The Great Pagoda at Kew

Re-opening to the public in 2018

Re-opening to the public in 2018


  • Opening in summer 2018

Ticketing information

Tickets are to be released in June 2018. 

Historic Royal Palaces members - there is no need to book a ticket, simply present your membership card at the Pagoda entrance. Members also enjoy a 10% discount on Kew Gardens admission.

Buy tickets online

Opening to the public this summer

Thanks to the generous support of House of Fraser, Historic Royal Palaces in partnership with Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, have completed a major conservation project which has seen the Great Pagoda returned to its 18th-century splendour and re-opened to the public as a permanent exhibition.

This summer, you will be able to climb the 253 steps to the top of the Great Pagoda and marvel at spectacular views across London. As you climb, learn why the Pagoda was built and how the Royal Family used this unique building in the 18th century.

The Great Pagoda sits within the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and a gardens admission ticket is needed to access Kew Palace, the Royal Kitchens, Queen’s Charlotte’s Cottage and the Great Pagoda at Kew. An additional ticket is needed to climb the Great Pagoda.

Due to limited capacity, pre-booking your Great Pagoda ticket is recommended (tickets are due to go on sale in June 2018).

The History of the Great Pagoda

Designed in the 18th-century by English architect Sir William Chambers for the royal family. Chambers visited China twice and he was inspired by the buildings he saw. His designs for the Great Pagoda were influenced by prints he had seen there of the famous Porcelain Pagoda at Nanjing. The Great Pagoda was the largest and most ambitious building in a ‘royal circuit’ of 16 structures displaying architectural styles from around the world building the royal garden at Kew. Once completed in 1762, the 163ft tall building was so exotic that a suspicious public were unconvinced it would remain standing.

Pagodas are revered in traditional Chinese culture as the repository of relics or sacred writings and as place for contemplation. The Kew Pagoda was inspired by the porcelain Pagoda at Nanjing – one of the wonders of the medieval world – and is not designed as a religious monument; rather it was intended to be a window for the British people into Chinese culture.

The Great Pagoda at Kew was originally far more colourful than it is today, and was once adorned with eighty ‘iridescent’ wooden dragons which were removed in 1784 when repaired were undertaken to the building’s roof. None of the 80 dragons appear to have survived, beginning a 200 year hunt to rediscover and replace them. Historic Royal Palaces intends to restore the dragons to the Pagoda once more, as part of this major conservation project.

Help us restore the Pagoda

Important information:

Prior to booking your Great Pagoda at Kew ticket, please note the following. 

  • The Great Pagoda is a challenging climb of 253 steps.  
  • Please do not attempt the climb if you have any health conditions you feel may be made worse by the experience.  
  • Children under 5 years old are not permitted above the ground floor.  
  • The Great Pagoda is situated in the southern end of Kew Gardens, near the Temperate House. The average walking times from the Kew Gardens entrances are: 30 minutes from Elizabeth Gate, 15 minutes from Victoria Gate, 5 minutes from Lion Gate, 40 minutes from Brentford Gate (car park).
  • Great Pagoda tickets are for a 30 minute timeslot. Latecomers will be accommodated where possible, but if other timeslots are fully booked this will not be possible. 
  • In order to preserve the historic fabric of the building, large bags* may not be brought inside. Lockers are available at Victoria Gate. 

*Any bag larger than the normal airline carry-on size (22cm x 35cm x 56cm).

Proud to support the restoration of the Great Pagoda at Kew.

How to make a Dragon - Part 1

How to make a Dragon - Part 2

Kew Pagoda - Dragon carving

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