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Kew Gardens

We would like to go to Kew Gardens and Potobello Rd in Notting Hill on the same day. Any suggestions for how to get from one place to the other? We are staying at the Lime Tree hotel, Which one should we go to first? How best to get to each one? How much time to allow? Thanks in advance.

Posted by
22491 posts

Portobello Rd is best on Saturdays, I believe. It tends to get really crowded, so I think it would be best to go there first.

Posted by
653 posts

Kew Gardens is a huge place with a lot to see. Have you decided what you want to visit while you're there? Many things aren't all that far from the main entrance but other things are deeper into the property. It's currently open till 7:00 pm; don't know if that's seasonal and it would be different later in the year.

If you do it on a Saturday, I agree, Portobello Road market first.

I don't know about getting to either place from your hotel. Have you tried using the Transport for London online trip planner? You may have to tweak the preferences to Tube only unless you're open to taking the bus.

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks so much for your helpful responses regarding where to go first and transportation info.

Has anyone taken the boat cruise from Kew Gardens to Westminster Pier? If so what did you think of it?

Posted by
273 posts

I've taken an overland train from the Hampstead area of London to Kew in Richmond. I got lost after finding the National Archives then trying to bus to Kew Gardens, and having a bus driver drop me at the wrong stop, arrived at 4:45 (after a LONG walk along their brick wall) when they closed at 5PM (August 2011), so I know how NOT-to do it :) if you ever want to know that. I would like to take that boat ride there & back some day to make up for how wrong I did it last time. I've heard the boat rides down that way are longer than expected to get back to Westminster, but that could be a good thing, you could get more value for your money, maybe. I never did go *in to Kew Gardens, just peeked from the gate area. Too expensive to go in for only 15 minutes.

Google Maps is showing about a 45 min trip with a couple of different Tube lines, but a good amount of walking too, I'd watch the maps in very close detail to be sure things connect (their train station was odd, only one-way-in streets, and the other platform was somewhere else completely, I nearly didn't find it to get back to Pax Lodge). They're also putting the closing time as 8PM on Saturdays. Probably depends on what time of year, but seems they must have changed since I was there. It was also definitely warmer in that whole area, make sure if you have the ability to take off a jacket if you're going there, don't wear like a long sleeved shirt you'll be stuck with all day.

Have fun!
-Alison

Posted by
11012 posts

Yes, just a couple of weeks ago I did the boat from Kew to Westminster Pier. It took about an hour and was quite enjoyable. There seemed to be lots of kids out learning rowing, some beautiful homes and it put us on the non-scaffold side of Big Ben. I would probably only do the boat ride one way.

Here are a couple of things I learned:

  • Even if you specifically email the boat company regarding the schedule on a specific day, check again online on your departure day. Then when you get to Kew pop in to the Info desk just after you enter (inside left corner of the shop) to have them check departure times again.

  • Also have that person show you on the Kew map how to get to the pier as it’s fairly well hidden!

  • Start your Kew visit by going to the left from the entrance and working your way around to The Elizabeth Gate which is where you’ll exit to get to the pier.

  • We didn’t think to stop at the entrance info desk on the way in and found no other employees had any idea which gate would work for the pier. That turned out to be good because that’s when I discovered the 4:30 sailing we were planning on had been cancelled but the 5:30 was going.

  • We had slower walkers in our group so it took us about 30 minutes to walk from the main gate area thru Kew to the Elizabeth gate, out on to the Thames path and up to the small ticket kiosk. The ticket person seemed to be working alone the day we went and she also functioned as dockhand so I’m not sure if the ticket booth closes at a certain time before the boat arrives. We got there 15 or 20 minutes ahead of departure. She came out to start looking for the boat maybe 5-6 minutes before it arrived.

  • Kew is huge and has so much to see! Do what you can and count it as good.

  • We took the District Line (Richmond branch) tube out from Victoria Station using our Oyster Cards. It’s a short walk from the Kew tube station to the entrance thru a lovely street.

  • I noticed this visit to England that when I purchased entrance tickets to many historic places I had to specifically say I didn’t want to add the voluntary donation. I hope this is not offensive to anyone but if I’m already paying 15£ to enter some place for a one time visit for a few hours I don’t feel obligated to add a donation to that. Check the entrance fee ahead of time so you’ll know the charge with and without the donation.

Posted by
4684 posts

Sounds as if Alison tried to make the journey by changing from the District to the Hammersmith and City at Hammersmith. Don't do that. Take the District from Kew Gardens to Earls Court, then wait at the same platform for an Edgware Road train and get off at Notting Hill Gate.

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks so very much to all of you for your tips regarding Notting Hill and Kew Gardens. They will be very helpful in planning our day trip to both.

Posted by
4859 posts

I noticed this visit to England that when I purchased entrance tickets to many historic places I had to specifically say I didn’t want to add the voluntary donation. I hope this is not offensive to anyone but if I’m already paying 15£ to enter some place for a one time visit for a few hours I don’t feel obligated to add a donation to that. Check the entrance fee ahead of time so you’ll know the charge with and without the donation.

Designating part of admission as 'voluntary', usually 10%, over the posted "standard rate" is so that the attraction is entitled to reclaim the income tax paid on the amount by a UK tax payer ("Gift Aid") on the whole amount, as it then counts as a donation. This is also why many places offer an annual pass for the same amount, being aware that most people will not visit again (typically around 4 out of 5), or next likely only once more in that period, plus you can exempt five days a year, maybe to coincide with special events.

So if the admission fee including the donation was £10 and tax was reclaimable the attraction would eventually receive £12.50 in total, as opposed to say £9 standard.

Government website with rules here.