Flower power returns, with Kew Gardens visitors up a third

Beautiful: Kew Gardens in all its glory

Beautiful: Kew Gardens in all its glory

First published in News Richmond and Twickenham Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Plant lovers came out in full force last year, as visitor numbers to Kew Gardens rocketed by almost a third.

More than 1.3m people visited the Royal Botanic Gardens in 2013, almost 30 per cent more than the previous year.

The surge in visitors last year was a national trend, as places such as the British Museum and London Zoo saw bumper numbers, latest figures from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions show.

Tina Houlton, head of marketing at Kew Gardens, said staff were thrilled with the uplift in visitor numbers, which they hoped would continue to rise.

She said: “This summer we hope to build on our success by inviting visitors to experience a festival celebrating the healing, stimulating and transformative power of plants.

“Highlights of the programme will include a barefoot walking trail, beautiful life-enhancing horticultural displays, home remedy workshops and immersive natural soundscapes.”

In the past century the highest number of people to pass the gates of the gardens was 1.5m in 2005.

The botanical hotspot, which hosts a wealth of tropical plant life, saw people rush through its doors last year to get a final glimpse inside the Temperate House before it closed for a five-year £34m restoration project in August.

Last year saw the gardens transform into a food-friendly paradise as part of its Incredibles Festival, which celebrated edible plants, while the winter months welcomed the addition of the after-hours light spectacle and illuminated nature trail.

Mrs Houlton said: “This truly highlighted that Kew is a garden for all seasons.”

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