Since the 18th century, these extensive gardens have been the spiritual home of botany in England, if not in Europe. From the cooling glades of the British Woodland Garden to the pulsating humidity of the exotic Palm House, the delicate beauty of the Rose Garden to the soothing tranquillity of the Waterlily House, at Kew you can witness over 40,000 plants embarking on a fascinating journey through their annual cycles - flowering and fruiting, growing and resting. Commonly known as Kew Gardens, this World Heritage Site and former royal residence (Kew Palace is located within the grounds) extends to over 300 acres and is home to thousands of rare and beautiful species - don't miss (as if you could) the Chilean Wine Palm, the world's tallest indoor plant. Immerse yourself in the tropical paradise thriving within the seven glasshouses, before journeying through the Japanese Gateway leading up to the elegant Oriental pagoda and its accompanying dry-stone landscape gardens representing peace, activity and harmony. Hidden deep in the woods, Queen Charlotte's Cottage is best viewed when flanked by a carpet of bluebells, while the stunning Syon Vista, offering an unrivalled aspect across the Thames to the Syon Estate, makes this possibly one of the most visited areas at Kew. As well as being an important centre for research and conservation (one in eight of the world's plant species are represented here), Kew hosts a series of seasonal special events, interactive displays and a unique area dedicated to children? You may have to pay to enter the grounds but the sheer scale and beauty of the place warrants it.