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Kew Gardens - WHat is there to keep kids busy?

(17 Posts)
gillybean2 Wed 30-Jul-08 00:59:57

I've never been. My ds is 9.5 and not mad about plants and has not enjoyed visiting gardens with me in the past.

Firstly what is there to do there that is suitable for a 9 year old boy to keep him busy and happy.

Secondly is it worth the entrance fee as a day out.

Thirdly if we're lucky enough to have a sunny day will we die of heat from all the walking and being in the glass houses?

Lastly any recommendations on the best way to do it. Looked at their website and the map makes the place look huge. Seriously doubt we could get round the whole thing in 1 day. So what route would you recommend which will let me explore the gardens and keep my son happy too?


Flightputsonahat Wed 30-Jul-08 07:06:19

Gilly just seen this, sorry I haven't been for years, I always loved the serenity of it and mucking about near the river when I was little but I am not a boy wink

Glasshouses were intensely hot but bearable for a short while - go early if you want to see those. They don't take too long anyway.

Bumping for you anyway. Train (docklands?) is very near indeed which helps!

mamado Wed 30-Jul-08 07:12:51

not sure for a 9yr old boy but kew is dd1's favourite place! she's 4.5! They do a brilliant kids guide for about £4 and its probably the best £4 we have ever spent as she looks at it most days and knows lots about plants.

I'm sure even a boy who isn't into plants would enjoy seeing the carniverous plants, giant waterlilies, new treetop walk, climbers and creepers play area, etc

It is big but you can do lots in a day and it makes the entry price worthwhile. It is a seriously lovely place to go, I would highly recommend it smile

TwoWashTutter Wed 30-Jul-08 07:15:56

there is climbers and creepers - an indoor and outdoor activity thing, but 9yo is probably pushing it age-wise (it's aimed at slightly younger kids i'd say)

most people stay around the top (north) part of the gardens as that's where most of the glasshouses/cafes/activities are

it is quite expensive. we had annual passes as we lived in kew so am not 100% sure of prices, but think it's £10 per adult

if he really isn't interested in gardens you may want to reconsider though

btw it's the district line, not the docklands light railway

Cies Wed 30-Jul-08 07:22:07

I think it's more like 15 or 16 pounds per adult. I went a few months ago and was shock.

It is huge. I'd take a picnic then you can spend the whole day in there and see lots of different things.

MaryAnnSingleton Wed 30-Jul-08 07:27:19

Kew Gardens is one of my favourite places - ds loves it too -he's 11...I've lived most of my life a stone's throw from it ( but moved away 3 yrs ago) - I loved it as a child and went in very often to picnic,play etc. It costs I think £12 + for adults but everything else is free,apart from Kew Palace...lots of lovely glasshouses,esp Palm House, lake ands pond, pagoda and tree top walk which 9 yr old would love. It's just so big,calming and beautiful...aquarium in basement of Palm House and Princess of Wales conservatory has small aquarium and lots of different temperature zones. There are explorer buses/open sided things to do a tour in but as tutter says,stick to the top part (the bit that runs parallel to Kew Rd) - they have maps...nice shops,especially at White Peaks (nr main gate and Kew Palace) and good food outlets but expensive.

Flightputsonahat Wed 30-Jul-08 07:37:56

Thanks Tutts wink

I always get confused when an 'underground' goes up in the air!

gillybean2 Wed 30-Jul-08 10:09:01

Hi thanks for the feedback.

We are going up to London on a coach trip to the South Kensington museums.

Rather than be stuck inside I thought we'd go and do something else and have always wanted to visit Kew. I have worked out the tubes etc we need to get there.

Just wondering if our timetable will allow for a nice relaxing day. Arriving London around 11, then half an hour to get to Kew. So will have maybe 6 hours in all to spend there and get back to our coach.

Not so much worried about the peaceful aspect. Everywhere in London is noisy and busy compared to where we live, and we have plenty of opportunities for extremly peaceful quiet days in and around our village.

Just wanted to find out if there would be enough to keep my ds busy and happy and how hot it would be in reality. Sounds like we probably wouldn't get our money's worth on this trip though, or is 6 hours plenty of time?

witchandchips Wed 30-Jul-08 10:15:27

6 hours is plenty of time but think the major thing he would get out of it is the wide open spaces with lots of trees (so not that exciting for country boys). Richmond park (a bit further on) is free and has deer to spot or whatabout hamstead heath which has ponds and lidos to swim in if it gets really hot?

ComeOVeneer Wed 30-Jul-08 10:20:10

It is great fun for children mine love it. There is C+C but as others have said he may be a bit old. There is also the badgers set which they enjoy, and recently they have opened the tre top walk way. Food is expensive and not that goo so I would ake a picnic

gillybean2 Wed 30-Jul-08 12:37:48

Would be taking a picnic anyway as we're vegi and also poor and I'm not paying London prices for food and drinks on top of the coach and entry costs I'm afraid! I'd rather lug the lot around with me. Least the bag gets lighter as you go through the day!

Will have another look at the website when I get home. There seems to be educational sheets to follow and children's route and the badger's set and the C&C mentioned I'm sure he would love as he's not at all worried about things being too babyish, he just loves having fun things to do.

What about cooling off, they don't have a squirt park or fountain or sprinklers or anything like that there do they that the children (and I) can take advantage of?

redandgreen Wed 30-Jul-08 18:01:34

If I were you, might be better to do proper london things. Starting in south ken, would do this as a lovely day:

1) Science museum / nat history for an hour or so. Tis free, and both are massive so just pick a small part of one to 'do' properly.

2) wander up to hyde park via royal albert hall to see people queuing for proms.

3)hang out in the park - go boating on the serpentine, or even swimming in it! We did this a few times with dsc's and it's fairly 'different'. (There is a designated swimming area). Have your picnic, enjoy people watching, take a ball.

4) have a wander back via shops - either whole foods on high street ken or head to knightsbridge (harrods). Whole foods might sound weird, but both dss and dsd LOVE it! (12 and 10). Harrods is like a huge free theme park, absolutely tasteless, but good fun in the white goods bit! Hop on a bus for the short journey back if ds is knackered - I remember loving my mum taking me on london buses when I was that age.

Have a lovely day anyway!

MaryAnnSingleton Wed 30-Jul-08 18:12:23

we used to run through the sprinklers in Kew on hot days !

plantsitter Wed 30-Jul-08 18:18:50

They've got a treetop walk thing (big steel structure you climb up to look at tree level) at Kew at the mo which is pretty cool. Also they do walk leaflets like the bark walk so you have to find certain types of trees. I think Kew is ace but it is expensive and if you live in the country anyway I think a day like redandgreen suggests sounds like more fun.

bamboostalks Wed 30-Jul-08 18:29:40

I went last week and I have to say that I was a bit disappointed, its a lot of traipsing round for kids and the treetop walk was disappointing. Definitely too old for c and c and I think that that is looking very run down anyway. Unless he is really into nature, I thought it was overpriced and more suited to adults. rednadgreen's day sounds so much better.

gillybean2 Wed 30-Jul-08 22:19:22

Redandgreen's day would be fun, if we hadn't done that sort of 'proper london things' loads of times already. My last partner lived in London so we spent a great deal of time up there.

Our group is heading for the museums, but we've done them several times before so wanted to do something different. And last time we did the science museum in school hols it was dire so not looking forward to the crowds to be honest.

We frequently go boating so that's nothing new for us. We've been to Aquarium, London Eye, Tower of London etc more than once. Not done Harrods with him, but he wouldn't be interested in it I have to say. Shopping of any kind is not fun for us.

So want to do something slightly different, but want us both to enjoy it.

Sounds like it's not going to be worth the money from what people are saying here. But yes he does love nature and wildlife, just not plants/gardens especially.

MaryAnnSingleton Thu 31-Jul-08 07:39:17

I'd still vote for Kew ! but I am biased...ds loves it though...he loves nature though and we live in a country town- but the size of the gardens is impressive, the palm house looks amazing...we never tire of it. I would hate to go to Harrods or Oxford Street... how about London Transport Museum ? or British Museum if you've done the South Ken ones ? or even something ludicrously touristy like an open top bus ?

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