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Kew in 2021: A Look at the Year Ahead

New festivals to celebrate British biodiversity and botanical treasures of Japan.

There is no salve quite like nature for an anxious mind, and while we all continue to face much uncertainty at the turn of this new year, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew will be working hard to ensure visitors can safely experience the joys and healing properties its gardens have to offer. Season by season, from springtime cherry blossom showers to the abundance of summer's Kitchen Garden, and from show stopping autumn displays of colour to frost tipped evergreens in winter months, RBG Kew's horticulture is truly a delight for the senses all year round.

RBG Kew will also offer visitors its annual calendar of extra events, with some new additions for 2021. Whether listening to the inner workings of trees, witnessing the brightest colours on Earth, or discovering the stunning flora of Japan, there is something for everyone to enjoy. As well as hosting various festivals at both Kew Gardens and Wakehurst, RBG Kew will continue to raise its voice and share its cutting-edge and critical scientific knowledge at the highest levels, helping to solve some of the most urgent issues facing people and planet.

The following festivals represent a snapshot of what will be on offer for visitors to Kew Gardens and Wakehurst this year, and are subject to change in accordance with evolving government advice on the Covid-19 pandemic.


To celebrate 70 years of Dennis, Beano will come to Kew Gardens and Wakehurst this Easter for a 'Big Bonanza' full of jokes, mischief and pranks. Visitors can join in the fun with a brand-new, giant comic strip created especially for the milestone occasion, and earn their stripes by joining Dennis and his Beanotown friends on their mission to protect the banana from Dr Gloom and the risk of extinction, and rescue their favourite fruit-powered superhero, Bananaman, who has also been captured.

Wednesday 31 March - Sunday 18 April


Following a year spent largely indoors, this summer visitors will be invited to Kew Gardens to explore the Secret World of Plants. Large-scale, immersive 'plantscapes' representing diverse UK habitats, including coastal cliffs, moorland, and meadows, will celebrate the biodiversity on our doorsteps. A programme of exciting artistic activities designed to capture the imagination will offer visitors a fresh perspective on the 'wall of green' that surrounds them, helping them to appreciate and protect the botanical gems to be found in their day-to-day environment.

Saturday 1 May - Sunday 19 September

Visitors to Kew Gardens' Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art in May will be able to witness some of the brightest colours on Earth, in a new exhibition inspired by the natural world. Exploring the origins of sight and colour, natural phenomena such as bioluminescence, and techniques used by artists to replicate the brightest and most intense hues found in nature, the exhibition will be a treat for the eyes and give visitors a chance to interact with cutting-edge technology and catch a glimpse of its future potential in the art world and beyond.

Saturday 1 May - Sunday 12 September


As fiery colour sweeps across the Gardens, Kew will celebrate the flora and culture of Japan in a brand-new festival in the Temperate House. The festival will explore Japan through its fascinating horticultural traditions and wider practices, emphasising the importance of the natural world and the concepts of beauty and harmony - cornerstones of Japanese culture. Striking art installations, highlighted Japanese trees boasting vivid autumn colours, and an impressive Bonsai collection will make this a festival worth exploring.

Saturday 2 October - Sunday 31 October

November and December

As winter draws in, Christmas at Kew will return as the UNESCO World Heritage landscape is adorned with one million twinkling lights, lasers and festivities around every bend for an after-dark extravaganza.

Meanwhile, Wakehurst will be animated by hundreds of glowing lanterns, fire displays and illuminated sculptures at the spellbinding Glow Wild lantern festival.

Christmas at Kew and Glow Wild at Wakehurst will run from November

To find out more, visit

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This story was published on: 15/01/2021

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