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Exploring London: Kew Gardens

Posted in - london, photography on July 14th 2012 8 Comments

Kew Gardens

I realize that this is only the second post in my “Exploring London” photography series. There are reasons for this: time and rain, rain, rain. The sun has chosen a few scattered days to grace us with its presence, but on the whole, this summer has been wet and miserable. I’m definitely missing the heat back in California right now. Needless to say, I haven’t had many opportunities to take my camera for a spin.

Two Saturdays ago, however, I went out to west London for a long walk around the famous Kew Gardens. It’s a bit pricey (£14.50 for an adult), but you only live once, as they say. I was armed with my 50mm f/1.4 lens, which is brilliant for photographing people and nature up-close. The extremely high f-stop lets in an abundance of light and throws out the background. It’s by far my favorite lens to use.

Kew Gardens, or The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, is a large open space out by Richmond that contains the world’s largest collection of  living plants. There are various greenhouses scattered across the expertly landscaped park that house a variety of plants from different climates. Also in the park are several beautiful, historical buildings. I found Kew Palace to be the most impressive, aside from the fact that you have to pay extra to go inside, which I chose not to do. The 17th century architecture reminded me much of Drayton Hall in Charleston, South Carolina, which my friends Maggie, Kasia and I visited as part of our Gone with the Wind roadtrip through the South in 2009. Other notable features at Kew include the Japanese Pagoda, Victorian Palm House, the Orangery, and Queen Charlotte’s Cottage, a 16th century garden retreat complete with thatched roof. Sadly, my lens was fixed-with, making it difficult to photograph buildings.

While I was in Kew, I had hoped to take a photo of the Q Theatre where Vivien Leigh made her first-ever stage appearance in a play called The Green Sash. Alas, it was torn down in the late 1950s and replaced with a block of flats.

Kew Gardens can be reached via the London Overground and the District Line trains to Richmond.

*Photos © Kendra Bean, all rights reserved. Links take you to my flickr account.

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As of now (8) people have had something to say...

  • Rita - Reply

    July 14, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    your photos are lovely, as usual. You really manage to catch the essence of a beautiful place. It’s almost like being there…

    • Kendra - Reply

      July 14, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      Thanks, Rita. Its a very beautiful place–such a change from being in the city! Next time I go I hope it’s a bit more sunny and warm

  • Mariana - Reply

    July 15, 2012 at 2:12 am

    Beautiful photos! I love taking walks in a garden :)
    I never did go when I was in London, though. I didn’t know you had to pay either.
    Love that black and white fountain shot.

    • Kendra - Reply

      July 15, 2012 at 8:39 am

      Thanks! I know, its a shame it’s so expensive. That’s the reason I hadn’t gone previously. But it was really beautiful!

  • R.A. Kerr - Reply

    July 15, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I love these photos! They make me feel like I’ve been there – thanks!

  • Sylvia Kodis - Reply

    July 16, 2012 at 12:54 am

    i wasn’t feeling well today, and your photos perked me right up! Thanks again for such beautiful photos!

  • Meredith - Reply

    July 23, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Beautiful! I echo R.A.

  • Carita Visser - Reply

    August 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Gosh! The pictures are lovely. I live in South Africa and I just have to say that the Kew Gardens are officially on my “to visit” list!

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