Established in 1759, Kew’s Royal Botanic Gardens manage the extremely difficult task of being both a world leader in botanic research and an extraordinarily beautiful and popular public park. There’s always something to see, whatever the season, but to get the most out of the place come sometime between spring and autumn, bring a picnic and stay for the day.

Of all the glasshouses, by far the most celebrated is the Palm House, a curvaceous mound of glass and wrought iron, designed by Decimus Burton in the 1840s. Its drippingly humid atmosphere nurtures most of the known palm species, while in the basement there’s a small, excellent tropical aquarium.

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