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Friday 23 September, 7.15pm

Emma-Jane Kirby

The Optician of Lampedusa

Award-winning journalist tells the heartbreaking story of an optician beginning to grasp the human tragedy unfolding on his doorstep.

Event details

Friday 23 September
Cambridge Cottage
Emma-Jane Kirby
Non fiction
Adult: £16
Member: £13
Child: £13
Carer: Free

Event overview

Emma-Jane Kirby is an award-winning journalist who has reported extensively on the refugee crisis. Her book tells the heartbreaking story of an optician on the Italian island of Lampedusa, unexpectedly confronted with the harrowing reality of one of the greatest human tragedies of our times. He has seen the headlines about shipwrecked migrants, noticed the reception centre opened to accommodate those who make landfall, even crossed paths with the occasional lost soul. Yet it is only when a late summer boat trip unexpectedly turns into a rescue mission that he truly begins to grasp the human tragedy unfolding on his doorstep.

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Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB

Which gate to use

Before 5.30pm all four gates (Victoria, Elizabeth, Brentford and Lion) are open.

After 5.30pm, please use Elizabeth Gate.

Eating and drinking

We have four restaurants and cafés:

  • White Peaks café open until 5pm
  • Pavilion restaurant open until 5pm
  • Victoria Plaza café open until 5.30pm
  • Orangery restaurant open until 7pm

Getting here

By car

The Gardens are well signposted from all the major local roads.The South Circular (A205) passes the north-east corner of Kew Gardens. Kew Road (A307) forms the eastern border.

Car park

Brentford Gate car park is open 10am to 6.30pm. Access is via Ferry Lane (off Kew Green). Use TW9 3AF to find the car park.

Cost is £7 per day.
No charge for motorcycles and mopeds.

Other parking

Free parking is available on Kew Road (A307) after 10am every day.

Parking restrictions apply on most of residential streets around Kew and on parts of Kew Road.

By train

The nearest stations are:

  • Kew Gardens station (District and London Overground lines)
  • Kew Bridge station (South West Trains)
By bus

The most convenient bus routes are:

  • Route 65 (stops close to Lion Gate and Victoria Gate)
  • Route 391 (stops near Kew Gardens station)
  • Routes 237 and 267 (stop at Kew Bridge station)
By bicycle

Bicycle racks available at Victoria, Brentford and Elizabeth Gates.
Owners leave bikes at their own risk.


Venue access

All venues, cafés and shops have level access.

Accessible toilets

There are accessible toilets at:

  • Victoria Gate
  • Brentford Gate
  • Welcome Centre
  • Orangery restaurant
  • White Peaks café
  • Cambridge Cottage
Guide and assistance dogs

Guide dogs or registered disability assistance dogs are welcome within the Gardens. Other dogs are not allowed.

Free carer tickets

Visitors with a disability who buy an event ticket are entitled to one free ticket for their carer or companion.

We will need evidence of DLA or Blue Badge on entry, without this we may withhold the free carer ticket.

Disabled parking

Parking in Brentford Gate car park is free to drivers with a disability and displaying the Blue Badge.

There are 12 extra wide disabled parking bays. If these are full, drivers with a disability are welcome to park elsewhere in the car park free of charge.

There are 3 disabled parking spaces on Kew Green near Elizabeth Gate.

There is more disabled parking within Brentford Gate for events that finish before 5.30pm.