Visit London Blog » kew gardens http://blog.visitlondon.com Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Top 5 Summer Festivals in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/top-5-summer-festivals-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/top-5-summer-festivals-in-london/#comments Mon, 28 Apr 2014 12:32:50 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38517 Summer festivals in London

This season is set to be a summer of fun with these scorching hot festivals. Whether you’re after serious rock in Hyde Park or prefer picnicking at Kew Gardens with Elvis Costello, throwing it about during the dance-off at LoveBox, krooning with Kanye, or dining with the stars of MasterChef at Taste of London, there’s a festival for you this summer in London.  

Lovebox
WHEN: 18-19 July, Victoria Park
WHAT: One of London’s favourite festivals, Lovebox returns to Victoria Park this summer with a fantastic selection of live music, top DJs and fun activities. Headliners M.I.A., Nas, Chase and Status and A$AP Rocky set the tone for gritty, cutting-edge rap and electro.  Catch some hot moves from Breakin’ Convention, Continental Drift’s Circus Re-mix and East London Dance. Get in with a range of experiences on offer:  sparkly makeovers at The Parlour or Miss Lippy Beauty, yoga classes and the legendary Dance-Off.
THE VIBE: Let the good times roll.

Taste of London

Taste of London
WHEN: 19-22 June, Regent’s Park
WHAT: The annual Taste of London festival is a foodie haven with four days of fabulous summer eating, drinking and more. As well as sampling the dishes and meeting the chefs from your favourite London restaurants including Michel Roux Jr and Monica Galleti from MasterChef, avant garde cupcake queen Lili Vanilli and Tom Kerridge from the Hand & Flowers, the festival serves up cooking demos, wine tastings, and innovative cookery how-tos such as sushi making and Champagne appreciation.
THE VIBE: Very tasty indeed.

Black Sabbath

Barclaycard British Summer Time
WHEN: 4-13 July, Hyde Park
WHAT: British Summer Time takes over Hyde Park in Central London for a big week of R.O.C.K. with something for everyone, depending on your taste. Catch metal gods Black Sabbath with Soundgarden and Faith No More on 4 July; The Libertines with the Pogues on 5 July; Neil Young and Crazy Horse on 12 July; and king of crooners Tom Jones with Boyzone and Little Mix on the 13th. Festival faves McBusted also take to the stage this year with the Backstreet Boys on 6 July.
THE VIBE: It’s all about the music.

Wireless Festival. Picture by Andrew Whitton

Wireless
WHEN: 4-6 July, Finsbury Park
WHAT: This year, the popular Wireless Festival has a new home. Taking up residence in North London’s Finsbury Park, Wireless promises a cool lineup including Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Drake, Rudimental, Bruno Mars and Outkast. With excellent transport links from Finsbury Park station and gates open from midday, Wireless promises three days of smooth tunes for your aural pleasure.
THE VIBE: Kool Kanye comes to North London.

Kew the Music

Kew The Music
WHEN: 16-20 July, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
WHAT: Kew the Music offers up a summer bonanza of music and performance against the beautiful backdrop of Kew Gardens. This year you can catch a coveted solo performance from Elvis Costello, enjoy feel-good favourites Bjorn Again, crowd pleaser Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, 80s megastars Simple Minds and the musical comic stylings of Bill Bailey.
THE VIBE: Laid-back listening in stunning surrounds.

What’s your pick of this summer’s festivals in London? Let us know in the comments below.

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Top 5 Easter Egg Hunts in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/top-5-easter-egg-hunts-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/top-5-easter-egg-hunts-in-london/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:13:00 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38426 There’s a cracking choice of Easter egg hunts taking place in London this weekend. Here’s our pick of the best:

Easter egg hunt at Kew Gardens
When: 20 Apr 9.30am-1pm
Kids can collect tokens from around the postcard-perfect gardens before receiving a yummy Easter egg from a giant Easter bunny. The egg hunt is one of many Willy Wonka-themed activities to celebrate 50 years of Roald Dahl’s much-loved classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. You can also make your own Willy Wonka chocolate bar and devise new recipes with the Oompa Loompas in the Inventing Room.
Cost: Children under 16 go free when accompaied by an adult. Adult tickets are £14.50.

Kew Gardens

Kensington Palace Easter Egg Hunt
When: 18-21 Apr
Children aged seven to 11 can follow a trail through the beautiful palace gardens and crack a secret code before guzzling the chocolate prize. Other activities include Easter bonnet-making, live performance and storytelling.
Cost: Children under 16 go free when accompanied by an adult. Adult tickets are £16.50.

 Bunnies on the Run at the London Eye

Bunnies on the Run at the London Eye
When: From now until 21 Apr
Help Edwin the bunny find his stolen Easter eggs aboard the London Eye. Suitable for kids aged four to nine years, the eggs-travaganza includes priority boarding and an activity pack including a magnifying glass and badge.
Cost: £24.21 per person

 Alternative Easter Egg Hunt at the Design Museum

The Alternative Easter Egg Hunt at Design Museum
When: 18-21 Apr 11am-4pm
Under fives can go on a bunny hunting trail through the Hello, My Name is Paul Smith exhibition, while over fives can crack clues. Hunters will be rewarded with a Rococo chocolatey treat at the end of their egg-cellent mission.
Cost: £1

 Kensington Roof Gardens

Easter Egg Hunt at Kensington Roof Gardens
When: 20-21 Apr 10-12pm
While kids go on the hunt for chocolate eggs in the Spanish garden under the watchful eye of the Easter Bunny, parents can relax with eggs-tra special chocolate-flavoured cocktails in the bar which boasts eye-popping views of London’s skyline. Finish the morning by enjoying Babylon’s traditional roast lunch.
Cost: The lunch menu is £27 for two courses, while children eat for £6 for two courses.

 More Easter events

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Spring in London: Lambs, Daffodils and the Great Outdoors! http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/spring-in-london-lambs-daffodils-and-the-great-outdoors/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/spring-in-london-lambs-daffodils-and-the-great-outdoors/#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 08:58:44 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38264 Newborn lamb at Woodlands Farm

Spring has sprung! Celebrate the change in season by enjoying some traditional (and not-so traditional) spring festivities in London.

Newborn lambs at Woodlands Farm

There’s nothing cuter than a lamb at springtime, and at Woodlands Farm in south-east London you can see some very newborn lambs – the eldest were born on 20 March! Make a day of it and explore the rest of the 89-acre working farm while you’re there, including its native bird species, butterflies, amphibians, wild flowers and ancient woodland.

Spring spectacular at Kew Gardens

Every day until 30 April, Kew’s volunteer guides are leading walks around the Botanical Gardens to take in the colourful spring bulbs, blossom and lesser-known species. The hour-long Spring Spectacular tours start at 12pm and are run on a first come, first serve basis – with a maximum of 15 people on each.
Cost: Free with your ticket into Kew Gardens (£14.50 for adults, free for children under 16 accompanied by an adult). Book your ticket now

Wild daffodils at Lesnes Abbey Woods. © Natural England

Native wild daffodils at Lesnes Abbey Wood

Lesnes Abbey Wood in Bexley is the only site in London where you’ll find wild daffodils growing naturally – as opposed to the cultivated variety we’re used to seeing. A real hidden gem of southeast London, the woods sit alongside ruins of a 12th century abbey and a fossil bed – where you can actually dig for fossils. They’ve already found specimens from 54.5 million years ago, seashells and sharks’ teeth, so who knows what you’ll find!
Cost: Free

Green Gym

As well as lambs, daffodils and sunshine, spring brings a sense of rising panic – as people rush to get into shape before summer! Forget faddy diets or expensive bootcamps, with Green Gyms you can get fit for free, enjoy the great outdoors and do good – all at the same time. Visit The Conservation Volunteers website to find your nearest ‘workout’.
Cost: Free

Keats House. Image courtesy of Keats House

Keats House Poets Present…

Seeking inspiration from nature, the changing season and ideas of rebirth and regeneration, poets Deanna Rodger and Kaamil Ahmed lead a creative writing workshop, Keats House Poets Present… – in none other than Keats House, once home to the famous Romantic poet himself.
Cost: Free with entry to Keats House (£5.50 for over 17s, free for under 17s, with tickets valid for a whole year). Book your workshop space in advance through Eventbrite.

The Rite of Spring at Sadler’s Wells

This spring, Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre are back at Sadler’s Wells with their dark, shocking interpretation of Stravinsky’s masterpiece The Rite of Spring, told through the imagery of a pagan fertility rite. The other half of the double-bill performance is, by contrast, a bright production of Petrushka, drawing on folk dances. The cast includes 13 international dancers, accompanied by a 65-piece orchestra from the Royal Ballet Sinfonia. Probably not one for the kids, but a healthy reminder of the darker side of spring and nature.
Cost: From £12

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Spotlight On: Richmond upon Thames http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/spotlight-on-richmond-upon-thames/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/spotlight-on-richmond-upon-thames/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:00:17 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38059 An iconic river view of Richmond upon Thames

One of London’s most attractive boroughs, picture-pretty Richmond upon Thames has for hundreds of years been a favourite retreat for royalty, the rich and famous. Sited 15 miles southwest of Central London, the borough can be reached in 15 minutes via a fast train from London Waterloo.

The River Thames runs through the heart of the borough for 21 miles linking Hampton Court Palace, Richmond town centre and Kew Gardens with central London. With beautiful Royal Parks and historic houses, theatres, museums and galleries rich with exhibits, and town centres bursting with shops and restaurants, there’s loads to do in this picturesque borough. Here, the borough’s tourist board Visit Richmond have suggested five of the area’s unmissable attractions:

Richmond Park deer

Richmond Park
With 2,500 acres of hills, woodlands, gardens and grassland, Richmond Park is London’s largest Royal Park. Home to herds of red and fallow deer, the gated park is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and Nature Reserve. Adventurers can enjoy a host of activities, such as horse riding and cycling. The park also houses the magnificent Isabella Plantation and the gardens at Pembroke Lodge.

Treetop walkway, Kew Gardens

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Delve into a rainforest, stroll a soaring walkway amidst the tree canopy and explore world-class gardens. Kew Gardens contains the finest plant collection in the world and offers a unique day out. There is also a fantastic year-round programme of festivals which includes workshops and family activities.

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace
Henry VIII’s favourite royal residence is famous for its maze and plush State Rooms. New for 2014 is the royal Chocolate Kitchen, open to visitors for the first time in 300 years. The 18th century Chocolate Kitchen was once used by Thomas Tosier, personal chocolatier to King George I.

Ham House

Ham House and Gardens
Built in 1610, Ham House is a beautiful and atmospheric Stuart house beside the Thames that’s full of paintings, furniture and textiles that were acquired 400 years ago. Its 17th-century garden is a perfect picnic spot.

Richmond's riverside

River Thames
A total of 21 miles of the River Thames run through Richmond; it is also the only riparian borough to be both north and south of the River Thames. Richmond boasts one of the most beautiful stretches of the riverside in London, together with the historic Richmond Bridge, which is an English Heritage Grade 1 listed structure (as it is the oldest bridge that still spans the River Thames).

The river has a special magic in Richmond upon Thames, offering an opportunity to spend tranquil hours exploring its banks on foot or by bike, which can be hired from one of the boathouses near Richmond Bridge.

This blog post was provided by Visit Richmond, which offers information VisitRichmond_Logoof what there is to see, do, explore and experience in Richmond upon Thames. Follow Visit Richmond on Twitter @Visit_Richmond1

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What’s On This Weekend: 8-9 February http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/whats-on-this-weekend-8-9-february/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/whats-on-this-weekend-8-9-february/#comments Mon, 03 Feb 2014 10:00:18 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=37556

A mixed bag of events spread across this weekend range from the all-out madness that comes with Winter Pride and the Six Nations, to the more serene prospects of a David Hockney exhibition in the Dulwich Picture Gallery or admiring orchids at Kew Gardens.

David Hockney, Printmaker at the Dulwich Picture Gallery

The lovely Dulwich Picture Gallery opens its latest exhibition this weekend as Hockney, Printmaker celebrates the career of one of Britain’s most loved artists. The exhibition features over 100 carefully chosen works concentrating on two of Hockney’s favoured techniques: etching and lithography. Classics such as A Rake’s Progress (1961-63) and Illustrations for Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm (1969) are included in this must-see collection. Opens 5 Feb

“Though she be but little, she is fierce!”

From the creative team that brought the spectacle that is War Horse to the London stage (Bristol’s Old Vic artistic director Tom Morris and the Handspring Puppet Company) comes this innovative adaptation of Shakespeare’s much loved comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Expect a combination of puppetry and general stage wizardry alongside the bard’s fantastical prose when this opens for a short run at the Barbican Centre. 6-15 Feb

Flying the flag (indoors)

This year marks the first ever indoor Winter Pride event, hosted at the Tobacco Dock. As many as 3,000 revellers from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community can party away from the elements, with music coming from big LGBT club brands and international DJs, including Bear Necessities, East Bloc, MINT, One Love and Popstarz. Also inside will be fairground attractions, cultural and charitable stands and a Victorian marketplace. 8 Feb

Keep dancin’! at The O2

Cue that catchy tune from the opening credits, as there are still tickets available for the four live Strictly Come Dancing shows at The O2 this weekend. Confirmed stars for this live version of the much loved BBC show include the model Abbey Clancy, former Dragon Deborah Meaden, Westlife’s Nicky Byrne and rugby World Cup winner Ben Cohen. 8-9 Feb

The season of beer and bruising tackles is upon us

The Six Nations returned last weekend, as rugby fans descend once again upon the best pubs and bars across the city (or mostly south of the river really). The rivalry between the Six Nations (England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales) is fierce but this makes for a great atmosphere as fans watch shoulder to shoulder and banter the afternoon away under a haze of Guinness and pride, the only thing to do is join the scrum. 1 Feb – 15 Mar

A tropical treat at Kew Gardens

For an altogether more tranquil weekend activity head to the warmth of the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew Gardens for the annual celebration of Orchids. Explore the tropical plants and orchids inside the conservatory and witness some of the rarest specimens in the world at this botanical wonderland. 8 Feb – 9 Mar

Next week this blog will be relocating to its new permanent home on visitlondon.com, stay tuned for details.

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Top Five Accessible Experiences in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/01/top-five-accessible-experiences-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/01/top-five-accessible-experiences-in-london/#comments Thu, 30 Jan 2014 10:00:56 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=37382

From sky-high bars to treetop walkways, London is bursting with accessible attractions. Here are a few of the best:

Cocktails at 350 Feet

Less able people often consider multi-storey buildings to be the enemy but once a building reaches a certain height, as is the case here, there’s no way anyone could make it up the stairs so you’re guaranteed that there will be a lift. The Paramount Bar at Centre Point gives you two experiences for the price of one: come for the outstanding cocktails and stay for the spectacular views. If you’re feeling really flush then you eat at the restaurant too.

Churchill War Rooms

See Where the War Was Won

A museum named after the former Prime Minister rather than one sponsored by that insurance peddling bulldog, The Churchill War Rooms let you into the bunker from where World War Two was coordinated. Considering its size and original use, it’s surprising that this is one of the more accessible London attractions. We get sick and tired of hearing venues say that buildings are too old to be adapted and this helps highlight why it’s such a feeble excuse. If you can adapt this, you can adapt anything.

Above the Trees at Kew Gardens

“Treetop walkway” and “wheelchair accessible” are two things you don’t expect to be found in the same sentence (again, altitude is a traditional nemesis for wheelchair users) but this 18m-high attraction is completely step-free for those who can’t manage the stairs. There’s a lift up to the walkway for less able visitors and once you’re up, the walkway is flat and lets you see Kew Gardens in a whole new dimension.

Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection

One of the capital’s most underrated and most accessible museums, The Wallace Collection is full of hidden gems. The Laughing Cavalier painting by Frans Hals is something of standout, even in a collection featuring works by Rembrandt, Titian and Gainsborough, but the building is grand enough in its own right to make it worth a visit. One of the best collections of the arts in the world – and it’s all accessible and free.

Climb the Dome

It might come as a surprise that the chance to climb over the roof of any building would be accessible to all but that is precisely the case at the O2 Arena. We’ve even been told by the guys who designed it that, while making sure that Up At The O2 is accessible, they wanted to make it as much of a thrilling experience as it is for able-bodied participants. The experience opens in Spring, but you need to get on the waiting list now for a realistic chance of making a booking in 2014.

This post was written by Max Sunter, chief ‘wheeler’ for Blue Badge Style, a ‘Michelin-like’ guide for the less able, their friends and families. Blue Badge Style offers information on what to do, where to go and what to buy to maintain your sense of style whatever the disability.

 

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Top Accessible Attractions in London by Srin Madipalli http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/08/top-accessible-attractions-in-london-by-srin-madipalli/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/08/top-accessible-attractions-in-london-by-srin-madipalli/#comments Thu, 15 Aug 2013 13:56:42 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=35166 London resident, wheelchair user and Disability Horizons co-founder Srin Madipalli, shares his thoughts on accessible attractions in London.

EDF Energy London Eye

The London Eye is one of my favourite tourist sites in London. On a clear day or evening, you get stunning views across the city of most of the major landmarks. There were no issues driving my wheelchair into the capsule, which was step-free.

Buckingham Palace

It’s been a long time since I went to Buckingham Palace (about 10 years ago!), but I remember being able to go everywhere. There was a small delay with one of the stair lifts, which struggled to lift my very heavy powered wheelchair.

The Natural History Museum, V&A Museum and Science Museum

All three museums are right by one another in South Kensington. They are big, fascinating and insightful places that have some fantastic exhibitions. Access is generally very good, but on busy days, or for special exhibitions, working through the crowds can be a bit difficult.

Tate Modern

For those of you who are like me, and know very little about the arts, or are generally unfamiliar with anything related to modern art, the Tate Modern is perfect. It’s accessible, spacious, easy to navigate and its exhibitions are well-presented. As it is free to enter, you can wander in and out as you wish.

Tate Modern is in a great location, on London’s South Bank, right by Shakespeare’s Globe and opposite St Paul’s Cathedral, so if you get bored of the art, there are other things in the vicinity to see. There is also a really good pub right by the Tate Modern called the Founder’s Arms which overlooks the Thames. Great place to have a beer on a warm summer’s day (it is wheelchair accessible and has an accessible toilet too).

The British Museum

Another one of the big mega museums of London that is free to enter. My law school was a two minute walk from the British Museum, so when I used to have periods of free time between lectures, I sometimes went for a wander around.

While it is fully accessible, it is also one of those museums that is difficult to fully see in just a day. If time is limited, I’d recommend going to one of the special exhibitions. Like with London’s other museums, they can get really crowded on certain busy days, which can make it difficult to fully appreciate what you are seeing.

Also, just be wary that is a big museum, so if have any difficulties with fatigue or tiredness, be sure to plan your visit and identify in advance any particular exhibitions or galleries that you would prefer to visit.

Kew Gardens

One of London’s real gems, the vast expanse of Kew Gardens can be a great day out, and it is accessible. As it is more towards the edge of the city, you will need to consider transport more carefully.

I recall Kew Gardens Station being step-free, but as there would be a big step to get onto the train, I had to arrange assisted travel with South West Trains, who organised a ramp. I found the most interesting bit of Kew Gardens to be the special greenhouses, where the controlled conditions enable plant-life that usually can’t grow in a British climate. Like with the museums, Kew Gardens is pretty big – more than 300 acres in fact – so if this is likely to cause any difficulties, plan your day.

London Dungeon

I really like the London Dungeon. It is a bit cheesy, but it is a good laugh and a good way to spend a couple of hours. While accessible, some parts of the London Dungeon can be quite dark, which could make it difficult for some. I recall people in costumes and waxwork exhibits jumping out from nowhere trying to “scare” you, which I found utterly hilarious, but imagine that some people wouldn’t!

St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral is a tranquil and peaceful place that sits within the hustle and bustle of the busy financial district of central London known as the “Square Mile”. Once a upon a time, I used to go through the grounds of St Paul’s as short-cut on my way home. Most parts are accessible, but there are some areas that aren’t, such as the Whispering, Golden and Stone galleries, due to its age.

National Gallery and Trafalgar Square

The National Gallery is one of the smaller of London’s premier galleries, but it is still very impressive. I recently visited the National Gallery for a special collection of the works of Leonardo Da Vinci.

Again, they are both free to visit and accessible but, like all museums in London, can be a pain to make the most of when busy. Trafalgar Square, with Nelson’s Column, is one of the those must-see public squares and is within walking distance of Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards Parade, the Houses of Parliament, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. Trafalgar Square is step-free with an accessible route to the National Gallery which sits right behind it.

Shakespeare's Globe TheatreShakespeare’s Globe

I went to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on a kind of date many years ago. I strongly recommend watching a performance there. I loved the fact that I could choose to be in the wheelchair platform in the covered stands or in the open standing area near the stage. I chose to position my wheelchair in the standing area by the stage, which was exposed to the elements!

The atmosphere in the audience was a lot of fun – the pouring rain made it just that much more a novelty. The performances at The Globe are a world away from the boring and static way in which Shakespeare is taught in the classroom and watching a modernised play live with its characteristic audience participation is a really enjoyable experience.

More accessible attractions in London

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An IncrEdible Day Out at Kew Gardens http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/05/an-incredible-day-out-at-kew-gardens/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/05/an-incredible-day-out-at-kew-gardens/#comments Fri, 24 May 2013 11:49:13 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=33400 Sam Bompas – Co-Creator of the Tutti Frutti boating lake. Photo by Ellie Roddy. Walkway to Pineapple Island. Photo by Ellie Roddy. Pineapple Island. Photo by Ellie Roddy. Boating lake from Pineapple Island. Photo by Ellie Roddy. Tutti Frutti boating lake. Photo by Ellie Roddy. Entering the banana grotto. Photo by Ellie Roddy. Touch, smell and taste at The Rose Garden Tea Party. Photo by Ellie Roddy. Kirsti Davies - designer of The Rose Garden Tea Party. Photo by Ellie Roddy. Not everything is what it seems at the tea party. Photo by Ellie Roddy. Learn where your favourite food products come from at the tea party with a twist. Photo by Ellie Roddy. Find out plants origins at the Global Kitchen Garden. Photo by Ellie Roddy. Find out what plants originate in South America at the Global Kitchen Garden. Photo by Ellie Roddy.

Always fancied rowing a slice of papaya through an interactive floating pineapple or entering a secret banana grotto? Of course you have, and this summer at Kew Gardens you can!

The gardens are opening their lake to the public for pleasure boating this year, for the first time ever. This comes as part of the IncrEdibles festival, which celebrates all the weird and wonderful food we eat that originates from plants. Not knowing an awful lot about plants myself, I went to Kew to find out more.

We were met by Sam Bompas of the famous food architects Bompas and Parr, who created the Tutti Frutti boating lake. He told us that the pineapple is “a symbol of welcome to the city.”  In the 18th and 19th century the pineapple was seen as a representation of hospitality, and therefore is now used by many buildings in London as decoration.

A definite highlight of the day was rowing the fruit inspired boats around the “Mediterranean” blue water, under the pineapple and through the banana grotto; wear 3D glasses for a psychedelic experience complete with the scent of banana! Don’t fancy rowing? Then take a stroll down the walkway out over the water to the island and watch the boats go by whilst communicating with the plants! Sounds mad, but touch them and see what happens…

Next take a tour of the Palm House, a tropical rainforest which is home to 60 edible plants. Then step outside and visit the tea party with a twist, a dining table on which edible plants grow out of plates, dishes, jugs and platters. Move from seat to seat and learn about where your favourite food products come from, for example Bakewell Tart and Earl Grey Tea. Kirsti Davies who designed the table tells us “not everything is as it seems” – the table is full of riddles and clues which encourage you to touch, smell and taste if you dare!

Go past the bouncy carrot tops to the Global Kitchen Garden – each bed geographically arranged in continents, from Europe to Asia, telling the story of the plants often surprising origins. For example, did you know that the carrot, which is grown all over the world today, originally came from Afghanistan? No, me neither!

The festival, which opens this weekend, will feed your imagination, inviting you to reconsider the way you look at plants, broadening your relationship with what you eat.

I had an incrEdibly good time and guarantee you will too!

IncrEdibles at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew from 25 May to 3 Nov. More information

 

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What’s On This Weekend: 24-27 May 2013 http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/05/whats-on-this-weekend-24-27-may-2013/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/05/whats-on-this-weekend-24-27-may-2013/#comments Mon, 20 May 2013 09:00:34 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=33215 It’s another bank holiday in London – a perfect excuse to linger in your favourite attractions or discover something completely new. There are many fantastic special events taking place this weekend, meaning that even three days might not be enough to see them all!

London Vintage Kitchen

Combining two of the city’s favourite trends – namely pop-up dining and a retro lifestyle – the London Vintage Kitchen hosts glamourous dining events that make you long for a time machine. Their next event takes diners back to the Bohemian world of Paris in 1913, and offers them a four-course menu of period dishes – served by a troupe of butlers – alongside Pernod Absinthe cocktails. After dinner in the candlelit secret location, guests can dance the night away to ‘newfangled’ jazz music. Tickets are £37. 25 May

Concrete Fragments, Shoreditch 

Want to get an exclusive look at tomorrow’s big names in contemporary art? Head to this exclusive two day show by Morgan Concrete Art Advisory London, which brings together seven young international artists for a cutting-edge exhibition featuring both static and performance art. Catch the opening night from 6pm to 11pm on Friday, or the day viewing from 11am to 6pm on Saturday. Entry is free. 24-25 May

IncrEdibles Festival at Kew Gardens

Learn about surprising sources of food at this fun festival, which explores the huge range of edible plants growing at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. Not only can you attend a variety of interesting talks and workshops, but you can also enjoy the festival’s more frivolous side at the Rose Garden Tea Party and the Picnic Garden. A highlight will undoubtedly be the Tutti Frutti Boating Lake by renowned jelly-makers Bompass and Parr, which allows visitors to sail across a giant fruit salad to a pineapple island. Entry is £16 for adults; check the website for details of individual events. 25 May – 3 Nov

The Book Club’s May Film Hop

Shoreditch hotspot The Book Club presents an innovative take on the cinema experience this bank holiday weekend. Guests at their outdoor film screenings wear wireless headphones, which not only guarantees great sound but also means you can dance, drink and party along to the film. Three classic films, Grease, Dirty Dancing and Purple Rain, will be shown, and dance experts will be on hand before the screenings to show you the all-important moves. Tickets are £15. 25-27 May 

Foodies Festival at Hampton Court Palace

A food festival fit for a king, the Foodies Festival at Hampton Court Palace is a haven for the culinarily curious. Not only will TV chefs be demonstrating their skills, but you can also sample dishes from popular London restaurants, learn about new products and even take the kids for a cookery lesson. A day ticket costs £15 for adults. 25-27 May

The Star of Bethnal Green Street Party

To celebrate its fifth birthday, the Star of Bethnal Green is hosting a street party at which you can enjoy popular London street food, DJs and live entertainment that includes live graffiti. From 2pm to 9pm the party also features children’s entertainment, including a bouncy castle and face painting, then it moves inside the pub for more revelry until 2am. Entry is free. 27 May

More London events

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What’s On This Weekend: 8-10 February 2013 http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/02/whats-on-this-weekend-8-10-february-2013/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/02/whats-on-this-weekend-8-10-february-2013/#comments Mon, 04 Feb 2013 10:43:13 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=31502

London will be awash with colour this weekend: not only does Sunday see the vibrant Chinese New Year celebrations taking over Trafalgar Square, but Kew Gardens will also be filled with a rainbow of orchids. Elsewhere, you can see some of the world’s oldest art, take the whole family dancing or watch James McAvoy star in the Scottish play.

Ice Age Art: Arrival of the Modern Mind at the British Museum

Learn about the beginnings of art at this fascinating exhibition, which brings together works of Ice Age art from across Europe. Created more than 20,000 years ago, the works of portraiture and sculpture demonstrate the evolution of figurative art and humans’ enduring ability for creative expression. Not only does the exhibition contain striking works of ancient art, but modern masterpieces by artists such as Picasso, Henry Moore and Matisse are also displayed to demonstrate themes that span millennia. Adult tickets are £10. Until 26 May

Orchids at Kew Gardens

Kew’s Princess of Wales Conservatory is filled with an unseasonal burst of colour this month, as it hosts a four week long celebration of orchids. The glorious plants are arranged in a variety of captivating displays, with a centrepiece that pays tribute to the majestic giant water lily. Adult tickets are £14.50; children 16 and under are admitted free of charge. Until 3 Mar

Chinese New Year in Trafalgar Square

Celebrate the Chinese Year of the Snake on Sunday with a colourful parade and celebrations that will light up the West End. London’s Chinese New Year celebrations are the world’s largest outside China and centre around a lively stage in Trafalgar Square, from which fireworks will be released at the end of the day. Don’t miss the parade to Chinatown’s Rupert Street, which leaves the square at 10am. 10 Feb

Macbeth at Trafalgar Studios

Bafta-winning actor James McAvoy, famous for starring in films such as Atonement, Wanted and X-Men: First Class, takes to the stage as Macbeth in a new production of Shakespeare’s renowned tragedy. The play follows the Scottish Lord Macbeth in his murderous quest for power, and is considered one of the bard’s darkest plays. Tickets start at £10. Until 27 Apr

Family Barn Dance at Cecil Sharp House

Deal with your children’s half-term high spirits at this energetic afternoon of British country dancing. Commencing at 3pm, the barn dance features live music and a caller to guide you through the lively steps. Tickets start from £3 and adults must be accompanied by children, see the website for full details. 10 Feb

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