Celebrate Thailand at Kew's Orchid Festival
In February, there's no escaping the fact that London is in the throes of winter: the trees of Hyde Park stand bare, creaking pubs stoke their fireplaces and only the heftiest coat will keep you warm. We wouldn't blame you if your thoughts turn to hotter climes, but head to Kew this month and you'll find the best of both worlds. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is unveiling its 23rd Orchids Festival which is dedicated to Thailand. The country has been picked because it has 1,100 species of orchid ('gluay mhai' in Thai).
Orchids are becoming endangered faster than they can be classified and protected. They remain one of the most widely traded plants in the world - in 2015, 42% of the plants seized at Heathrow Airport were wild orchids. This festival is a wonderful way to raise awareness, as well as to enjoy these beautiful plants.
The Princess of Wales Conservatory displays handmade Thai umbrellas and hanging baskets creating a stunning 'orchid palace'. Orchid Lates, the evening events programme, includes traditional Thai dance, cookery and cocktail classes, and learning sessions with Orchid experts.
As well as the finest orchids, the Princess of Wales Conservatory houses plants from 10 differnet climate zones, so dont forget to explore these while you are inside. Highlights include the Titan Arum, one of the largest flowering plants in the world, which emits a disgusting odour similar to rotting meat to attract flies.
Did you know? The Chinese were the first to cultivate and prescribe orchids, hailing their medicinal properties
From the 10 February until 11 March:
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew - Daily : 10am
Adult £17, Child £5