A district within the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Kew is 1.5 miles north-east of Richmond and 7.1 miles west of Charing Cross and is the location of the Royal Botanic Gardens, a World Heritage Site. Given how much the gardens dominate the proceedings, it is sometimes difficult to imagine this area as being anything else other than a base for the gardens to reign supreme. But visitors are wrong. Kew has plenty to offer aside from the gardens. It has a wealth of restaurants, Thames views, sports clubs and other green areas that are more than suitable for a game of football. And while it may not be a business hub, it still has good connections to Central London and the local economy is strong and stable thanks to the Royal Botanic Gardens bringing in visitors and the trains pouring in the commuters every day.
As visitors get off at the station, they are greeted by the modern streets that make the area what it is. Further down in all directions, there are a variety of shops and restaurants to peruse at their leisure, and then there’s the Royal Botanic Gardens itself. Within that huge attraction are many galleries, greenhouses and more to keep all tourists happy and to offer many ways to see the natural world.
The nearby station has Overground and National Rail connections. This means that reaching the centre of London is simple and straightforward, and those that want to head deeper into Surrey can do so at their leisure.
History of Kew
Kew is more than just the gardens. In fact, Julius Caesar may have forded the Thames at Kew in 54 BC during the Gallic Wars. Long after him, many monarchs from the Tudor, Stuart and Georgian dynasties maintained close links with Kew. And, during the French Revolution, many refugees came here to hide from the reign of terror and several artists in the 18th and 19th centuries called it home.
Most of Kew developed in the late 19th century, following the arrival of the District line of the London Underground, with more development taking place in the 1920s and 1930s when new houses were built on the market gardens of North Sheen. The first decade of the 21st century saw more river-fronting flats and houses by the Thames
Since 1965 Kew has incorporated the former area of North Sheen, St Philip and All Saints and is now in a combined Church of England parish with St Luke's Church, Kew. This has expanded the area and created a tight-knit community centred on faith and looking after each other. In a time of selfishness, it is good to know that there are still those that believe in dedicating spare time to help others and not just themselves.
Now, Kew is an expensive residential area because of its suburban hallmarks like sports and leisure open spaces, schools, transport links, architecture, restaurants, no high-rise buildings and so much more. Over time, it has become a key area for city dwellers that want to move to more scenic surroundings and still have the best of London in easy access.
Business Life in Kew
While Kew is not a corporate centre, it does have a small local economy that benefits from the footfall of tourists eager to see the big attraction. It has shops of varying sizes and retail is obviously the key cog of Kew. However, its restaurants add a bit of flavour into the mix, and with the district being close to Richmond which has more business opportunities and investment, there are other paths for business travellers to cross when they stay here.
In the business world, Kew functions as a commuter town, a spot where many can jump off to get another train or as a divergent path when heading to Richmond for meetings. London travellers will pass here to get to the city and couples may choose to spend an evening after work here for a meal at one of the many stylish eateries. To others, it is a weekend trip that involves the Royal Botanic Gardens and many snaps to go on the Instagram profile after a week of dull and uninspiring meetings.
Our corporate apartments in Kew complement the surroundings by offering potential business travellers a homely and liveable space that is as eclectic as the gardens that bathe the area. They have all the necessary amenities and are more than suitable to work from remotely when the commute doesn’t sound inviting on wet mornings. Their fully equipped kitchens make healthy eating possible and the lavish interior designs are the welcome that business guests need after a day featuring many ups and downs.
Where to Stay in Kew
Located in West London, Kew apartments are stylishly designed; contain ample space and beautiful views. Each apartment is fully furnished, and contains all the features to make your stay comfortable. Kew is, of course, world-famous for its botanical gardens, which offer Londoners the chance to step into an oasis of flora and foliage with its stunning array of plant life from around the world. However, Kew is also an ideal location for both business and leisure travellers, who are looking to step outside of the hustle and bustle of London but still require easy access to the city centre. Located in the district of Richmond, Kew is a leafy suburb that offers a relaxed, town-like ambience despite being just thirty minutes outside of the centre of England’s capital. Naturally, this makes the area highly desirable and Kew serviced apartments are amongst the most sought after properties outside of the city centre. TheSqua.re offers a selection of Kew accommodation, representing some of the finest property available in the area.
Facts about Kew
Kew forms part of the Richmond Park UK Parliament constituency.
Record dating as early as 1327 indicates that the name Kew, was Cayho. It is a amalgamation of two words: the Old French kai (landing place; "quay" derives from this) and Old English hoh (spur of land). The land spur is formed by the bend in the Thames.
- A main mode of transport connecting Kew to London, was by water along the Thames.
- Historically, this separated Middlesex (on the north bank) from Surrey.
- Kew was also connected to Brentford, Middlesex by ferry, then in 1759 it was replaced by bridge.
- The current Kew Bridge, which carries the South Circular Road (the A205) was opened by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1903.
- The A205 road originating there passes through Kew as a single carriageway. However, Kew Road offers the main road link to Richmond. The M4 motorway starts a short distance north of Kew, providing access to Heathrow Airport and the west. The A316 road starts in Chiswick and continues over Chiswick Bridge and a complex junction with the South Circular Road at Chalker's Corner at the south-eastern end of the district.
- Since 1869 rail services have been available from Kew Gardens station. London Underground (District line) services run to Richmond and to central London. London Overground trains run to Richmond and (via Willesden Junction) to Stratford.
Things to Do in Kew
Kew is a fantastic location not just for exploring London, but also Richmond and the neighbouring county of Surrey. Thanks to its location alone, Kew offers visitors the choice between exploring the city or exploring the countryside proper, not to mention its own abundance of parks and green spaces.
Q. How long does it take to visit the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew?
Kew Gardens make for a fantastic day out. Covering some 121 hectares, there is a lot to explore. Whilst the grounds can be walked round in a day, those staying locally may find they prefer to split their visit over one, or several days. Perhaps even enjoying a picnic in the grounds or eating in one of the fantastic restaurants onsite.
Q. What else is there to do in Kew, besides the gardens?
There is more to Kew than its impressive gardens. Visitors can also explore one of several quirky museums, indulge in some retail therapy or enjoy an evening out in one of the many fantastic bars, restaurants and pubs in the district.
Q. Are there any free things to do in Kew?
Whilst the most famous attractions in the area will charge an entry fee, there are still several free things to do in Kew or the surrounding areas. The stunning Richmond Park is just a short walk away and frees to walk around, or alternatively it costs nothing to enjoy a stroll along the Thames. When the weather’s not so good, there is even a local museum offering free admission.
Places to Visit in Kew
Many visitors to Kew are happy to simply stroll around its picturesque avenues and enjoy lunch or dinner in a local pub. There are plenty of great spots for shopping too, or simply enjoying the sunshine in one of the local parks. However, for those looking to do more serious sightseeing, the district has plenty of attractions - either in the immediate vicinity of within walking distance. Below are some of the top attractions in Kew or nearby:
- Royal Botanical Gardens - a sprawling collection of flora from around the globe, covering over 300 acres and boasting a stunning Victorian greenhouse
- Richmond Park - Stunning 2500-acre park and National Nature Reserve famous for its stags and their impressive antlers
- The Richmond Museum - Small museum just a short distance from Kew, charting the area's history and contribution to the local economy
- The National Archives - Home to historically significant documents with a museum and library on site
- Ham House and Garden - 17th century stately home with ornate gardens - a testament to the region’s historical prosperity
- WWT London Wetland Centre - Nature centre with bird watching and information points for walkers
- London Museum of Water & Steam - Quirky museum with plenty of interactive exhibits dedicated to steam engineering. Perfect for family-friendly sightseeing
- Syon House - One of London’s last great houses, Syon House and its surrounding 200-acre park have been in the same family for over 400 years and attract visitors from all over the country
Places to Eat in Kew
Given its affluent reputation and proximity to London, it can be of little surprise the Kew boasts a fantastic selection of great places to eat. Of course, those visiting the area for the first time may be keen to enjoy lunch in The Botanical, The Orangery or Victoria Plaza Cafe - both located within the grounds of the Botanical Gardens themselves. However, the surrounding area also offers a wealth of excellent dining opportunities.
Those looking to experience some local fine dining will find themselves spoilt for choice. Estivo Restaurants, Centonove, Mister Bianco and Di Palma all offer contemporary European cuisine in either traditional or modern venues, whilst QPO Restaurant and CRU offer modern Australian dishes, both with a warm and friendly atmosphere.
Alternatively, for something a little less formal, there are options including Ma Cuisine - a quirky 1950s style bistro, The Greyhound Pub with an intriguing and affordable menu or the Strand Cafe, which serves a range of hearty dishes. And for something in between, there’s Kew Grill - Antony Worrall Thompson’s upmarket burger and steak restaurant.
Shopping in Kew
While Kew may not be on the same level as London when it comes to shopping, there are nonetheless several options when it comes to heading out for a little retail therapy. In terms of shopping in Kew town centre, most retailers are clustered around Kew Gardens rail station. Shops here are mostly simple convenience stores, with a few fashion and confectionery retailers. Further to this, there is also the Kew Retail Park, which has several large superstores including Gap, Next, and TK Maxx. For more serious shoppers, there are also several shopping centres in neighbouring districts. These include:
- Eden Walk Shopping Centre (Kingston)
- The Bentall Centre (Kingston)
- Putney Exchange (Putney)
- Southside Wandsworth (Wandsworth)
- Centre Court Shopping (Wimbledon)
Transportation in Kew
Kew benefits from fantastic transport links - both into London and the wider South East of England. The district is well served by Transport for London services, including the London Underground, buses and overground rail. The Kew Gardens tube stop is served by the District Line, taking just 30 minutes to reach the city centre. Alternatively, overground services run to Clapham Junction and London terminals. Those looking to travel into the city by bus can take route 65, 391 or the N65 night bus.
Alternatively, those visiting Kew may wish to visit the other nearby towns and districts, each offering a different view of London. Some stations on the same underground line as Kew include:
- South Acton
- Kentish Town West
- Hackney Wick
- Camden Road
- West Hampstead
Kew also benefits from being included in London’s Oyster card payment system, which is usually the best and most cost-effective means of paying for transport in and out of the city centre - particularly for those planning to make regular trips. A single trip to zone 1-2 will cost £2.50 whilst the equivalent single ticket is £4.90. Similarly, a zone 1 - 4 Travelcard will cost around £14.10, whilst the Oyster is capped at £10.10.
Weather in Kew
The weather in Kew is more or less the same as that in the wider London region, however, due to its topography, it often experiences temperatures a degree or two higher than elsewhere in the capital. London has distinct seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter - but these can be unpredictable in terms of rain so those travelling to the city should always pack clothing suitable for any eventuality. Winters can be cold, with the temperature dropping below freezing on the coldest months of January and February. However, by contrast, London weather in July is usually warm and dry, with temperatures reaching average highs of 24 degrees. Whilst August can be a little hotter, typically the city doesn’t experience temperatures high enough to make it uncomfortable. The month of September is often a good time to visit, as the weather is usually comfortable and the streets are a little less busy than they are in the height of summer.
Temperature here typically varies from 39°F to 74°F and is rarely below 30°F or above 84°F.
The months of June, July, August and September offers good weather that has a pleasant average temperatures.