What’s On in London: Kew Gardens Summer Festival 2014

Christopher Old

After its success last year, Kew Gardens’ summer festival returns to showcase the true power and wonder of the world of botany. This summer, ‘Plantasia’ will reveal the stimulating and transformative capabilities of plants in a makeshift natural healing sanctuary at the Royal Botanic Gardens. Guests will be able to discover how life-enhancing plants and fungi affect humans in mind, body and soul.


With the wonderful world of botany brought to life in multi-sensory glory, enjoy botanical cocktails within the magnificent splendour of the Gin and Tonics Garden on weekends throughout the summer. The botanical bar will aim to show the health-enhancing properties of plants in beverage form, with a living display of the ingredients. Healthier guests can sample non-alcoholic drinks, though we hear the bartenders are dab hands at mixology…

The Healing Giant meanwhile showcases the effects of plants on different parts of the body. This human-shaped, raised horticultural display allows guests to walk around the body, observing the cultural and health relationships between plant and man. Walk towards the giant’s face to see the different natural skin treatments that people have used throughout the ages. Moving down to the heart, guests will encounter the plants commonly employed as love potions and aphrodisiacs.


The Kew Gardens Summer Festival also allows guests to discover the different textures that nature has to offer on the Barefoot Walk. Located in the arboretum, guests experience stimulating physical reconnections to nature from the moist, bouncy softness typical of forest floors to the muddy ‘squelch’ zone.

Kew Gardens will also celebrate the festival by reopening the iconic Pagoda for the first time in eight years, allowing guests to scale new heights. The 50m tall building provides stunning views across the gardens and of the London landmarks beyond.>


The Queen’s Garden has also undergone a makeover, updated to provide a chronological journey through the different uses of medicinal plants, from traditional remedies to the plants that form the chemical basis of modern drugs. Medical herbalist Christina Stapley will run a one-off workshop in July to demonstrate which herbs may be used to bring together a small, medicinal garden.

This fascinating show of botanical wonders can be best enjoyed with a private, guided tour of the gardens.

Discover ‘Plantasia’ with a Private Tour & Michelin Star Dining

Kew Gardens Summer Festival 2014, ‘Plantasia’
Weekdays, 9.30am to 6.30pm
Weekends and Bank Holidays, 9.30am to 7.30pm