Top 10 Original Orangeries.

Published on 20th June 2014

Orangeries are among our favourite structures here at Apropos. We love how they look, the impact they can have on a home, and the history that necessitated their production. If well constructed, they can last for centuries, and we’ve been looking at some of the best of the UK’s earliest trend-setters.

Culzean Castle, Ayrshire – Now known as ‘the camellia house’, the Culzean orangery was built 1818. The style is lavish, in keeping with the rest of the estate, which was used as the castle of Lord Summersisle, in the cult 1973 film, The Wicker Man.

Fota House, Co. Cork – After several years of renovations, the Fota orangery is once more glorious. Constructed in the 18th century, it is a relatively modest size, but with seven arched doorways and a fully glazed dome, it’s a sight impressive, both then and now.

Hampton Court Estate, Herefordshire – Attached to a stunning 15th century crenellated manor house, this charming orangery dates to 1846. It’s claim to fame? It was designed and constructed by a young Joseph Paxton, who would later create Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition.

Hidcote, Gloucestershire – Although the current glass house was constructed in 2010, it is a faithful replica of the original designed by Lawrence Johnston. Known as the Quiet American, Johnston is widely acknowledged as the father of the English Country Garden. His innovative methods transformed garden design, while his plant-hunting expeditions introduced countless new species to the UK, and most will have started British life in the Hidcote orangery.

Kew, London – Once the largest glass house in England, Kew’s famous orangery was constructed in 1761 on behalf of Princess Augusta, the mother of ‘mad’ King George III. Although intended as a place to grow citrus fruits, low light levels made Kew an impractical orangery and by 1841 the fruit trees had been relocated to Kensington Palace.

Knole, Kent – The family home of Vita Sackville-West, a woman infamous for her passionate affair with Virginia Woolf, Knole has many points of interest. While the house dates to the early 16th century, the orangery was constructed in 1823. Double height, with a rare Buzaglo stove for winter warmth, the Knole orangery was as practical as it is beautiful.

Kensington Palace, London – Like so many others of its kind, the gorgeously stately orangery at Kensington Palace is now used as an eatery, but in this case that’s not so far from its original purpose. Built in the reign of Queen Anne, the orangery was created for right royal recreation. In the winter it sheltered tender plants, but in the summer it doubled as a ‘supper house’ and saw many opulent engagements.

Margam Park, Neath Port Talbot – Rumours of ‘wreckers’ surround this beautiful example of eighteenth century architecture. While no proof exists, it is said that the original orangery, from which the current one grew, was created to house a great collection of citrus trees claimed by the Talbot family after a ship carrying gifts for the Crown was wrecked on the coast near Margam.

Tredegar House, Newport – Erected in the early 1700s, the Tredegar orangery was originally heated by hot air ducts concealed in the floor and rear wall, which were fed from a boiler below. This technical brilliance was a mark of the family’s financial and social success.

Tyntesfield, Bristol – This classically styled orangery was built in 1897, then left to decay. A recent conservation project by the National Trust and City of Bath College has seen this beautiful building returned to its former glory and it will shortly be open for the public to view once more.

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