We visited the Royal Botanic Garden on our last day in London.
The Royal Botanic Gardens were just amazing. Neither Hannah or I had been to anything like it. Despite the massive size of the grounds, the attention to detail and care given to each bed, tree, or exhibit is astounding. One could literally spend days exploring the grounds. We only saw maybe an eighth of the gardens and we were there for at least four hours.
My favorite thing to see at the gardens were definitely the greenhouses. The largest one we entered spanned four or five zones and was completely computer controlled. It was amazing to see tropical and desert plant life under the same roof. They even had piranhas in their tropical exhibit. I was also excited to see that they had a portion of the garden dedicated to growing food. Apparently they from time to time grow food for the royal family.
On our way back we stopped at a pub I had wanted to check out called The White Horse. They are one of two bars in the London area that have Pilsner Urquell Tankovna. I finally was able to try fresh, unfiltered, unpasteurized, Pilsner Urquell delivered by a tanker truck from Plzen, straight to the pub with a freshness date of only maybe two or three days into the week long best-by period. The beer was definitely more lively and complex. It was less creamy and the hop aroma and flavor came through much greater than the others I had tried. The beer wasn’t the only good thing at the pub though. We had a sausage and mash dish that was just wonderful. That coupled with the beer selection and ambiance made The White Horse my favorite out of the five or six pubs we visited in London.
After the White Horse we went to meet Hannah’s mother and sister for tea service at No. 11 Cadogan Garden, a 200 year old five star hotel. I wasn’t really prepared for how proper it would be but we came at the tail end of the service so there was no one around for us to embarrass ourselves in front of. The scones, sandwiches, and pastries were all excellent. The history and design of the structure also lends charm to the experience.
Although we were exhausted, our last stop included a visit to see Big Ben and the House of Parliament on our way back to round out our visit to London with a couple of tourist sites.
Places: The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, The White Horse, No. 11 Cadogan Gardens, Big Ben, House of Parliament.
Beers: Pilsner Urquell Tankovna, Harveys Best Mild (cask ale).