Enjoying nature is something so many of us like to do in the summertime. Between picnics in the park and back garden bbqs, we Brits spend as much time as we can outside when it’s nice. However, we often suffer from summer rains, making us yearn for spots that are infused with nature, but aren’t our homes. Since so many Londoners live in flats, it can be hard to escape the summer rains whilst still getting out into nature. That’s where greenhouses come in. From the Barbican Conservatory, to the many conservatories at Kew Gardens, we’re exploring London’s best greenhouses.
Surprising as it may be that this Brutalist behemoth houses one of London’s most beautiful conservatories, it is an incredible space of calm. The Brutalist architecture contrasted with elegant grace of nature makes this space entirely special. Between the koi ponds, the 1,500 different varieties of plants and the fact that it’s open on weekdays now, it’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon. Be sure to book well in advance though since it can become filled up quite quickly.
One of Londoners’ favourite places to spend an afternoon, this Richmond cafe boasts a glasshouse restaurant alongside bougainvillea and jasmine with food from and inspired by their kitchen garden. Whilst this may be a London treat, it whisks you away to a rural farmhouse complete with delicious food, all inspired by nature. According to TimeOut London, it’s also expanded its service to sundown, with its greenhouse lit by candles and festoon bulbs, making it the perfect summer outing.
This Shoreditch staple is known for its stunning panoramic views of the city and its gorgeous collection of citrus trees that fill the space. This restaurant and cafe is the embodiment of the secret garden, complete with shrubbery, wicker chairs, wood burning fires, and gorgeous food and drinks, all inspired by British produce with a twist. Covered overhead and usually heated (except in the middle of a heat wave), it makes it the perfect place to sit and enjoy the summer weather, or escape your house while still being protected from inclement weather.
Perhaps one of the most iconic British gardens, Kew Gardens is unsurprisingly on this list. With not one, not two, but three different conservatories spread across their impressive 300 acres of gardens.
Temperate House, the largest remaining Victorian glasshouse, contains 1,500 species of rare, threatened, and just gorgeous plants from Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific Islands. In 2018, it was voted the Best UK National Treasure, so you know that you’ll have an incredible time wandering through this glass cathedral.
Palm House is essentially a rainforest contained within a beautiful glasshouse constructed in 1844. Kew scientists use this space to cultivate tropical plants that are essential for the world. It’s also home to the oldest potted plant in the world, which has been growing there for more than 250 years.
Princess of Wales Conservatory is a “glassy labyrinth” full of ten different climate controlled rooms, each focusing on a different ecosystem. From deserts, to carnivorous plants, this is the most complicated and intricate conservatory at Kew Gardens. Sir David Attenborough even buried a time capsule full of food crop seed and endangered species seeds to be opened in 2085. If Sir David Attenborough loves it, you’re sure to as well.