Kew Gardens: Calendar of Events 2018

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Kew Gardens’ beloved annual Orchids Festival will take place in February. This year’s theme is a celebration of Thailand’s vibrant colours, culture and magnificent plant life.

Join us for a Big Day Out with Peter Rabbit™ this Easter at Kew. Visitors can expect an exciting activity-packed day out with games, crafts and storytelling inspired by Beatrix Potter’s iconic tales. 

A highlight of the year, May 2018 will see the grand unveiling of Kew’s magnificent Temperate House after a five-year restoration. The world’s largest surviving Victorian Glasshouse will house over 10,000 exotic plants – many of which are rare and threatened - from across the globe. Throughout the summer, an exciting new programme of interactive events and artistic entertainment will really bring the stories of these plants to life. Press day on 3 May.

The Great Pagoda will also reopen in the summer of 2018 following a two-year restoration. The façade of the ten-storey landmark will be adorned with 80 impressive golden dragons.

Sing away your summer nights at Kew the Music this July.  This year’s acts include Steps, The Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes and Tonnino Baliardo, The Human League, Boyzone, and Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra.


Don your lab coat and dig out your goggles for this year’s Science Festival. The festival is back in August for three days of exciting activities, workshops and tours at both Kew Gardens and Wakehurst sites.

The first ever State of the World’s Fungi Report will be launched by Kew in September. It is little known how vital fungi are to nearly all terrestrial ecosystems, as well as to human society. The report will share the latest knowledge and work of scientists and mycologists across Kew and around the world to create ground-breaking assessment of the state the planet’s fungi.

Christmas at Kew will return for its sixth year. This festive family trail will be the most dazzling to date, with the Gardens being transformed into a veritable winter wonderland. Expect tens of thousands of twinkling lights, Christmas songs, mulled wine and much more!



The Hive – We are delighted to announce that Wolfgang Buttress’ award winning installation will stay at Kew for the time being so will be open to visit throughout 2018. A true showcase of British creativity and ingenuity, the lights and soundscape of this architectural masterpiece are connected to a living beehive.


Life in Death by Rebecca Louise Law at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art. This immersive installation is composed of 1000 individually sewn hanging garlands, made up of 375,000 beautifully preserved plants and flowers.  It is Rebecca Louise Law’s most intricate large-scale artwork to date and examines our relationship with flowers and plants and how they are used, particularly through rituals. The exhibition runs until 11 March 2018. 





10 February – 11 March


(Press day 8 Feb)

Orchids Festival 2018 - Be immersed in a celebration of Thailand’s vibrant colours, culture, and magnificent plant life inside the tropical paradise of Kew Gardens’ Princess of Wales Conservatory. For four weeks, Kew Gardens will welcome visitors to its 23rd annual Orchids Festival with creative designs and unique experiences to appeal to all ages.  There will be a programme of evening events as well as weekend activities for families to enjoy and a chance to win return flights to Thailand thanks to a partnership with Thai Airways.


10 February –  11 March

Come and enjoy an exhibition of stunning photos submitted as part of the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition.


31 March – 16 September

The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art will host three exciting new exhibitions from March.  The first comes from The Florilegium Society and comprises 89 paintings documenting plants growing in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. Kew has a long and rich history with Australia and RBG Sydney which will be celebrated in this show. A second exhibition will focus on the history of Kew’s magnificent Temperate House, first opened in 1863. Visitors also will find a third exhibition of contemporary botanical art by Australian artists from the Shirley Sherwood Collection which will link to some of the incredible plants they’ll see in the newly restored Temperate House.



30 March –  15 April

A Big Day Out with Peter Rabbit™ - Join Peter Rabbit on a botanical bunny adventure throughout the Easter Holidays at Kew. Expect an exciting activity-packed day out with games, crafts and storytelling inspired by Beatrix Potter’s iconic tales.



3 May (Press Day)


5 May (Opens to public)






The Temperate House Reopens - May 2018 will see the grand unveiling of the magnificent Temperate House, the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse, after an ambitious five-year restoration project. It will house over 1500 different species of exotic plants, and will give schools and community groups the chance to learn about and be inspired by plants, acting as a community hub, educational space, artistic haven, and global meeting place.


Late May

Following a two-year restoration, The Great Pagoda, will reopen in summer 2018. First built in 1762, the ten-storey landmark will be returned to its former glory, adorned with 80 golden dragons.


Throughout the summer

To celebrate the reopening of the Temperate House, a programme of interactive events and artistic entertainment will run throughout the summer, bringing the stories of the plants and the glasshouse to life.


10 – 15 July

Kew the Music returns with big name artists taking to the stage for six days of sweet sound and sunshine! Acts include Steps, The Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes and Tonnino Baliardo, The Human League, Boyzone, and Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra.



3 – 5 August

Science Festival - Kew’s Science Festival will be bringing the science out of the labs and into the Gardens. The festival will be full of engaging and interactive content for all ages. Kew’s sister botanic garden, Wakehurst, will also host its own science festival 28 – 29 July 2018.



12 September

(Press launch date TBC)






The State of the World’s Plants Report - The Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew will release a ground-breaking report on fungi, serving as a new baseline assessment of current knowledge on the diversity of fungi on earth and the global threats that the kingdom of fungi currently faces. 


The launch will be followed by the State of the World’s Fungi Symposium at Kew.

15 -16 September

Grab your trainers and limber up for this year’s Richmond Running Festival which takes place in Kew Gardens.



4 – 7 October

Handmade at Kew - This unique craft fair returns for a 4th year in October 2018. Organised by Handmade in Britain visitors can browse and buy directly from many artists and craft-makers.


November/ December

Late November – 1 Jan

Christmas at Kew returns for another season of stunning illuminations and trails in the Gardens after dark. Expect Christmas treats, mulled wine and much much more!





The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding collections as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world. Kew Gardens is a major international and a top London visitor attraction. Kew’s 132 hectares of landscaped gardens, and Kew’s country estate, Wakehurst, attract over 1.5 million visits every year. Kew was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2009. Wakehurst is home to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. Kew receives just under half of its funding from Government through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and research councils. Further funding needed to support Kew’s vital work comes from donors, membership and commercial activity including ticket sales.

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