Kew up to see the world this summer!

21st April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Summer Festival 2011 Programme at Kew Gardens

This year, we are inviting you to pack your bags and head down to Kew Gardens, where you can experience those far flung climes without having to venture even as far as the airport. From the heat of the Brazilian rainforest to the cool of the Alpine region, and from the elegance of Japanese architecture to the arid wilderness of the desert regions, a trip to Kew will bring you climates and regions from around the world without the strain on your bank balance.

According to Britain's official tourism website, the continued impact of the recession means that a permanent shift in the way we holiday has occurred, with almost half of the population expecting that beyond 2010 they will take more holidays in the UK than they have in the past.

Professor Stephen Hopper, Director of Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, says ‘In this challenging financial climate, we should not overlook the gems that this country has to offer. Kew incorporates stunning national heritage with the beauty and excitement of some of our favourite holiday destinations. For anyone with a love of nature, travel, art, or architecture, Kew is a hotbed of culture right here on our doorstep.'

Global Celebration
Saturday May 14 - Sunday May 15

In celebration of Kew's rich diversity, we are kicking off the summer with an energetic, vibrant Global festival, where we invite you and your family to join us for a fantastic weekend honouring the different worlds that exist within the Gardens, featuring music, dance, and ritual from all over the world. This will include:

  • A flavour of Carnival, with aerialists, stilt walkers and music, celebrating South America's tropical rainforests
  • A Japanese Tea Ceremony, highlighting oriental plants through tea
  • Carnival processional band at the Palm House's Tropical Rainforest
  • Taiko drummers at the Japanese Gateway
  • Flamenco dancers and guitarist at the Mediterranean Garden
  • Bavarian style ‘Oompah' band strolling in the Rock Garden
  • Brazilian Pagode band within the lush and tropical foliage of the Princess of Wales Conservatory

Hard Rain
Saturday 14 May - Sunday 25 September

This thought provoking and highly topical photographic exhibition will be on display on Kew's Broadwalk. The exhibition is in two parts; it opens with the Hard Rain banner, consisting of 43 photographs illustrating each line of Bob Dylan's ‘A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall'.

The Second part is entitled ‘What'll You Do Now?' and explores, through images and text, proven solutions via technologies, development projects, and lifestyle approaches to the problems illustrated in Hard Rain that can be scaled up and widely adopted.

International Garden Photographer of the Year
Saturday 14 May - Sunday 25 September

This is the fourth year that Kew will be hosting this renowned outdoor photographic exhibition featuring amateur and professional entries of digital garden photography. Visitors will be able to view approximately 100 enlarged photographs and admire the photographic skill, composition, vibrant colours and specialised garden shots all displayed in this on-site outdoor gallery.

Plants in Peril
Saturday 25 June - Sunday 16 October

Over 60 contemporary paintings will be on show in The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, mostly executed by South African artists.  The unique and exciting flora has stimulated many artists to paint extraordinary strelitzias, protea and cycads or their exquisite lilies and fire ephemerals.  The small area of the Cape of Good Hope is home to thousands of species, many of them established now as cultivated plants in other parts of the world like the ubiquitous pelargonium.

Also on display will be some of the original paintings for a new book ‘The Smallest Kingdom' by Mike Fraser with illustrations by Liz Fraser, which details the intricate interlinking life styles of plants and animals on the Cape.

Guided tour: Worlds within Kew
Explore one of four regions: East Asia, rainforests, mountains or desert and semi arid.  
Sat 14 May - Sun 25 September, daily at 12noon and 2.30pm
Tours start inside Victoria Plaza
(Tours last one hour, please register 15 minutes before tour start time)

Hands-on sessions - Explorers past and present

Find out about intrepid explorers from the past and how they are linked to Kew's current Scientists, their explorations and research.
Sun 29 May - Sun 25 September, every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday 2pm to 4pm
Secluded Garden Glasshouse

The Chelsea Flower Show
Tuesday 24 May - Saturday 28 May

For the first time since 1976, Kew will create a garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, this time in partnership with The Times Eureka magazine. Through an eye catching and innovative design by Chelsea gold medallist Marcus Barnett, the garden will highlight the significance of plants to science and society.

This show garden will be relocated to Kew Gardens following the Chelsea Flower Show (subject to funding and planning agreement), giving an opportunity for anyone who missed Chelsea to see the garden over the summer months.  Visitors to Kew will have the added benefit of being able to walk through the garden and to see it against the majestic backdrop of Kew's historic, UNESCO World Heritage Site landscape, and to see many more beautiful, useful and rare plants in Kew's gardens and iconic glasshouses.

A taste of Australia

Admission free, British Museum Forecourt
21 April - 16 October 2011
Australia Landscape is the fourth landscape in a five-year partnership programme involving the British Museum and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which celebrates the shared vision of both institutions to strengthen cultural understanding and support biodiversity conservation across the world. The landscape will be located in the forecourt of the British Museum, and will transit from the vegetation of Eastern Australia through the arid desert covering the southern third of the Northern Territory and the North East corner of South Australia; culminating in a western Australian granite outcrop showcasing unique and highly threatened flora.

Grow Your Own (and tweet about it)!
Tweet and Grow

Budding botanists and plant enthusiast's alike can find out just how green their fingers really are with the launch of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew's new multi-platform interactive game ‘Tweet and Grow.' The game, devised and developed by interactive agency Pancentric Digital and Kew, celebrates the different habitats that exist within Kew Gardens and takes the reality of growing and nurturing these plants into the players own virtual world. Easy to learn but difficult to master, the game engages players by allowing them to nurture and grow plants from four diverse habitats and regions within the gardens including The Alps, Desert, Rainforest and East Asia, and receive rewards for their activity with new levels and prizes.

  • Opening hours: 9.30am - 5.30pm until 26 March 2011; 27 March to 29 August 2011, 9.30am - 6.30pm
  • Last entry to the Gardens, the Glasshouses, Galleries and the Xstrata Treetop Walkway is 30 minutes before closing
  • Admission: Adults £13.90, Concessions £11.90, free for children under 17 (with an adult)
  • Visitor information: 020 8332 5655 or
  • Website:

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