The Hive: Kew Gardens' breathtakingly beautiful installation simulates a living beehive

If you've ever wondered what it's like to be inside a beehive, then ponder the thought no longer. This summer, at Kew's Royal Botanic Gardens, you can experience the world of the British bee within Wolfgang Buttress’ award-winning installation, The Hive.

All images courtesy of Kew | Credit: Jeff Eden, RBG Kew

All images courtesy of Kew | Credit: Jeff Eden, RBG Kew

It was initially created to be the centrepiece of the UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo, and has now been brought back to the UK to wow visitors on this side of the pond. The intricate installation spans 17 metres in height, and its shape is designed to mimic a swarm of bees, acting as "a visual symbol of the pollinators’ role in feeding humanity and the challenges facing bees today."

Inside the structure are thousands of LED lights, which set the mood alongside an orchestral arrangement. "After discovering that bees hum in the key of C, a beautiful, complementary symphony of vocals and cello was composed and recorded (and released as an album), to create a calming, meditative soundscape within The Hive, inspired by the deep visceral hum of bees."

During September, Kew is also offering a series of 'Hive Lates', which encourage guests to view the installation just before nightfall. And as you'll see from the photographs, the structure takes on an entirely new form in the absence of light. For more information, visit


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