Kew Gardens in the rain

Deciding to go to Kew at 1pm on a cold, wet, dark December day does seem a little bit of a strange choice in hindsight, but at the time seemed totally logical. It was one of those days between Christmas and New Year’s when nurseries shut and you feel you feel obliged to have family fun days out. So off to Kew we went!

We probably spent 95% of our time in the cafe or the palm house to avoid the wet, horrible cold, but it was still a fun day out. But the first real day out in wellies with your kid is always going to be special. And this place lets you get your kids in free until 17, so we’ve got plenty of time to do all the other wicked stuff we missed. There were plenty of animal statues to make noises at, ducks to quack at and even a carousel which thankfully Weasel managed to not notice since we had zero cash on us. If you check out the website, there’s even a ‘parent’s survival guide’ which details stuff to keep even the grumpiest or most hyperactive happy.

The Palm House – Brilliant. We did follow a free tour guide who roped us in whilst we were finishing up our lunch in the cafe, which at least made us feel like we managed to learn something that day. Weasel enjoyed running up and down the paths in the palm house over the Victorian underfloor heating grates (genius!). And there’s an aquarium in the basement which was good enough to keep a small squirmy creature happy.

Food – We ate at the Victoria Gate Cafe, which was cozy and full of kids. It was a bit of a squeeze with the pram and a hunt for a high chair, but we got there in the end. And Weasel had the joy of staring at 20 other kids whilst throwing pie on the floor, so good times had by all! They had quite a limited choice, but I believe we went during a rush and the pies seemed to have been replenished by the time we left. We nearly had a full-on marital over the last venison pie, so Kew should be careful letting them run down for the sake of relationships. Well, at least for the sake of mine. As Weasel isn’t a massive sandwich fan, we just gave her a portion of each of our pies, but I believe there were some, if limited, kids food options.

Changing: The loos we came across were mostly of the outdoor block variety. I was surprised to see that the cafe/shopping building we ate in didn’t have facilities, so had to trek out to get Weasel changed. The facilities seemed ok though apart from that.

Verdict: Give this place the time it deserves; have a nice, full day out and take a map. We’ll definitely be going back to checkout things like the Treetop Walkway and Evolution House to see the volcano and dinosaurs, and will be choosing a day which the underfloor heating of the Palm House doesn’t seem like the most exciting bit!


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