The funny thing about living in London is that in the same way that you crave Pineapple Lumps and Jaffas you also crave big expanses of green. Londoners seem to accept any little patch of grass, I can’t get over people sitting on what I would call a busy roundabout in New Zealand while they sunbathe and drink a pint. But I digress, this is all about the magical place that is Kew Gardens.
To be honest as much as I wanted to visit Kew, in my head it was too much of a faff (in London terms, a faff is defined as an hour on the tube with two changes) to go. But then I heard about the pop-up gin bar that they had over the summer, dishing out botanical versions of my always favorite Gin & Tonic, and all of a sudden it became a must visit.
Kew Gardens are huge. Fact.
The gardens have a bit of everything. Stretches of grass for picnics and games, green houses, manicured flowerbeds, a historic house, a Japanese pagoda and even a canopy walkway so you can see the tips of the trees. The Victorian green houses themselves are worth a visit; built in the late 1800’s there is a wrought iron staircase to let you see the trees from up above, and if that all gets too much you can go to the aquarium in the basement. There are also more modern glass houses where you can wander in a glass pyramid and see every form of spiky plant available.
But onto the gin. As part of the Plantasia exhibition which is on till September, there are all sorts of things popping up at Kew. There is a barefoot walk so you can squidge in mud, a ‘Healing Giant’ flowerbed so you can see which plants help which body-parts, and a pop-up gin bar because gin is purely medicinal – I don’t have a drinking problem I am just increasingly health conscious.
The pop-up is located in a small green house and is run by the cool cats at No.3 Gin. There are a selection of botanical gin choices for you to imbibe, I went with the Summer Flowers which was jasmine infused gin, elder-flower cordial, lemon and orange blossom. It was completely refreshing and a brilliant edition to Kew Gardens…makes me think that all London’s gardens need a pop-up bar.
I think next time I go to Kew I am going to make a day of it. My visit would have been perfect if I had taken a picnic and a good book so I could have had a nap under one of those giant trees.