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Full of Spice Summer Festival 2015

Full of Spice at Kew Lates event promotional artwork

23 May - 6 September, 2015

We don’t think twice about the peppermill on our dining table or the vanilla in our ice-cream, but the power of some plants to colour, flavour and preserve, makes them worth more than their weight in gold. 

This summer, Kew will be Full of Spice as it explores the botanical origins of these mystical goods.

If you're visiting Kew during the festival, share your photos on Twitter using #fullofspice for a chance to win Friend of Kew membership.

Competition details


What to expect

Come face-to-face with some of our most popular spices, take part in the Strictly Spice Dance-off or sample a variety of delicious breads in The Dough Kitchen (various dates, more information below).

Get hands on

Full of Spice mocked up image of rickshaw ride

There will be a series of talks, performances and workshops in the amazing Spice Exchange, an architectural structure that has been built especially for the festival, plus Rangoli folk art workshops each weekend.

Besides all of this, you can consult the Spice Mix Supercomputer, immerse yourself in one of the giant spice inflatables and take a ride around the gardens in one of our special spicy Rickshaws (advance booking only, more information below).

Botanical cocktails

No summer festival is complete without a cocktail and so each weekend during the festival, you can enjoy a spiced No.3 gin cocktail at our pop-up botanical bar (cash only bar).

Please see below for the full programme of events.

Full of Spice is part of the Kew Gardens day visit experience – you don’t need a special ticket, just day entry. Tickets give you access to all of the Gardens and glasshouses. Some additional charges apply for special events.

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Friends of Kew enjoy year-round access to the Gardens as well as many other benefits. 

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Kew Lates

Full of Spice at Kew Lates artwork
For six evenings only, you have the chance to experience Kew after hours. Join us for a summer evening of cocktails and spice in the beautiful setting of Kew. (Friends of Kew enter free.)

More about the Full of Spice Kew Lates

Full of Spice events programme

The Spice Exchange

Join us for entertaining stories about the early spice traders and the routes they took to bring spices to the West. 

Close up of popular spices - full of spice 2015

Event date: Second and fourth Saturdays of June, July and August, 10am to 6.30pm
Event details: Drop-in sessions at different times during the festival period
Price: Included with entry to the Gardens
Venue: Outside the north end of the Princess of Wales Conservatory

 


Spice Mix Super-Computer 2.0

Combine spices using our Super-Computer to create your own personal blend, and take it home, as part of our summer spice festival.

Spice mix super computer holding image

Event date: 23 May 2015 to 6 September 2015, 12pm to 5.30pm
Event details: Drop-in and first come, first served
Price: Included with entry to the Gardens
Venue: Secluded Garden site

 


Giant spices

Look inside and get up-close-and-personal with our giant inflatable spices!

 

Event dates: 23 May to 6 September 2015
Price: Included with entry to the Gardens
Venue: West side of the Princess of Wales Conservatory


 


Spice up your life: hands-on sessions

Visit our hands-on sessions and discover what parts of plants are used as spices around the world

Event date: Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 23 May 2015 to 6 September 2015, 11am to 1pm
Event details: Drop-in sessions, no booking required
Price: Included with entry to the Gardens
Venue: The Spice Exchange
 

Rangoli workshops

A chance for the whole family to get involved, by helping to create beautiful large-scale folk art

Event date: Saturdays and Sundays only between 23 May 2015 and 6 September 2015, 11am to 4pm
Price: Included with entry to the Gardens
Venue: Climbers and Creepers tents

 

 


Full of Spice tours

Join us on a guided tour for a fascinating look at Kew's spicy plants. Find out how spices grow and how they get from the garden to the kitchen.

Ginger (Zingiber) on the Chinese medicinal trail

Event date: 23 May 2015 to 6 September 2015, noon and 2pm
Price: Included with entry to the Gardens
Venue: Tours start from Victoria Plaza

 


Rickshaws

Go on a journey of discovery, through the world of spices at Kew this summer

Full of Spice mocked up image of rickshaw ride

Event date: 23 May 2015 to 6 September 2015, 11am to 5pm
Event details: Last ride 5.40pm
Price: £8.50 per ride - advance booking only, 2 people per rickshaw, and rides last approximately 20 minutes

 


Dough kitchen

Make and sample spiced breads

Bowl of spices - full of spice 2015

Event dates: 25 July to 6 September 2015, 12pm to 5pm
Price: Included with entry to the Gardens
Venue: Amphitheatre beside the Princess of Wales Conservatory

 

 


Kew Cabinet of Curiosities

The journey of spices told through objects from Kew’s Economic Botany Collection

Event date: 23 May 2015 to 6 September 2015
Event details: During Gallery opening hours
Price: Included with entry to the Gardens
Venue: Marianne North Gallery

 


Meet Kew's experts

Meet Kew's friendly experts and listen to tales of plants, expeditions and experiments

Event date: Every Tuesday and Thursday between 23 May 2015 and 3 September 2015, 2pm to 2.30pm
Price: Included with entry to the Gardens
Venue: The Spice Exchange
 

 


Discover Kew - Spice Stories

Download the Discover Kew mobile app to hear the stories behind some of our most popular spices

Piper nigrum (black pepper) painting
Event date: 1 June 2015 to 6 September 2015
Price: Included with entry to the Gardens
Venue: Various locations
 
 

 


Spicy Saturdays

Join us for a fascinating look at how spices were brought across continents and oceans, arriving in the West to spice up our recipes and for use in medicines.

Spices on bread - Full of Spice 2015

Event date: Saturdays only from 23 May 2015 to 19 September 2015, 10am to 6.30pm
Price: Included with entry to the Gardens
Venue: The Spice Exchange

 

 


Spicy Sunday music sessions

Enjoy an afternoon of music and fun at the Spice Exchange

 

Enjoying icecream and rose wine

Event details: Two half-hour sessions every Sunday at between 24 May and 6 September 2015, 2.30-3pm and 3.30-4pm
Venue: The Spice Exchange
Price: Included with entry to the Gardens

 


Star plants

Discover fascinating facts about the lives of some of our favourite spices

Green Chillies growing in the Waterlily House

Event dates: 25 July to 6 September 2015, 10am to one hour before the Gardens' regular closing time
Price: Included with entry to the gardens
Venue: Various locations in our glasshouses

 


Strictly spice

Watch a dance troupe tell the history of spices through song and dance

Event dates: Wednesday to Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday between 25 July and 6 September 2015, 11am to 4pm
Price: Included witih entry to the Gardens
Venue: Orangery Lawn

 


Full of Spice Lates

Join us for an evening of cocktails and spices to celebrate Kew being Full of Spice this summer

Event date: Wednesdays 27 May, 3, 10, 17 and 24 June and 1 July
Price: Adults £11; Adult disabled plus carer (carer free) £11; Friends of Kew (plus one guest) FREE
Venue: Kew Gardens

 


Gin Garden

Refresh yourself with some spice-inspired No.3 London Dry Gin cocktails

Event date: Weekends, bank holidays and lates, midday till 30 minutes before closing during from 23 May to 6 September
Price: Drinks range from £3 for a soft drink to £7.50 for a gin cocktail
Venue: Mobile Gin Garden next to the Palm House pond