise might be a boat back from Kew to Putney (after which the view starts to look a bit dull) and then take the tube from Putney Bridge. You can keep an eye on what's likely to be worth seeing at any point at
http://www.kew.org/visitor/visitkew.html


For Greenwich, the trip is shorter and there is more to see. The Thames Clipper boats are predominantly enclosed (and fast). You could go one way on the boat and the other on the Docklands Light Railway, which shows you a whole other side of London.
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Jan 28th, 2008, 07:15 AM
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The boats from Westminster to Kew stopped calling at Putney several years ago.
The journey between Westminster and Kew is very dependent on the tides: on an ideal tide, I have done it in 50 minutes, but it can take twice as long if the tide is against you and there are lots of scullers in the river which mean the passenger boats have to slow down.
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Jan 28th, 2008, 07:59 AM
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Here's a dissident view on time management AT Kew.

Kew is a pretty humdrum piece of landscaping - and scarcely worth the visit for garden design. At certain times of the year, it's a good place to see plants you might not see at home (not having been there for a month or two, I'd assume the snowdrops and early crocuses must be pretty thick on its ground: worth a trip for some, but so commonplace for many Britons it's simply not worth going right now, which is why there's a big Henry Moore show on there to stimulate visitors).

But it's possibly THE most important plant museum in the world, and has had more impact on the world's economy than any musuem of any kind - and unlike conventional museums or art galleries, your head doesn't feel it's about to explode after a couple of hours. The (more or less separate) Kew Palace is a whole nuther thing.

But there really isn't (apart from the Temperate House) a "must see" at Kew. If you're interested in plants, conservation or the history of agriculture, you really can spend a day there: if you're looking for ideas for the garden, the place is a waste of time, and you'd do better in the garden of a private-sector stately home or one of London's free parks.

Kew is - with Stonehenge and the White Cliffs - one of the British sites that gets the most frequently lukewarm views on these pages' trip reports. I think that's because many people expect it to be something it's not - and spending time in advance on Kew's (and Kew Palace's) websites deciding what you want to do is probably more important than for anywhere else in Europe.
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Jan 28th, 2008, 09:16 AM
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Kew is huge and walking around the site takes quite a bit of time. I'd second the 3 hour estimate: more if you're a garden affectionado; less if not. Kew Palace is small, but worth a short visit now that it has been re-done.

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Feb 15th, 2008, 03:52 AM
  #13
 
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See if you can catch PBS' A Year at Kew.
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