When: 9th February – 2nd March 2017 (Tuesdays & Thursdays), 6pm – 9.30pm
Where: Princess of Wales Conservatory, Kew Gardens, Richmond
£: Tickets cost £15 or £13.50 for members. Adults only
What is it?
Visitors to Kew can chase away the winter blues and become immersed in an Indian celebration of vibrant colours, culture and magnificent plant life. The tropical paradise of Kew Gardens’ Princess of Wales Conservatory will host the 22nd annual Orchids Festival, from 4th February to 5th March.
As part of the festival a new series of Kew Lates will take place after dark, giving visitors the chance to spend an intimate evening among the hundreds and thousands of orchids and tropical flowers on display.
Experience an evening with immersive sounds from electric violinist Jyotsna Srikanth, inspiring talks, adult colouring in, and interactive workshops. Drop in to the Indian wardrobe sessions or connect with your surroundings at a Vinyasa yoga class. The classes will be 20 minutes long and will take place at 6.30pm, 7.10pm, 7.30pm, 8.10pm, 8.30pm and 9.10pm. They will be a first come first serve basis, with 30 spaces for each session. Spectators are also welcome.
Master the art of cooking with Indian ingredients at drop-in sessions, with famous Indian chef and cookbook author Monisha Bharadwaj. Explore how fennel aids digestion, and how ginger and turmeric can create a special tea. Take some inspiration home with a Henna hand tattoo or a treat from the Kew pop-up shop.
Enjoy everything from chicken malai and samosas, to tandoori salmon rillet and exotic Indian cocktails, which will be available for purchase on the night.
The Orchids Festival promises a vibrant floral extravaganza inspired by an Indian market. As well as the usual visual displays, the sounds of India will surround visitors entering the steamy glasshouse. From the tones of milkmen’s bicycle bells and newspaper boys, to the playful voices of school children, temple bells, and muezzin calls, the Indian street will be brought to life. The festival will feature elaborate floral displays inspired by a typical Indian market, including Kew’s decorative rickshaws. An infographic map will transport visitors from the dreary British winter to the vibrancy and colour of India.
A giant Indian flag created from 900 chrysanthemums will set the backdrop as visitors admire life-sized animal figures including an elephant, peacock and monkey. Phalaenopsis drops will hang delicately from the ceiling, while a beautifully embellished traditional Indian marriage swing will sway among the Vandas, with sari material adding an extra splash of colour.