This weekend, we had one of our best EVER days out with Marley when we took him to visit the brand new Children’s Garden at Kew.
Where we live, we’re fortunate to have plenty of green spaces around. But it’s always nice taking Marley somewhere a bit different. Although we’ve taken him to Kew Gardens before, the Children’s Garden is a brand-new addition.
So this was a whole new adventure for all of us.
Kew is generally a fantastic place to visit at any time of the year. There is an infinite amount to see and space to explore. Plus there’s so much nature around that it literally falls from the sky*.
*A caterpillar landed on me. Which was fine initially – but then I remembered the story about the outbreak of oak processionary moths I’d read last year. And I started screaming a bit.
Anyway, we knew there was already plenty in the Gardens to keep Marley entertained for hours. But we were particularly intrigued by the prospect of seeing a new area designed specially for children.
The Children’s Garden
The Children’s Garden is an amazing 10,000 square metres of space – almost the size of 40 tennis courts – set in amongst over 100 mature trees.
This unique setting means that no two parts of the Children’s Garden look the same. There are winding paths through the trees leading to all sorts of different mysterious and exciting places for me…..I mean, for Marley, to explore.
It was really funny watching Marley; one second, he was distractedly looking for pine cones on the ground, the next he was screeching excitedly about whatever was up ahead.
Meanwhile, I climbed up the steps to walk around the wooden canopy on my own, doing my best Dr. John Hammond impression (“Welcome to Jurassic Park”) and humming the theme music as I looked out across the Gardens.
The canopy is only about 4m high, but it goes around this giant 200-year-old oak tree and you can see pretty much all of the different parts of the Garden from up there.
So you can see why I was doing the Jurassic Park thing….right?
No? Neither could the family who caught me doing it…
I don’t think we have ever taken Marley anywhere that’s so thoroughly enjoyable for both adults and kids. Nor have I ever witnessed him being so whole-heartedly entertained for nearly two straight hours.
The garden contains a fantastic array of different shapes and structures like the one I’m sitting in (above). Everywhere you turn, there is something new; a sandpit, slides, a water area with pumps, a splash pool, trampolines.
We didn’t even get to the hammocks, but I doubt we would have had time to sit and enjoy them anyway, with so much else to see.
Learning and playing
There’s a great blend of learning and playing – one minute Marley was watching as water was pumped down a man-made waterfall – I watched as his eyes followed it all the way down the different levels of piping – and the next he was navigating his way across a “wibbly” bridge in an adventure playground.
He told me his personal highlight was bouncing on one of the trampolines embedded into the ground in one section of the Garden, but I don’t think he’d have been struggling for alternatives.
He’s perhaps a bit young yet to appreciate all of the learning opportunities in the Garden, where there is a theme around the elements of what makes plants and flowers grow. Regardless, living as we do in a small flat in South West London with only a little garden, this place was just heaven for him.
So much space, and so much fun.
If you get the chance to go to Kew Gardens this summer, you should definitely give the Children’s Garden a visit. We absolutely loved it.
Oh, and one thing you should definitely be aware of prior to visiting is that you need to book a time slot for the Children’s Garden when you get there – you can’t pre-book it online. Sessions in the garden are 90-minutes, and time slots are allocated on a first come, first-served basis so it’s worth getting there as early as you can.