Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens - also known as Kew Gardens - are truly expansive World Heritage listed gardens and stretch between Richmond upon Thames and Kew, within easy reach of Kew Gardens and Kew Bridge stations.
There is an entrance fee for the gardens, among whose 121ha are extensive conservatories, a library, the herbarium, the Palm House (the first large-scale structural use of wrought iron) and the Tropical House (the world’s largest surviving Victorian greenhouse).
Despite the less than favourable growing conditions created by the area’s atmospheric pollution, dry soils and low rainfall, Kew Gardens manage to remain one of the most comprehensive plant collections in Britain.
With one of the most important seedbanks, Kew Gardens are also important as a repository for seeds, and along with the Harvard University Herbaria and the Australian National Herbarium, they cooperate in the IPNI (International Plant Names Index) database to produce an authoritative source of information on the nomenclature of plants.