Nights Out: Midnight Ramblers at Kew Gardens, - UK - Travel - The Independent

Nights Out: Midnight Ramblers at Kew Gardens,


The venue

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew isn't just a place of beauty, it's a world-leader in conservation. The 300- acre plot by the Thames bursts with plant life. When the sun is shining, Kew is a favourite venue for a family day out. But you can see it by moonlight, too. During summer a "Midnight Ramblers" sleepover programme allows children - and horticulturally minded accompanying adults - to explore at night. Between 6pm and midnight, dedicated Kew Rangers guide groups on a torch-lit tour, playing games and exploring some of the collections, before everybody unrolls their sleeping bags.

For children

After being divided into teams of 20, the evening starts with botanically themed group games. Then it's off to a hothouse conservatory to find, photograph and correctly identify the most weird and wonderful species: look out for flesh-eating Dracula plants, or sniff your way to the titan arum, the biggest, and smelliest, flower in the world. Once it gets dark, grab your free torch and glow-in-the-dark necklace, and set off through spooky woods in search of badgers and bats. Later, your team will learn how to plant seeds in the tropical nursery, before settling down for toasted marshmallows and bedtime stories round a campfire.

For adults

The amount of detail you'll see at night - particularly during the walk through the 19th-century arboretum - is necessarily limited. What you do get, however, is a view of the gardens very few, other than staff, ever enjoy.

Listening for pipistrelle bats on the architect John Pawson's low-slung, sinuous Sackler Bridge is an auditory marvel. Don't expect much kip - once the last of the inevitable giggling dies away, it's only a matter of hours until the Heathrow flight-path kicks in.

Refreshments

Snacks of a roll, juice, cheese and cake are handed out at 8.30pm. Breakfast is a pastry and fruit. Hot drinks all night.

Access

The sleepovers are fully accessible to children in wheelchairs and with special needs. Several places are subsidised for community groups and social services.

Admissions

Selected Saturday nights from 5 May to 10 November. Tickets £40 per person (adults and children); minimum booking four children, ages eight to 11, and one adult.

How to get there

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (0208-332 5655; rbgkew.org. uk), Surrey TW9 3AB. Victoria Gate, on Kew Road, is three minutes' walk from Under- ground and Silverlink station.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
Life and Style
techCriminals now targeting e-readers
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
tech... and together they're worth at least £100 million
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skies as 007 for first time
Sport
footballThe latest scores and news from Dortmund vs Arsenal and Liverpool vs Ludogorets
Life and Style
fashion
Travel
news This video may make you think twice about ever taking the Tube again
Life and Style
A spider is seen in its web on September 16, 2014 in Hohen Meissner, Germany.
tech The 'Spider in Da House' app has been developed by scientists to tackle arachnophobia
Life and Style
fashionIncredibly, it hasn't been branded 'Will.eye.am'
News
A plane flies close to the eruption of the Icelandic volcano
newsAnd yes, it's quite something
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week