Right before the Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens ended, I managed to visit it. As its a bit too late, I won’t be making a complete guide to the gardens or the festival. But here are some tips if you’re a first timer and planning to visit the festival this weekend:
BUY YOUR TICKETS ONLINE. The tickets are cheaper if you buy them online. Also if you’re a student, make sure you make full use of your ID. Tickets are much cheaper for students. If you’re buying tickets at the gate, make sure you carry your ID.
The weather hasn’t been very generous in the past few days and doesn’t look like is going to be in the few days either. Wear a puffer jacket to save yourself from the dreaded “light showers” and cold winds of London. Carry an umbrella if possible and wear comfortable shoes as you’ll have to walk a lot.
The garden might be colder than other parts of the city so make sure you’re well insulated.
Photography is allowed in all parts. Just make sure your camera doesn’t fog up in the glass houses as it is highly likely (it happened to me). Keep your phone ready in such cases. Also, be prepared for a REALLY crowded conservatory. You might not be able to get your blogger like pictures easily as everyone has to walk around (duh). Try to arrive in the garden during the morning to be able to fully enjoy and experience the festival.
This year, Kew Gardens celebrates the “Colour of Colombia” with the Orchids of Colombia. Colombia is the country that has the largest number of species of Orchids in the world. (Fun fact: Orchids is the national flower of Colombia). This diversity of orchids was left unnoticed until this year when Kew Gardens decided to collect some of them and set up a festival entirely dedicated to them. And in the process, they also discovered several new species!
The festival is set up in the Princess of Wales Conservatory in Kew Gardens. And it’s more than just a display of these vibrant, beautiful flowers. You get to watch a short film on these orchids and the research of the garden’s scientists on them. You can also be a part of several other activities like “Behind the scenes tours”, “Orchid After Hours”, “Orchids at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery” and “Half-term fun”. The pop-up shop in the garden also has tons of stuff to buy. So much so that you will find it hard to leave the shop empty-handed, there’s something for everyone- from scarves, hats, books, chocolates, decor and orchids!
The cafe in the garden also has special Colombian cuisine available- from street food, arepas with beef, chicken, spiced bean, barley soup, aubergine stew, baked plantain, and Colombian coffee- it’s all there! The garden also has a special treat for all of you sweet-tooths (teeth?). The famous Gail Bakery serves a delectable chocolate cookie made using 65% Colombian chocolate which is available at all of its branches across London.
Princess of Wales Conservatory is this beautiful two-storeyed glass house which had been decorated with orchids in pillars, gates and pretty much everywhere you could see. Along with these setups, you will also find some unusual sculptures of a toucan at the entrance and a sloth and turtle in the latter parts. The conservatory is a treat to the eyes, a paradise. I could almost feel like I had entered Rivendell (although the beautiful elves were missing).
Do let me know about your experiences at the festival or the garden in the comments section!