Kew Gardens’ 25th annual orchid festival celebrates the incredible wildlife and vibrant culture of Indonesia and we have five reasons to go visit (and take your young Londoners too).
As any parent knows, anything that is immersive works better with kids. And Kew Orchid Festival certainly delivers on this front as you (and your child) can dip into Indonesian culture as you step inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory. You will be greeted with the smells, sights and sounds of paradise. Indonesia has over 100 active volcanoes and quite fittingly the central pond display rocked our world (even the toddlers stopped to admire the view) of an erupting volcano made of orchids. Plus the warmth from the tropical conservatory was a welcome respite on our visit when the fog was low and it felt more like Mordor than West London.
It’s bright and colourful.
There are over 4,000 Orchid species that can be found on the Indonesia archipelago. Orchids are the most intricately decorated flowers, nature’s masterpieces, and the Kew Orchid Festival has them in various shapes and sizes. There are floral arches, sculptures created from orchids representing Indonesian wildlife and walls adorned with the bright coloured flowers. Everywhere you look there are various orchids with so many personalities; some loud and sparkling, others graceful and delicate but all are delightful to marvel at. Orchids are also incredible mimics and can be clever and deceitful too. They trick insects, bats and birds with their appearance and smells. Some even impersonate insects to encourage their pollinators to mate with them. They go to extraordinary lengths to survive.
Learn about Kew’s vital work in Indonesia to protect biodiversity or get to the nitty gritty as you find out about the ‘corpse flower’ that can be found on the island of Sumatra that produces a scent similar to a rotting corpse when in bloom. The Ambassador of Indonesia to the UK said “I hope that visitors can have a wonderful journey experiencing the magnificent Indonesia. As well as its flora, Indonesia is rich in biodiversity, wildlife, nature and culture.” Indonesia boasts an archipelago of more than 17,504 islands including Java, Borneo, Sulawesi, Papua and Bali. What’s more, during half term there will be Indonesian music, dance and food to add to the whole experience.
The Children’s Garden
After you have finished roaming around the Orchid festival, you can take little Londoners to the recently refurbished Children’s Garden where they can go on a journey of discovery as they explore the four different themed play spaces (wind, earth, sun and water). There’s the 200 year old English Oak where you can climb to get an aerial view of the play space, there is sand and water, trampolines and climbing frames and beautiful nature all around. Full review of the children’s garden can be found here.
Climbers and Creepers
Should the weather not be ideal (it is February after all) there is the indoor play space where children can learn all about how we interact with plants and insects. There is a large grasshopper that you can climb, caterpillars that you can stroke and lots more to keep young Londoners between the ages of 3 and 7 entertained.
The Kew Orchid Festival 2020 opens on 8 February and is on until 8 March. Entry is included in your Kew Gardens entrance which is £16.50 for an adult, £8 for a young person between 16 and 25 and £4.50 for a child between 4 and 16, but you need to book an Orchid time slot in advance. More info and bookings here.