The world’s largest glasshouse is open now, and it’s seriously incredible.
They say people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. You definitely shouldn’t do this at the Kew Gardens glasshouse, because a, it’s a total dick move, and b, it’s spent the past five years undergoing an Extreme Home Makeover-style revamp. This is one situation where “you break it, you buy it” will definitely bankrupt you.
Not to be mistaken with Kew’s (also rather impressive) Palm House, the Temperate House has been under wraps for the past half-decade, patiently undergoing a facelift. In the meantime, Kew have splashed out a whopping £41 million to freshen up the 1860s glasshouse, giving it a fresh shine and a new lease of life.
Thankfully, the work is now complete, and the glasshouse is open again from today (May 5th). Upon visiting, you’ll be able to wander amongst the 1,500 different species of temperate plants (that’s plants that grow in mild climates) housed within the glasshouse. I highly suspect that opportunities for a cheeky ‘gram will abound, too.
Even before you get to the plants, this place is breathtaking. The glasshouse is typically Victorian – as you can see from the bitchin’ outfits shown in the illustration above – so a lot of care was taken to restore it whilst preserving the original features. In the process of the largest restoration in Kew’s history, 15,000 individual panes of glass were replaced and 5,280 litres of paint were used. That’s enough to paint four football pitches… Although no-one has adequately explained why you might want to do that.
To walk through the glasshouse is to walk through the plants of Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. Hell of a lot cheaper than a plane ticket to all of those places, too. Some of the 10,000 individual plants housed within are rare or threatened species, making the glasshouse invaluable in the fight for conservation. A noble and worthwhile quest, of course, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to look this good whilst doing it.
Location: Temperate House, Kew Gardens, Richmond, TW9 2AA. Nearest station is Kew Gardens. See it on Google Maps.
Opening hours: 10am-dusk every day.
Entry: included with the price of your Kew ticket, which is £16 for adults.
More information: visit their website.
Featured image: Kew
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Also published on Medium.