Temperate House restoration

Temperate House

The Grade I listed building is the largest surviving Victorian glasshouse in the world, and twice the size of the Palm House. It houses an internationally important collection of temperate zone plants, including some of the rarest and most threatened. Currently closed for restoration, it will reopen to the public next year.

The Temperate House and its surrounding landscape are closed for restoration until 2018


About the restoration

The Temperate House houses an internationally important collection of temperate zone plants, including some of the rarest and most threatened. Due to its age and the complex internal conditions required to maintain the plants, much of this very special Grade I Listed Building needed modernising. 

By restoring this historic building we are ensuring its conservation, highlighting our botanic heritage, and delivering new cutting-edge displays.

Since the doors closed in 2013 for this five-year restoration project, we have:

  • repaired the entire framework and ventilation system
  • replaced thousands of panes of glass 
  • returned ironwork to its glossy best 
  • restored decorative urns and statuary
  • repaved wide paths
  • transformed the central area into a far grander space

View of the Temperate House under restoration

A unique collection of plants

The glasshouse will house 1,500 different species of temperate plants, including some of the worlds rarest. These include the South African cycad Encephalartos woodii. Only one specimen of this cycad has been found growing in the wild, and has long since disappeared. Today, this cycad (of which there are only males) is found exclusively in botanic gardens and private collections around the world.

With the global challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and food security, these important plant collections will highlight Kew’s role in safeguarding rare and threatened plants from extinction.


Encephalartos woodii

Temperate House facts

  • Designed by Decimus Burton, who also designed the Palm House at Kew
  • Built in 1860 and opened in 1863, the entire construction took nearly 40 years to complete
  • Covers 4,880 square metres, twice the size of the Palm House
  • The glasshouse sits on a 1.8 metre high mound of gravel and sand, the spoil from Kew's Lake
  • Home to temperate plants from the Mediterranean, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South and Central America, Asia and the Pacific Islands

Temperate House illustration

Become part of the Temperate House

The Temperate House is central to expanding our knowledge of a huge range of species, and helping Kew lead the world in global plant science and conservation.

By supporting the Temperate House, we can leave a legacy for future generations of visitors, horticulturists and scientists alike.

Donate today


Aerial view of the Temperate House

Acknowledgements

Kew would like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund, Defra, Eddie and Sue Davies, The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation, The Linbury Trust, The Hartnett Conservation Trust, and other supporters.

Thanks also to donors supporting the Horticultural and Construction Apprenticeships, including the J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, the Buffini Chao Foundation, Make My Day Better, The Ingram Trust, the Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, the Finnis Scott Foundation, the Ernest Cook Trust, CHK Charities Limited, the Sandra Charitable Trust, the Vandervell Foundation, the Radcliffe Trust, the Eranda Foundation, the Worshipful Company of Gardeners, the Lake House Charitable Foundation, the Helen Hamlyn Trust, the February Foundation, and other supporters.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife www.hlf.org.uk.  Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.