22 June 2014

The Pagoda and more at Kew Gardens (June 2014)

The Pagoda in Kew Gardens is one of the main sites in the gardens but for all the years that I have been going there it has only been possible to look at it from the outside and to wonder what views it has to offer. But now it is open for the Summer.

The narrow staircase of 253 steep wooden steps and the limited space on the 10 levels meant that entry was strictly controlled with small groups allowed in for thirty minutes at a time.

The Pagoda opened at 10:00am and I was in the first group. I got a little bit of extra walking in as I had to go back to Lion Gate, where I had come in, to buy my ticket. They were not on sale at the Pagoda itself.

It was a tiring 253 steps and I stopped off to look at the emerging view a couple of times on the way up. Health and Safety dictated that all the windows were kept firmly shut and finances dictated that the glass was not very clean Despite those physical restrictions I was quite pleased with the pictures that I managed to take.

The view to the west looked over the Japanese Garden towards Syon Park on the other side of the Thames. Brentford started to stick its ugly oar in on the right.

Central London was on the east side. Even at that distance several of the shapes on the skyline were very recognisable, including (from left to right) the Cheesegrater, Walkie-Talkie, London Eye and Shard.

The best view of Kew Gardens was looking north along the Pagoda Vista that leads to the Palm House and runs past the Temperate House to do so.

Water dominated the rest of my visit to Kew Gardens.

From the Pagoda I walked along Cedar Vista that heads towards the river.

Along the way I paused by the Waterlily Pond (above) that always looks pretty.

Arriving at the far end of the Lake I followed it round as it turned towards the Palm House.

Just to the west of Sackler Crossing I paused on one of the many benches to watch the birds go about their daily tasks, among them a swan and her four cygnets. Despite the people crossing the bridge nearby the setting was peaceful. it was also shady and that made it the ideal place to sit and relax for a while or two.

Rested, I continued on towards the Palm House only to veer north at the last moment and to head for the Waterlily House instead. This is one of my favourite places in Kew Gardens and I usually pop-in to it when I am in that area.

The only problem with it is that it is small and always busy so it is impossible to take pictures that show the shape of the building without having lots of distracting people in it. So I usually just take pictures of the waterlilies instead.

I had other things to do that day and so it was almost time to leave. There was, of course, time for a coffee and some cake in the Victoria Plaza cafe. Walking there meant passing the Palm House Parterre, which is always a good idea.

The Pagoda was the main point of my visit and it lived up to expectations. The other delights of Kew Gardens just made the day even better.

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