george III and the kew gardens

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Some places turn out to be such a pleasant surprise! I had put down Kew Palace and the Kew Royal Botanical Gardens for today. I’d been starting to feel a bit jaded—you know the “been there, done that” feeling and I, therefore, wanted to do something inconsequential for a change. Botanical gardens and palaces seemed to fit the bill perfectly. 🙂 Not too demanding was what I told myself.

I was completely wrong. Not many people go to Kew Palace. Big mistake. It is one of the most lovely familial palaces I have been to and Historic Royal Palaces, the charity responsible for its upkeep, has done a brilliant job with it.

The palace is curated such that one walks amongst the family that once lived here, namely King George III (1760-1820), his wife Charlotte and their 15 children, overhearing their streams of conversations—some inane, some momentous, but all deeply personal—which as one wanders in and out of the rooms, recreate their distinctive and gripping story. Add to this their pictures, furniture and personal objects, and one is back 200 years in time. It was here that the family spent its joyful loving summer months and here that the king was brought in when he lapsed into apparent insanity.

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Kew Palace—a king’s story of love, family and tragedy

The Royal Botanic Gardens on the other hand are immense; 300 acres to be precise. A World Heritage Site dating back to 1759 and a research centre today, it is the most complete public garden in the world with about 40,000 different types of plants. The Victorian glasshouses, 18th Century Pagoda and Princess of Wales Conservatory make for a wonderful ramble through deep woodlands and endless grounds. I don’t know how much I walked, but it was a LOT. It was so serene, I could have walked forever.

And so that was my inconsequential day, which turned out to be one of my nicest days. That’s the most interesting thing about life. It never turns out the way you expect it to be!

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The peace and quiet of miles of solitude
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All things green and wonderful—the carnivorous pitcher plant, stunted alpine, exotic flora and Victoria Amazonica; Middle Right: The 18th Century Pagoda, the most recognizable feature of the World Heritage Site
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Gardens take all shapes and forms here, from looming trees and eclectic flora to circles of pebbles. A bit of Zen in the Japanese garden surrounding Chokushi Mon

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