Kew versus Longwood: Two Gardens Worth Visiting

The first time I saw a lily pad the size of a kiddie pool was at Kew Gardens in London.

At that point we had seen many gardens around Europe, but Kew was on another level. We walked around mesmerized by the size, the artistry and the peacocks.

Phone pic - Lilies at Kew

Lily pads at Kew Gardens

Earlier this year when a friend posted photos of Longwood Gardens on Instagram, I realized that we had been completely unaware of this European-like garden just a little more than 2 hours from Frederick.

I surprised my husband by taking him to Longwood as his birthday gift. I wanted to keep it a mystery, so he had never even heard of it until we turned into the parking lot and he read the sign.

I assumed Longwood would impress us, but that it would be nowhere near the scale of Kew. I was wrong.

Longwood is actually larger than Kew (although the open-to-the-public spaces are about the same acreage), and both my husband and I were shocked to realize in many ways it’s better than Kew – the meadow, the tree house, the farm house, the beer garden.

Most impressive of all, though, was the conservatory. The size alone is larger than I’ve ever experienced, and its variety of plants and displays made us want to wander for hours.

That’s when we came across the kiddie-pool-sized lily pads again. This time the lily pads were the focal point of the courtyard in the middle of the conservatory. The glass reflected the sunset and the water reflected the glass. It had a dramatic effect.


Longwood Gardens does lily pads


Longwood’s Conservatory

With that said, if you live in the U.K. or are traveling to London and love gardens, don’t miss Kew Gardens. However, if you live in the U.S. (especially in the mid-Atlantic region), you should make a trip to Longwood for a European experience right in your backyard.

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About Stephanie Y.

I'm a professional news writer in Frederick, Maryland. I blog at S.Y. Ciphers.

2 responses to “Kew versus Longwood: Two Gardens Worth Visiting”

  1. Pamela says :

    I am so happy to have found your site. We live in London but my husband just accepted a position in DC, and we are considering Frederick (he will mostly work from home) because it seems like such a great place. Thanks for sharing!

    • Stephanie Y. says :

      I am so glad you found it too, Pamela! What a coincidence. I’ve also got a good friend here in Frederick who recently lived in London as well. Let me know if you have any questions. Hope you choose Frederick. 🙂
      s.yamkovenko at gmail dot com.

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