Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens: Celebrate the Colour of Colombia

Toucan at the Orchid Festival, Kew Gardens

The unexpected (but very much welcome) sunny weather in London last weekend had me truly wanting to soak up every beam of sunshine. I couldn’t have been happier to have clear blue skies and the regrettable coat choice weather well above the usual crisp degrees this time of the year. So obviously, we did what every Londoner does when the sun emerges from behind the clouds – pack up a picnic and invade the nearest park, or in our case, Kew Gardens (aka Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew).

Coincidentally, the annual Kew orchid festival was on, this time showcasing the world’s most biodiverse country and bursting with surprises in every corner. From February 9th to March 10th, wonderful colours fill the Princess of Wales Conservatory in celebration of Colombia’s remarkable biodiversity and vibrant culture, where orchids represent a key part of the ecosystems of this South American nation. Naturally, walking into the conservatory was arguably the easiest decision I had to make (especially when the entry is included in your pass!).

Looking at an orchid pillar at Kew orchid festival

Hammock and sombrero Kew Gardens orchid festival

Eeeek. When I say walking, I may have meant waiting in line. After an hour long queue (totally worth it, but not so unusual during a sunny Saturday), the Princess of Wales Conservatory greeted us with thousands of orchids and the most beautiful curated route. It was every bit as magical as it sounds.

We soon found ourselves mesmerised by the elaborate arches of orchids, impressive hanging bamboo and stunning floating garden display depicting the legend of El Dorado, where a Muisca chief is said to have covered himself in gold dust before submerging in Lake Guatavita!

Kew Gardens Princess of Wales conservatory outside

Donkey and orchids at Orchid Festival, Kew Gardens

Hanging bamboo at the Kew orchid festival

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew orchid festival poster

El Dorado display orchid festival, Kew Gardens

And of course, that’s without mentioning the detailed floral sculptures dotted around the conservatory. A condor in flight, a hanging sloth, a turtle, a dolphin spouting water, a jaguar and a handful of scarlet ibises made of orchids, among others, make you realise how incredibly talented the horticultural team in charge of the orchid festival display are. That’s of course not forgetting the dozens of facts about the fascinating world of orchids and Colombia’s remarkable biodiversity you learn throughout the display. There are even cacao trees and pineapples!

moss jaguar at orchid festival, Kew Gardens

Sloth hanging at the orchid festival, Kew Gardens

Scarlet Ibis at the Orchid Festival, Kew Gardens

Truth is, this South American country is no stranger to stunning nature. Home to 4,270 species of orchids (1,543 of which are endemic), Colombia ranks as the country with the highest diversity of orchids and birds on the planet, and comes in second overall for plants, butterflies, amphibians and freshwater fish – only behind much larger Brazil, wow!

This enviable biological diversity lies in the variety of biogeographical areas, with a total of 314 types of ecosystems and six natural regions (Caribbean, Pacific, Andean, Orinoquía, Amazon and Insular). From Amazon rainforests, tropical coastal jungles and humid areas to deserts, deep valleys, high-altitude moorlands and even snowcapped peaks, Colombia is truly a heaven of ecological treasures.

bromeliad and ivy arch at orchid festival Kew Gardens

Hanging orchids at Kew Orchid Festival

Dendrobium farmeri hanging baskets at Orchid Festival, Kew Gardens

Pretty magical, right? And when it comes to orchids, these densely diverse habitats are nothing but perfect. Orchids can adapt and grow in all kinds of climates and ecosystems, except the extreme snowy and desert conditions. The majority of them grow on trees and are endangered or threatened due to deforestation. Kew Gardens has been working closely with with local counterparts to help with the conservation of these beautiful plants, and the orchids festival’s spectacular display sure brings Colombia’s rich culture to life.

Orchids and hammock, Kew Gardens orchid festival

Orchids in Royal Botanic Gardens Kew flower pot

Kew Orchid flower festival

Paper butterflies at the Orchid Festival, Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens Orchid Festival Verdict

Kew’s orchids festival was like stepping into a world away from the bustling outside – vibrant, colourful and (despite the humidity in the air that comes with conservatories), unusually fresh! After eventually winding our way out, we were completely blown over by the hundreds of paper butterflies hanging from the glass ceiling. It felt like the perfect way to wrap up a pleasant Saturday morning. I honestly couldn’t recommend experiencing the orchid festival at Kew Gardens enough. If you’re looking for something different to do at the weekend in London, be sure to pop around before the orchid festival finishes.

Have you been to Kew Gardens or Kew’s orchid festival before? Where’s your favourite place to go when it’s sunny? If you loved our post, please leave us a comment and show us some love on social media using the buttons below 🙂

G. x

Kew GardensRichmond TW9 3AB https://www.kew.org/
Mon-Sun: 10am-5pm
Kew Gardens orchid festival runs 9th February-10th March 2019


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41 comments

  1. David Fowler

    Brilliant report and excellent photos. Looking forward to hearing about your next trip.

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Thank you so much, David 🙂

      Reply

  2. Ellie

    I’ve lived in the Kew area of London for a year now and still haven’t been to the Gardens. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things and this looks so pretty! I think this spring I’ll have to put it on my list of things to do in London! Great pictures xx

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Oh no, you need to go! It’s such a nice place for a quick escape from the craziness of London! x

      Reply

  3. Caz

    I’ve never visited Kew Gardens but they look great, I love your photos too!

    Caz | This is Caz

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Thank you! You need to go! x

      Reply

  4. Gemma Tidmarsh

    The photos are absolutely beautiful. How lucky were you with the weather too! x

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      We couldn’t have been luckier to have such an amazing the weather! x

      Reply

  5. Chloe Osborn

    Really informative post and amazing photos! The colours are amazing and I love those sculptures, particularly the sloth! I’ve never been to Kew Gardens but I definitely want to one day.

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Oh thank you! You definitely need to visit Kew Gardens, it’s absolutely gorgeous over there! x

      Reply

  6. Kate

    I saw this on Monday. It was so beautiful. Loved the sloth 🙂 Gorgeous photos.
    Kate X

    Reply

  7. Ros

    I visited the gardens when I was a kid and it was magical then. Glad to see nothing changed.
    xo Ros | ZenHealth

    Reply

  8. Disha

    This looks stunning. I’ve literally been to Kew once, (on a school trip), but I will definitely be adding it to my list for summer! Amazing photos btw – what camera do you use?

    Dear Disha – deardishablog.wordpress.com

    Reply

  9. Rob

    The orchids look absolutely gorgeous! What a wonderful thing to experience.

    Reply

  10. K.M. Saint James

    Are the wooden pools hanging from the ceiling a type of wind-chime?
    Beautiful pictures.
    We don’t have indoor gardens this far into Texas so we’re waiting for just a bit warmer weather to venture out.

    Reply

  11. Sphinxpoesy

    Absolute delight. I’ve never been there but now it’s on my bucket list. Much love❤

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Awe thank you, I’m glad you liked it! x

      Reply

  12. Becky

    Fantastic pictures ! I feel like your photos have taken me there 🤗 I have never visited Kew Gardens but I definitely hope to now. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Wow thank you, Becky! x

      Reply

  13. Liz

    How gorgeous 😍 Really want to visit Kew again!

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Thank you!

      Reply

  14. Laura

    Wow, it’s gorgeous! Unfortunately I missed it even though I visited Kew Gardens right around it 🙁

    Xoxo,
    Laura || afinnontheloose.com

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Oh no! Add it to your list for next year!

      Reply

  15. Rachael

    I neeeeed to go to Kew! I’ve been saying this for years and never got around to it. It looks fabulous though thanks for sharing your experience and lovely pictures! X

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Thanks Rachel! Yes, you have to visit, you’ll love it!

      Reply

  16. Jane Palmen

    Wow – looks amazing and you were so lucky to visit on such a beautiful weekend. Photos are stunning. I love Kew Gardens but have never managed to get there when the Orchid festival has been on. I hadn’t realised there were so many varieties.

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      It is beautiful, isn’t it? Make sure you add the Orchid Festival to your list next year 🙂 x

      Reply

  17. P.S. Don't Read This

    Amazing photos, I love orchids so much. I have never seen them in such beautiful colours. I wish I was in London this week. I will have to go to Kew Gardens, next time I am in London!

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Thank you! Kew Gardens is a must – with or without the Orchid Festival (you still get to see a few around the different conservatories)!

      Reply

  18. Elen Mai

    These photos are absolutely STUNNING! I’m so jealous as it looks like you had such a good time. You can never have too much nature around you – especially when it’s lovely and sunny. x
    El | Welsh Wanderer

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Awe thank you! 100%, I never have enough when it comes to nature!

      Reply

  19. Aimsy

    Wow! Absolutely stunning! What a magical place the orchid festival at Kew gardens is. Your photos are brilliant and really show it off! I would love to visit Kew Gardens one day, it always intrigues me with the beautiful flowers they have on display there. Sounds like it is a great day out too, with so much to see.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Aimsy xoxo
    https://www.aimsysantics.co.uk

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Wow, thank you for the super lovely comment, Aimsy! Kew Gardens is one of my most favourite places in London. Whenever I visit, there is always a flower/plant I haven’t seen before! x

      Reply

  20. Leslie

    How beautiful! What a lovely experience. I visited somewhere similar here in California but it didn’t have as much variety. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Oh thank you! Whereabouts in California did you visit? We are doing a road trip around Cali in September and it would be great to add it to our bucket list! x

      Reply

  21. Kristin Harris/Tales from Home

    This looks so pretty! It definitely seems like a great way to spend a spring day despite the wait!

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      I love it too! x

      Reply

  22. Ruth

    This is such a well written review of your experience and your photos are gorgeous, too! I love how colourful it is. It looks so pretty and seems like a lovely way to spend the day. Thanks for sharing it with us!

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Wow, thank you so much Ruth! It makes me so happy to read such lovely comments 🙂 x

      Reply

  23. Soma

    Thanks for sharing this. I really want to go back to Kew Gardens. Last time I went I was 10 lol. This has definitely inspired me to go sooner now with my hubby.

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Thank you! I hope you visit Kew Gardens soon, you will definitely enjoy it! x

      Reply

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