This weekend I visited Kew Gardens in south west London. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are a series of gardens and botanical glasshouses between Richmond and Kew in Richmond upon Thames.
It’s a botanical research and education institution with 700 staff as well as a visitor attraction receiving almost two million visits a year. The living collections include more than 30,000 different kinds of plants. The Kew site includes four Grade I listed buildings and 36 Grade II listed structures.
The Palm House has a frame of wrought iron arches, held together by horizontal tubular structures containing long prestressed cables. The 19m high central nave is surrounded by a walkway at 9m height, allowing visitors a closer look upon the palm tree crowns. It’s a stunning building (dating from the 1840s), which I could spend as long looking at the outside as I could the inside. I can say that about many buildings, but this one is special. The nearby lake is also lovely.
Kew Palace is the smallest of the British royal palaces. It was built in around 1631 and was later purchased by George III. To the rear of the building is a collection of plants believed to have medicinal qualities.
Another iconic Kew building is the Great Pagoda. The pagoda was built in 1762. From the base to the highest point is 163 feet (50 m). The staircase, 253 steps, is in the centre of the building. The Pagoda was closed to the public for many years, but was reopened for the summer months of 2006.
A part of Kew I loved and hated was the Treetop Walkway. It is great to be so high and to see a new view of the gardens. What wasn’t so great was the guy in front of me talking about the scene in an Indiana Jones film where a rope bridge gets get before pushing his friend and rocking the walkway. I’m afraid he ended up with a “HWanker!” as I passed him…
The Sackler Crossing is a bridge made of granite and bronze, which opened in May 2006. The bridge is designed as a sweeping double curve and the sides are formed of bronze posts. It is part of a path designed to encourage visitors to visit more of the gardens and connect the two art galleries to the Minka House and bamboo garden.
The Orangery, which looked like it was about to host a music event (we did spot Jarvis Cocker in the Gardens), was completed in 1761. It is currently used as a restaurant.
The other thing of note on our visit was the birdlife, obviously the peacocks but also the geese, some of which didn’t hiss and try to attack!
Now I must admit I enjoyed using the RX1 in combination with the D800E. I kept the Zeiss 21mm on the D800E the whole time so I was switching between 21mm and 35mm regularly. It worked really well and I was very happy with both cameras and the results.
Taken with my Sony RX1, Nikon D800E and Zeiss 21mm
Great stuff Si -so clear