The Great Pagoda at Kew

When

  • Closed for winter
11:00 - 15:00

Ticketing information

Adult: £4.50
Child: £3.00
Member*: free
Friends of Kew: 10% discount on Pagoda ticket

*Historic Royal Palaces members - present your membership card at the Kew Gardens gate on entrance to book your time slot. Members also enjoy a 10% discount on Kew Gardens admission.

Note: All visitors will also need a Kew Gardens admission ticket to access the Pagoda.

 

Separate ticket

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.

Visit the Pagoda

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 Charlotte's Cottage and the Great Pagoda. An additional ticket is needed to climb the Great Pagoda.

Important information

Before booking your Great Pagoda 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 and 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.
  • The Great Pagoda will operate limited opening hours during October 2019.

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

The history of the Pagoda

A green and gold dragon on the side of the Great Pagoda at Kew

The Great Pagoda was 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 built in 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 80 'iridescent' wooden dragons, which were removed in 1784 when repairs 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 has restored the dragons to the Pagoda once more, as part of this major conservation project.

Find out how we brought dragons back to Kew
A Georgian cook in red and white overalls prepares food in the Royal Kitchens at Kew Palace
Things to see

Get a fascinating insight into Georgian life at Kew Palace in the Royal Kitchens, preserved as they were in 1818.

Closed for the winter season

Kew Palace

Included in Kew Gardens admission

Queen Charlotte's Cottage surrounded by trees and garden under a blue sky
Things to see

Discover a queen's rustic country retreat in the grounds of Kew Palace with a visit to Queen Charlotte’s Cottage.

Closed for the winter season

Kew Palace

11:00-16:00

Included in Kew Gardens admission

Three suits of armour in cases in the Line of Kings Exhibition in the White Tower of the Tower of London. The two on the left were made for King Henry VIII (as a young boy and as an older man) and the one on the right was made for King Charles I.
Things to see

Marvel at the historic armour of Henry VIII, Charles I and James II in the Line of Kings at the White Tower.

Open daily

Tower of London

Included in palace admission (members go free)

A selection of silver jewellery celebrating the conservation of the Great Pagoda at Kew Gardens.

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