The Kew Gardens Temperate House returns
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has long been a highlight of the sightseeing scene, but the unveiling of its Temperate House tomorrow makes it a must-visit this summer.
Built between 1860 and 1863, the Grade I-listed structure closed for a comprehensive refurbishment in 2013 and is the world's biggest Victorian glasshouse.
The Temperate House is constructed from an iron frame and thousands of panes of glass, under which 10,000 temperate plants grow, representing 1,500 different species. The Victorian ironwork has been restored, the glass replaced and the soaring central area redesigned, to create a grander space.
In order to protect its rare plants, this transformation isn't just superficial. The glasshouse's ventilation system has been replaced, in order to make sure that the plants inside can thrive in optimum conditions. Many of the unusual specimens which grow inside (from regions including South and Central America, New Zealand, Asia and Africa), are under threat in their natural environments.
Director of horticulture at Kew, Richard Barley, explains: 'We hope that every visitor will see plants in a new light, and what a light it will be – when our first visitors swing open the doors, they will find plants encased in a glistening catherdral, the new glass allowing the sun to stream in.'
Entrace to the Temperate House is included with a ticket to Kew Gardens. Daily 10am-7pm. On-the-day adult £17; child £5; charges for special exhibitions. Find out more and book tickets at www.kew.org.