The Great Pagoda at Kew


Open from June 2021 (pre-booked tours)


Southern end of Kew Gardens, near the Temperate House. 5 minutes from Lion Gate.

Ticketing information

Fully booked for June. 

Tickets are £10.00 each.

How to book

Minimum booking is 4 people, with a maximum of 8 people. Whilst current restrictions are in place, this should be from a maximum of 2 households. To enquire about availability, please contact

*Historic Royal Palaces members - present your membership card at the Kew Gardens gate on entrance to book your time slot.

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.

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 tours are now fully booked for June. We will be reviewing any future Pagoda offer in line with Government restrictions, so do check back for further dates.

Tickets are £10.00 each.

To enquire about availability, please contact

Available dates:

  • 19 June
  • 20 June
  • 26 June
  • 27 June

Your group will be met by one of our costumed guides at 9.45 at Lion Gate and taken on a private tour of the Great Pagoda, one of Kew Gardens’ most iconic landmarks.

You’ll climb the 253 steps to the top of the Pagoda, enjoying fabulous views across the Gardens and West London. You’ll learn about the history of Royal Kew, the wartime activities that took place in the Pagoda and how the Historic Royal Palaces team were able to recreate the famous Pagoda dragons.

Tours finish at 10.30. Please be aware that tickets to Royal Botanic Gardens Kew are not included in this ticket; if you wish to visit the Gardens after your tour, please pre-book a ticket via Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew

How to book 

Minimum booking is 4 people, with a maximum of 8 people. Whilst current restrictions are in place, this should be from a maximum of 2 households. To enquire about availability, please contact

Please be aware that COVID-19 regulations are in place across all Historic Royal Palaces building. All visitors 11 and over will be required to wear face coverings whilst inside the building unless exempt, including during the climb. Find out more about how we will do our best to keep you safe on your visit


Important information

Before enquiring, 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 on the experience due to safety restrictions.
  • In order to preserve the historic fabric of the building, large bags* may not be brought inside.

*Bags larger than standard aircraft carry-on size.

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
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