Updated 12 June. As a result of the Coronavirus global pandemic, we have taken the difficult decision to close Kew Palace and the Great Pagoda until 3 June 2021. We are sorry for any disappointment this may cause. Please read our statement
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 Charlotte's Cottage and the Great Pagoda. An additional ticket is needed to climb the Great Pagoda.
We are not currently accepting advance ticket bookings for the Pagoda. Visitors will still be able to purchase tickets on the day of their visit, provided we are open. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes.
Before visiting the Great Pagoda, please note the following.
*Any bag larger than the normal airline carry-on size (22cm x 35cm x 56cm).
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
The most intimate of our six royal palaces, Kew was built as a private house in 1631 and used by the royal family between 1729 and 1818. These gifts and souvenirs are all inspired by Kew Palace.
Discover books inspired by the palaces in our care, learn about fascinating periods of British history, including our official palace guide books, children's books and more.
In our home section you will find stylish lifestyle home accessories and furnishings, including cushions, tapestries, ornaments and much more which will add those finishing touches to make your room complete.