The forecast promised a lovely day today and I was out the door and on my way to Paddington station by 9:30. There, I caught a District Line train to Earls Court where I switched to a second District Line train that would take me west to Kew Gardens. After a short walk, I entered through the Victoria Gate and wandered along a pathway to the Kew Explorer tram, which makes a circuit through the various gardens. It’s a great little thing, with the driver giving you an interesting and informative guided tour and it makes seven stops along the way so you can hop off and on whenever and wherever you choose. I hopped off at stop number four, which was the closest one to the vast blankets of bluebells in the northwest corner. I absolutely love bluebells and since we don’t have them at home, I can’t seem to get enough of them while I’m here. I happily wandered along, snapping photos like mad with a smile on my face as I looked at them carpeting the ground amongst the trees.
Eventually, I reached the northern boundary and wandered east alongside the Thames until I got to tram stop number five, where I caught the next tram and continued with the guided tour, passing groves of rhododendrons on the right and Kew Palace on the left before reaching the Orangery. It was completed in 1761…and it’s where I grabbed a spot of lunch. After my smoked salmon sandwich, elderberry fizzy, and orange plum cake, I hopped on the tram again and took it back to stop number one, passing the Princess of Wales Conservatory and the Palm House on the way. I then walked back to the Palm House, but didn’t stay for more than just a couple of minutes as the warm, humid environment really isn’t my cup of tea at all. However, I’d seen pictures of the spiral staircases within it that lead up the gallery and I really wanted to see them. After leaving the Palm House, I wandered back to the Princess of Wales Conservatory, which “houses ten computer-controlled micro-climatic zones, with the bulk of the greenhouse volume composed of Dry Tropics and Wet Tropics plants” (wikipedia.org). Outside, I was greeted by golden poppies…the state flower of California and a little taste of home. And being from California where it’s very often hot and dry (and miserable), I didn’t spend too much time wandering through, making my way back past the Palm House to the Victoria Gate and gift shop before too long.
After leaving Kew Gardens, I took the District Line and eventually made my way to the Chiswick Park station. From there, I wandered down to and then along Chiswick High Road, past Turnham Green, and up Turnham Green Terrace, where I bought some frozen yogurt that I enjoyed on a bench in Chiswick Common. Chiswick was abuzz with people out and about, enjoying their Sunday afternoon and the lovely weather. Eventually, I caught the eastbound District Line at Turnham Green station, changed at Earls Court, and made my way back to Paddington and the flat.