Privacy Policy

Your privacy 

Please read this Privacy Policy carefully to understand our practices regarding your personal data and how we will collect, use and store your personal data.  We may update this policy from time to time so please check it regularly. If there are significant updates, we will inform those people with whom we are in regular contact, such as members and email subscribers.

1. Who we are

“Kew” refers to the following three separate entities :

1. 1.Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (“RBGK”) 

RBGK’s full name is “The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew”.  RBGK is a non-departmental public body with exempt charitable status and is a  global resource for plant and fungal knowledge and manages Kew Gardens in west London and Wakehurst in West Sussex.  If you buy a ticket for day-admission to our gardens, become a Kew member, a Wakehurst  member (our membership schemes) or a Patron of Kew or make a donation, you will be principally dealing with RBGK. 

1. 2.The Foundation and Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (“The Foundation”)

The Foundation is a registered charity with charity number 803428, and its object is to provide support for RBGK, in particular by undertaking legacy fundraising.

1. 3.RBG Kew Enterprises Limited (“Enterprises”) 

Enterprises is a company (with company number 02798886) and is a wholly owned trading subsidiary of RBGK whose main activities are commercial trading activities to generate income for RBGK including operation of our shops at the gardens and online, and certain events that are not included as part of the normal day admission to the gardens such as Christmas at Kew and Kew the Music 

Enterprises also provides services to RBGK and the Foundation particularly to support and undertake their fundraising activities.

1. 4.We refer to these three entities collectively as “Kew” throughout this policy, and references to “we” and “us” refer to the Kew entities collectively. 

RBGK, The Foundation and Enterprises may each be data controllers of your personal data.They each have different roles, but some activities they undertake overlap and personal data may be shared internally for certain purposes.  Information may be shared between them to facilitate, support and integrate their respective activities, for example, RBGK may administer invoices and payments made to Enterprises, who are themselves responsible for promoting and running an event at the gardens. Where possible and appropriate, we do try to be clear which entity is collecting your information and to explain which entity does what, but there is inevitably some overlap. 

RBGK’s address is Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, The Herbarium, Kew Green, Richmond TW9 3AE. 

The Foundation and Enterprises are both based at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and have offices at 47 Kew Green, Richmond TW9 3AB.

2. What personal data we collect and the purposes for which we use it

2. 1.What personal data do we hold? 

We've described here all the various activities that we may undertake across Kew. However, we generally only hold the personal data that you volunteer or provide to us for use in connection with limited and specific purposes, which are explained to you at the time of collection.  

Some examples of the type of information we may collect and hold about you are as follows: 

  • your full name and your title or an indication of the gender that you most closely associate with; 
  • birth date or alternatively a relevant age range; 
  • postal address; 
  • telephone number(s); 
  • email address; 
  • records of your correspondence with us; 
  • bank or credit card details (if you purchase something from us or donate to us); 
  • donation and gift aid details (if you donate to us); 
  • information you enter into our websites and digital products and details of how you use those websites and digital products, including cookies, (Cookies don't themselves contain personal data, but do uniquely identify your browser and device. More details can be found in our cookie policy at; 
  • dietary, accessibility, and mobility information; 
  • CCTV footage of those visiting our premises and gardens. 
  • Photographs and digital images of individuals 
  • Ticketing information such as date of purchase, date of visit, ticket type, number of tickets and purchase history. 

But we may also collect, hold and process other personal data where it is appropriate and relevant, for example: 

  • details of why you have decided to support/contact us and how you may have heard about us and the work that we do; 
  • details of how you would like to be involved and what you intend to do with the information we provide; 
  • personal data about you that will enable us to be more precise in what we send you or how we approach you; 
  • for purely business-related reasons, including managing relationships with you and partner organisations; and 
  • for market research purposes where you have agreed to take part in a survey, typically around your knowledge and perceptions of Kew or of your visit to Kew Gardens or Wakehurst. 

2.1.1Special Categories or Sensitive personal data

We will only process sensitive personal data also known as special categories of data (eg. in relation to your health), where really necessary.  We will do this with your explicit consent (including where you volunteer it to us), where necessary to protect the vital interests of the data subject, to prevent or detect an unlawful act, or where necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims. Most commonly this processing will arise in our management of a variety of situations, including : managing health and safety incidents, accidents or other complaints, security and the detection or prevention of crime on our premises and carrying out safeguarding obligations to protect those on our premises or involved in our activities. 

2.2.How and why will we use this personal data? 

2.2.1 We will use your personal data to: 

  • provide you with the information, product or service you have requested from us, including such things as admission to the gardens, specific events that we run, merchandise from our shop, responding to your enquiries and requests, attending educational activities and events, and to tell you about our work and our fundraising; 
  • provide you with other information which we feel may interest you.  This may include events, garden features, science or horticultural stories, retail products, catering products, newsletters, tips, updates, information in relation to fundraising campaigns, membership, voluntary surveys or questionnaires for you to complete, details of relevant volunteering opportunities, and details of any promotions and competitions we are running.  We may also send you details of events we think you may be interested in attending; 
  • administer all aspects of being a Patron of Kew or your Kew membership and Wakehurst membership; 
  • analyse and understand how people use our websites and digital products and the products they buy so we can improve and personalise the experience for users and reflect your preferences and previous interactions; 
  • keep a record of our relationship with you; 
  • improve how we communicate with you, how we fundraise, and how we operate more generally;keep in contact with you in the ways that you have requested or agreed to; 
  • personalise our services and communications to you (for example, to ensure that they take into account your age, location and previous involvement with Kew); 
  • provide you with information about carefully selected third party events, products, campaigns and competitions, where we are permitted to do so; 
  • notify you about changes to our services; 
  • administer and process payments you make for products, services and charitable donations made to any of our entities; 
  • verify your identity where required to use some of our services and benefits; 
  • comply with applicable laws and regulations and requests from statutory agencies including for such purposes as health and safety; the detection and prevention of crime and safeguarding; and 
  • carry out any obligations or provide you with any other services, functionality or content which you specifically request or agree to.  

2.2.2 For the avoidance of doubt, Kew does not use personal data for automated decision-making which produces legal effects or similarly significantly affects individuals. However, Kew may use profiling techniques in certain circumstances for the purpose of evaluating personal data to provide you with more targeted advertising and for the purpose of segmenting our database of visitors and supporters so that we can communicate with you in the most relevant way possible. In some cases we use cookies to do this.  Cookies don't contain personal data, but do uniquely identify your browser and device. Our Cookies Policy (at explains in further detail the types of cookies we use to allow us to do this.  

2.3. Fundraising 

Charitable giving is very important to Kew’s ability to achieve its mission.  We carry out a wide variety of marketing activities to seek individuals’ support for our work, ranging from appeals for small one-off donations, to large fundraising initiatives for specific projects, such as building renovations.  We want to ensure that we are contacting you with tailored and appropriate communications, and ensure we direct our resources and fundraising activities as efficiently and effectively as we can.  We also want to communicate with you from time to time to thank you for your support and tell you what we have achieved with the help of your donation.  

2.3.1. Research and profiling using information in the public domain Throughout our history Kew has relied on gifts of all sizes to support both our recurrent costs and for new buildings or projects. In order that our fundraising is appropriate, respectful, efficient and effective, we tailor our approaches to different people in different ways. We use information you have given us, or which may have been passed to us by a third party by way of introduction, sometimes together with data we collect from publicly available sources, to help us decide how best to do this. For a small number of people, we may undertake research using publicly available information relating to their philanthropic activities, employment, wealth and assets to create a profile of interests, preferences and capacity to give.  This helps us understand the background of the people who we believe may be willing to attend events and enter into a dialogue with us to learn more about supporting our work and organisation.  Ultimately it helps us to ensure that proactive requests for gifts are directed to only those who we believe may be able and willing to give. This information is collected from public sources such as news articles, Companies House, the Charity Commission, Who’s Who as well as specialist charity research sources such as Factary Phi, and  Very occasionally we may work with similar organisations (such as other botanic gardens or other charities) to undertake this research collaboratively. If we do collect such information about you, whether jointly or on our own, we will inform you within one month of collecting this information in order to provide you with an opportunity to opt out of your data being used for these purposes. You can also opt out by emailing us on We also have an obligation to ensure we are undertaking appropriate due diligence on potential donors, in accordance with guidelines set out by the Charity Commission and the Fundraising Regulator, and we may collect information from the public domain information for this purpose too.

3. What lawful bases do we rely on to use your personal data?

The legal bases that we rely on for processing your personal data are: 

3.1. You have provided your consent to us using your personal data for a specific purpose: 

We will ask for your consent to use your personal data to send you marketing emails and SMS. You always have the right to withdraw your consent at any time. 

3.2. It is necessary in connection with the performance of a contract with you: 

Sometimes it is necessary to process your personal data so that we can enter into contractual relationships with you.  For example, if you buy a ticket, purchase something from our online shop, or become a Kew member or Wakehurst member (our membership schemes) or a Patron of Kew, we will require your personal data to enable us to perform our agreement. 

3.3. It is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which we are subject: 

This would include where we have to retain certain records, for example, to manage health and safety, for the detection and prevention of crime, safeguarding obligations, for maintaining suppression lists to ensure we comply with marketing laws, for tax reasons (such as those related to gift aid donations) and undertaking due diligence before accepting certain donations or entering into certain relationships. 

3.4. It is within our legitimate interests. 

Applicable law allows personal data to be collected and used if it is reasonably necessary for our legitimate interests or a third party’s legitimate interests (as long as the processing is fair, balanced and does not unduly impact individuals’ rights).  We will rely on this ground to process your personal data where we are confident that this will not impact your rights. 

Our legitimate interests include the following: 

  • raising funds for our charitable work 
  • publicity and income generation, 
  • campaigning and fundraising in order to support our work and 
  • undertaking due diligence to establish the provenance of donations that are made, or may be made, to us. 

The types of activity where we may rely on legitimate interests include the following: 

  • where we undertake initial research on individuals before we proactively contact them, as set out in Sections 4.2 and 4.3. 
  • where you have provided your details to us, we may contact you by post and phone for certain marketing and fundraising activities as set out in section 5 below (but we will explain this to you at the point that we collect your details). 
  • in limited cases, we may send you details of similar goods and services by post, phone or email if you have entered into a venue hire contract with us.  You can opt out of this activity at any time by emailing us on 
  • for the proper administration of Kew, and to manage our operations (for example, maintaining appropriate records and databases, for the detection and prevention of crime and safeguarding all those who access our premises and facilities). 

When we process your personal data to achieve such legitimate interests, we consider and balance any potential impact on you (both positive and negative), and your rights under data protection laws. We will not use your personal data for activities where our interests are overridden by the impact on you, for example where use would be excessively intrusive (unless, for instance, we are otherwise required or permitted to by law). 

Please see section 2.1 above for the limited legal basis for when we process sensitive personal data. 

3.5 It forms part of our “public task” 

As a public body, we are responsible for managing the premises and collections at Kew and Wakehurst.  As such we accession items into our collections ranging from documents, books, letters and correspondence which often have historical value, artworks, to plant and fungi related items such as those which are held in our economic botany collection, living collections and dried specimens within the herbarium.   

Some items will contain personal data within them (such as letters or details of the collector of a specimen) and where items are donated to us, we are also obliged to record details about the donor themselves.  Please note that certain historical items, may relate to an individual who is deceased.  As such the details they contain are no longer legally deemed to be “personal data” and are outside the scope of this notice. 

We process the above mentioned personal data as part of our statutory duties and are required to demonstrate its provenance.  We therefore include public statements of source, including the donor or specimen collector, but do provide opportunities to remain anonymous if preferred.

4. How we collect personal data

We collect information about you: 

4.1. When you give it to us directly 

You may give us your personal data in order to receive information from us; visit our facilities; buy products or services from us including such things as purchasing, administering and renewing membership; when you volunteer with us or take part in any of our community programmes (or request information about these); when you donate to us; when you respond to a survey or when you otherwise engage with us on our websites and digital products. 

4.2. When a third party provides us with your personal data 

Your personal data may be shared with us by third parties in certain circumstances. This may include (but is not limited to) individuals who may purchase gift membership on your behalf, ticket agencies that may sell tickets to access Kew Gardens or Wakehurst or specific events run there, schools or other institutions who work with us or receive our services, by mutual contacts who recommend you to us or buy goods and services on your behalf or as a gift, and by our partners who may host and run events (or help to run and host events) at our premises, or run competitions or prize draws jointly with us.  In some limited cases, third parties may also act on our behalf to provide you with a service. Where appropriate you should check any Privacy Policy of any third party when you provide your personal data to them in order to understand fully how they will process your personal data. 

4.3. When it is available publicly 

We may combine personal data you provide to us with personal data available from external publicly available sources such as Companies House and published articles and newspapers. Depending on your privacy settings for social media services, we may also access personal data from those accounts or services.  We use this personal data to gain a better understanding of you, and to improve our communications and fundraising approaches (see section 3 above). 

4.4. When you use our websites and digital products, such as and 

We may collect personal data about you when you use our websites and digital products. Whenever you input personal data into our website (for example, if you become a member or renew a membership online or otherwise support us through our website, book a visit online or download any of our resources), we will collect the personal data that you give to us. 

We use “cookies” to identify you when you visit our websites and digital products.  Amongst other things this helps us to understand our website users and may enable us to improve the website experience for you and/or other users.  Please refer to our Cookies Policy for details on how and why we use this data at 

We may collect other personal data from your use of the websites, such as your IP address and access times. 

We may link our websites directly to other sites, including for ticket sales to Kew Gardens. This privacy policy does not cover external websites and we are not responsible for the privacy practices or content of those sites.  We encourage you to read the privacy policies of any external websites you visit.

5. Communications and marketing

5.1 We may contact you by post and telephone, and, where you have provided consent, by e-mail, to let you know about our events and activities (and we may also mention those of third parties, particularly where they are collaborating with us or sponsoring our events) that might be of particular interest to you; retail offers and promotions, or about the work of Kew more generally; and to request donations and provide you with information about and the opportunity to participate in our fundraising activities.  In the case of venue hire or group bookings, we may also contact you by post, phone or email to tell you about associated events which support or relate to your venue hire or group booking. We provide the opportunity for you to opt-out from receiving our marketing communications every time we contact you. 

You can opt-out from receiving our marketing communications, or update your contact preferences at any time by emailing: 

5.2 Digital advertising targeting 

We may reach out to users across the internet with adverts for things we think you might be interested in using a variety of digital advertising providers. These could be social media providers like Facebook and Instagram, search engines like Google and Bing, display and programmatic advertisers like Avocet and MIQ or through our email marketing if you’ve opted in to receive marketing emails from us. Please note this list isn’t exhaustive. The following sets out what activities we undertake and some we don’t, many of which are based on cookies and / or pixels.  

A cookie is a simple text file that is stored on your computer or mobile device by a website’s server. Each cookie is unique to your web browser. It will contain some anonymous information such as a unique identifier and the site name and some digits and numbers. It allows a website to remember things like your preferences or what’s in your shopping basket. 

A pixel is a snippet of code that enable cookies to be downloaded to your device. Pixel tags are usually third party tags which identify a device as it browses different websites, partly so that targeted advertising can be shown to the user of that device. 

You can find out more information about cookies and pixels onthe Information Commissioner’s Officer (ICO) website. 

5.2.1 Interest and behaviour based advertising 

We will use certain targeting options provided by the digital advertising providers based on the data they already hold to reach out to users of their platform.  You would see an advert from us only because you fall into a particular demographic, location, interest or behavioural group , not because we have specifically targeted you as an individual. 

To do this we have told the digital advertising provider what type of people we would like to see our ads (for example anyone over the age of 16 who has demonstrated an interest in plants). They have then identified you based on the data they hold on users of their platform. We never see any of your data and are not able to identify any individuals who may then see these adverts.

5.2.2 Cookie and pixel based remarketing 

Third party digital advertising providers may place cookies and pixels on our website where we allow them to. When you visit our website and accept targeting cookies, these targeting cookies will be placed on your device.  Each time you interact with our website it will send usage data about the fact that your device has been used to access our website back to the digital advertising provider. We tell the digital advertising provider which type of users should be shown a Kew advert, for example “any device which has visited a Kew event page”. The digital advertising provider will then  assess their usage data  and send an advert to those users who visited the event page. We never see any of your data and are not able to identify any individuals who may see our adverts. 

You can see how else the digital advertising providers may use this data and find out how you can control how they use your data in the digital advertising providers’ privacy policies and terms and conditions. You can see all the remarketing cookies and pixels that we use on the Kew website and find out more about managing third party cookies in ourCookie Policy. 

5.2.3 Lookalike audience targeting 

We may work with digital advertising providers to identify and advertise to individuals who share a similar interest, characteristic or behaviour to users who have already engaged with Kew’s content, adverts and/or website.  We do this to increase the number of individuals who visit our sites and products by providing digital advertising providers with set criteria of behaviour people may have taken that shows interest in what we’re promoting, for example “people similar to those who have already visited a Kew event page”. They use this criteria to identify a new audience by reviewing who has already engaged with Kew’s content, adverts and/or website and identifying users with similar characteristics. Data which is identified in this way is called a lookalike audience. If a lookalike audience is used, we will never see any data of individuals and will never be able to identify individuals who may see our adverts. 

5.2.4 Custom audience targeting 

Kew does not undertake any custom audience targeting with digital advertising providers or use custom audiences to create lookalike audiences.  We do not share your personal data with any digital advertising providers and this will never be the reason you see an advert from us. But for thoroughness we are including an explanation of what this activity involves. 

Custom audience targeting involves the disclosure of personal data to a digital advertising provider (as opposed to the use of cookies or pixels to identify a device).  Digital advertising providers enable advertisers to share certain customer personal data with them, usually email addresses or phone numbers.  The digital advertising provider then matches the customer personal data to the personal data they already hold on their own users.  The digital advertising provider then send adverts to those individuals who are both customers of the advertiser and users of the digital advertising provider.  

The digital advertising provider may also use this personal data to identify a “lookalike audience” of similar users who have similar characteristics to those within the custom audience. 

5.2.4 Opting out of advertising from Kew 

There are several ways to minimise the amount of advertising you see on the internet and to opt out of any targeted advertising from Kew. Please visit ourCookies policyfor more information about how to update your cookies opt in on our website and how to update your settings with the digital advertising providers.

6. Data sharing

We do not sell your information under any circumstances.  We may from time to time share your personal data with third parties for them to use for marketing purposes or for us to use jointly with a third party where we are embarking upon a joint fundraising project. However, we will only ever do this where you have given us permission to do so or where we are carrying out joint research as detailed in section 2.4.2. 

We may also, in certain circumstances, receive your details from charitable giving platforms such as Just Giving, in accordance with a particular platform’s privacy policy. For example, where you donate to Kew through an online platform, they may then give us your address so that we can write to you and say thank you. Please do review any such policies before giving your data to these platforms, to ensure that you are happy for your data to be shared in this way. 

RBGK, Enterprises and the Foundation may share your personal data between themselves, so if you give your information to RBGK then this may be shared with Enterprises and the Foundation, for example.  Your personal data will only be shared between the entities for the purposes set out in section 2.2 of this policy.   

We work with service providers and other third parties who provide services and support to us to run our daily operations, including providing and improving our information, products and services, and we may share information with them for these purposes only. 

Whilst we may allow our staff, consultants and/or external service providers acting on our behalf to access and use your personal data for the activities we have described in this policy (eg. to provide services or products to you, deliver mailings, to analyse data and to process payments), we only permit them to use it to deliver the relevant information, goods or services, and only if they apply an appropriate level of security protection. 

Sharing for regulatory or legal reasons.We may need to disclose your personal data upon request to regulatory and government bodies as well as law enforcement agencies.  We may also merge or partner with other organisations and in so doing, acquire or transfer personal data but your personal data would continue to be used for the purposes set out above. 

Transmission outside of Europe or via the Internet.The personal data we collect from you may be transferred to, shared and/or otherwise processed by organisations or companies outside the European Economic Area (“EEA”).  Where your personal data is transferred outside the EEA, we will take reasonable steps to ensure that the recipient implements appropriate measures to protect your personal data (for example, by entering into EU Commission approved standard contractual clauses).  

Unfortunately, the transmission of personal data via the internet is not completely secure.  Although we will do our best to protect your personal data, we cannot guarantee the security of your personal data transmitted to or via our websites and digital products; any transmission is at your own risk.  If you have any questions about the international data transfer of your personal data, please contact us using the details below in section 12.

7. Children's data

We may collect and manage personal data about children in some circumstances, such as where children participate in activities at Kew (such as educational and learning activities, fundraising events) or have requested to receive certain communications from us, such as newsletters.  Those aged under 13 are not permitted to receive our newsletters, or enter any competitions or prize draws with us.  We will not knowingly have any other direct contact with those aged under 13. 

Where consent is required to process children’s personal data and the child is under 13 years, where appropriate we shall seek consent from a parent or guardian, or shall ensure such consent is in place before any data is shared with us. We shall only hold personal data about children that is absolutely necessary for the purpose of the event/programme that they are applying for or participating in. 

Where a parent or guardian gives consent on behalf of a child, we may contact that child after their 16th birthday, to check if they wish to maintain their relationship with us.

8. How we keep your personal data safe and who has access to it

We are committed to ensuring that there are appropriate technical controls in place to protect your personal data including protection from misuse and unauthorised access.  For example our network is protected and routinely tested. 

Your information is only accessible by staff, volunteers and contractors who are bound by appropriate policies and procedures to protect your information. 

9. Your rights

Please note that you may only use/ benefit from some of the following rights in limited circumstances.  For more information, we suggest that you consult guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – - or please contact us using the details in section 12 below. 

9.1.Right to restrict processing 

In certain circumstances as outlined in the ICO guidance referred to above, you have a right to require us to stop processing your personal data in a particular way. 

9.2.Right to erasure 

You have the right to request that your personal data is erased from our records in certain circumstances. 

9.3. Right of access 

You have a right to ask for a copy of the personal data we hold about you.  If you want to access your personal data, please send a description of the personal data you want to see and proof of your identity by post to The Data Protection Officer, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AE. 

9.4. Right to rectification 

We also want to make sure that your personal data is accurate and up to date.  Please let us know if your details change.  You may also ask us to correct or remove personal data which is inaccurate. 

9.5. Right to object 

You can also opt-out of receiving all or some of our marketing/ fundraising communications or request that we stop processing personal data about you for certain purposes at any time by contacting us using the details below. 

9.6.Right to data portability 

In certain circumstances you have a right to data portability which means we will provide you (or a third party you nominate) with your personal data in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.

10. Complaints

If you are unhappy with the way in which we have handled your personal data please contact us using the details below. 

Please let us know if you have any queries or concerns about the way that your personal data is being processed by us by contacting us on the details below.  You are also entitled to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office.  For further information see the Information Commissioner’s guidance here

11. Data retention

We keep personal data for as long as there is a need to keep it in connection with the purposes for which it was collected.  We may keep your personal data after a particular matter or exchange has concluded but purely for record keeping purposes and to be able to respond to queries.  In some cases, we are also obliged to retain your personal data to comply with legal or statutory obligations (for example, to keep records of contractual or financial matters). 

Whilst the specific time periods vary depending on the circumstances, in general we will not keep records that include personal data for more than 10 years after a particular matter or exchange has concluded.  In the event that you ask us to stop sending you marketing communications, we will retain certain details, such as your name and email address, but only to ensure that you are not contacted again.

12. Contact

For all enquiries in respect of this privacy policy, please contact or The Data Protection Officer, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AE.

13. Websites and digital products

In this policy “websites and digital products” refers to all Kew websites, including the primary Kew website found at, and all our digital products, such as email, applications and digital channels, including social media.

14. Changes to this privacy policy

We keep our privacy policy under regular review.  This privacy policy was last updated in October 2019.