Explore Kew Gardens - Virtual Tour
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Richmond Lodge, the country retreat of George II and Queen Caroline, took advantage of its proximity to the Thames by having a terrace walk along its banks. This map also shows the two extraordinary buildings which made its garden famous: the Hermitage, and Merlin's Cave, both designed by William Kent. Eventually this estate became part of the present Kew Gardens.
When 'Capability' Brown re-landscaped Queen Caroline's garden in the 1760s and 1770s he brought the lawns right up to the river, an improvement applauded by a contemporary writer: "The river now proudly flows between the spreading lawns of Sion and the Royal Gardens of Richmond, which together form a scene of superior grandeur and beauty".
The royal palaces of Hampton Court and Richmond were joined by a third one at Kew. The Castellated, or New Palace, stood on the site of the present riverside car park. George III wanted something more regal than his mother's modest White House.
Its construction was halted by the King's permanent breakdown in 1811. A court official dismissed it as "a most singular monument of eccentricity and expense". George IV ordered its demolition in 1827.