Feeling drained from all the local election hype? Worn out already with not even half the year gone? Jaded at the prospect of nothing but the World Cup on telly?

Sounds like you need a healing sanctuary and starting tomorrow (Saturday) Kew Gardens has the perfect solution.

The world famous Royal Botanic Gardens holds a summer festival every year and the theme for 2014 is Plantasia - celebrating the stimulating and transformative power of plants.

Anyone visiting from this Bank Holiday weekend until September 7 will see how life-enhancing plants and fungi affect human health in mind, body and soul.

Of all the new attractions being packed into the gardens for this event the stand out highlight is sure to be the Barefoot Walking Trail.

Located in the arboretum area people will be invited to balance on beams and hop across tree trunks and experience the different textures upon the soles of their feet that nature has to offer.

From the moist, bouncy softness typical of rainforest floors, to the muddy ‘squelch’ zone, walkers will experience a stimulating physical reconnection with their surroundings.

 

Other highlights include:

Enjoy cocktails in the splendour of the Gin and Tonics Garden and learn their forgotten medicinal properties as you sip and swirl - this facility will be open late on selected evenings.

A sensory experience set to lift the spirits will draw visitors to the Palm House where beautiful sounds will float through the air.

Explore the glasshouse’s Rainforest Remedies and learn how indigenous peoples from around the world have used nature’s pharmacy through time for healing.

At weekly workshops held by Kew experts, discover surprising remedies growing in your back garden and learn to concoct soothing lotions and potions. From calming herbal tea blends, to healing balms using essential oils, discover how people used these home cures to treat everyday complaints before the advent of the NHS, and learn how Kew came to scientifically verify many of these Remembered Remedies for a special project.

Just in front of the iconic Pagoda visitors will encounter a gigantic Medicine Man: A spectacular, human-shaped horticultural display showcasing the effects of plants on different parts of the human body. Walk around the face and see the natural skin treatments people have used throughout the ages. Reach the heart and encounter the plants commonly employed as love potions and aphrodisiacs.

Discover Chinese medicinal plants throughout the Gardens and learn about treatments used successfully by hundreds of millions of people around the world for conditions from angina to acne.

Children and adults alike will delight in engaging with roaming performers, from stories and tales with Mrs M and her cart-load of curiosities, to a very wacky game of croquet led by the ‘Kew World Croquet Team’: running five days a week, the game will invite visitors of all ages to explore the journey from plant to pharmacy through participatory installations, hands-on demonstrations, music, songs and of course, croquet.

Other activities for the summer include Tai Chi sessions on Syon vista. Medicinal Trees throughout the Gardens will also be celebrated and decorated, forming a stunning arboreal display.

A final feature sure to delight guests young and old is the iconic Pagoda, Kew’s most famous visual landmark, will be opening again for the first time in eight years.

For £3.50 per person you will be able to climb the 10 storey spiral staircase to the top of the 50 metre high 250-year-old structure for a bird’s eye view of the gardens.

For full details on all this and more visit http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/whats-on/summer