Yes, it’s official – having just spent a wonderful sunny day at Kew Gardens looking at the cherry blossom I can confirm that it’s definitely the best place in London to see cherry blossom. And it’s in bloom now, so get down there as fast as you can and do my…
Kew Gardens Cherry Blossom Walk
Entry to Kew is via the Victoria Gate – once inside, look straight ahead and you’ll see a cherry blossom grove ahead of you. Cut across the grass (it’s okay, it’s allowed) for a closer look.
Bear right, towards the rose garden behind the palm house (marked on the free map they give you on entry). You can’t fail to spot a big grove of cherry trees, with loads of different varieties. I listed at least a dozen before I gave up (all the trees have little labels hanging from their branches telling you what variety they are). The pictures below are of white prunus shirotae and pink prunus matsumae hanaguruma. There are lovely vistas here looking back to the palm house.
Before you take the path towards King William’s temple, make a little detour to see a small group of deep pink prunus sargentii, visible on the right as you face the path to the temple.
There are cherry trees dotted alongside the path to King William’s temple, but the main aim of this section is to see the formal avenue of deep pink prunus asano, thirty trees in two rows of fifteen, lining the path from the temple up to the Temperate House.
Go into the Temperate House – it will be your last chance to see it for some time as it will close for a major restoration project this summer and won’t open again until 2018. Take the spiral staircase up to the balcony and look back – you can just see the prunus asano beyond the Temperate House roof.
Come out of the far end of the Temperate House and there is another avenue of cherry trees, this time a mixed group including prunus matsumae usugasanesomei, prunus mikuruma gaeshi and prunus hokusai. If you feel like a cup of tea, you can detour to the Pavilion restaurant here.
Finally, keep walking in the same direction along the grassy path to end the walk at the Japanese landscape garden where a glorious great white cherry (prunus tai haku) stands next to the Chokushi Mon.
- The nearest station is Kew Gardens on the District Line.
- Kew opens at 9:30 am and currently (spring/summer) the gates close at 6:30 pm.
- Entry is £16 for adults. Tickets can be bought online or at the gate. Children go free.
- You can get a free mobile app for your iPhone that gives you up to date information on what’s in bloom.
I went on 24 April when many of the trees were in full flower. But there were still plenty in bud (and the avenue of prunus asano was half in flower and half in bud when I went) so it’s not too late to go. There’s magnolia and camellia trees in blossom too.
For cherry blossom in other London Parks see my London Parks Cherry Blossom Top Five post.