I had a mixture of sunny and not-so-sunny days at Kew Gardens, but never a bad day. A visit to London is not complete without at least half a day at Kew. This picture is from a day in February 2012.
This is the smallest of the Royal Historic Palaces, and is open to visitors. You first need to get in to Kew Gardens (there is a fee) and then pay the admission fee to the palace itself. I haven’t been in since the recent restoration, which was completed in 2006. When I was there some years earlier, my impression was similar to visiting Jane Austen’s house and the Brontes’ home: the rooms are small, not opulent, but cosy. To be fair to Kew Palace, it was nearly empty when I saw it, not furnished and decorated as it would have been for a family, let alone a royal family. I felt a little closer to the ghosts, though, being alone in that house.
In May 2012 the Georgian kitchens next door will also be open after extensive restoration. They’ve been restored to be as they were when King George III lived at Kew. Definitely on my list of things to see next time.
In the picture you can see part of the Queen’s Garden. This is a formal garden laid out in the French style of parterre, with the geometric shapes well-defined by paths and precisely trimmed hedges. In summer it takes on a much livelier look, but here you get an idea of the formality.