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Chiswick House Camellia Festival

1 Mar 2014 to 30 Mar 2014

At location Chiswick House, London, W42RP, United Kingdom

The Festival celebrates these beautiful blooms within the fabulously elegant Chiswick House Conservatory, a 300ft glasshouse designed by Samuel Ware in 1813 for the 6th Duke of Devonshire.

Conservatory and Italian Garden

The Conservatory overlooks the semi-circular Italian Garden, celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. Designed by Lewis Kennedy in 1814 the Italian Garden was considered to be at the cutting edge of horticultural fashion and extravagant gardening. Today it is beautifully restored and will be planted with an early display of Spring flowers to enhance the festival.The Chiswick House Camellia collection, housed in the Conservatory, is a national treasure and believed to be the oldest collection under glass in the Western world. It includes rare and historically important examples of these beautiful plants, with a gorgeous array of blooms; pink, red, white and striped. Many of these are descended from the original planting in 1828. Among them is the unique Middlemist’s Red, originally brought to Britain from China in 1804 by Londoner John Middlemist, a nurseryman from Shepherds Bush. It is one of only two in the world known to exist – the other being in Waitangi in New Zealand.

Visitor admiring camellias at 2012 Camellia Festival

Camellias have enjoyed a special allure.  By the 1840’s, when the Duke of Devonshire’s collection was well established, the Camellia was at the height of its fashion as the luxury flower.  The Parisian courtesan Marie Duplessis, who died young in 1847, inspired Dumas’ La Dame aux Camellias and Verdi’s La Traviata.

Famously, the white Camellia was Coco Chanel’s favourite flower, adored for its regular perfection and classical order of its pure white petals, which became her emblem.

Popular features for the 2014 festival include; an exhibition on the history of Chiswick’s stunning Conservatory and its Camellias which have been rescued from ruin and near extinction in the early part of this Century and experts on hand to give guided tours and advise on every aspect of Camellias and how to grow them.

The Festival Shop will be selling special Camellia inspired merchandise, including a limited edition print of their Camellia japonica ‘Incarnata’ by Sir Peter Blake, as well as a range of varieties of Camellia plants. The award winning Chiswick House Café will be serving a delicious seasonal menu.

All funds raised from the Festival support Chiswick House and Gardens Trust, a registered charity dedicated to the preservation and continued enhancement of Chiswick House Gardens which are open free to the public every day from 7am until dusk.

Camellia Festival 2012




Conservatory opening hours: Daily 10.30 am – 4pm (Closed Mondays)

Chiswick House: exclusive ‘Festival’ weekend openings 10am – 4pm

Advance bookings and information:

Tickets: £8 including free Camellia Show guide.
Concessions: £7

Memberships: English Heritage & National Art Pass £5
Children under 16: Free

For details of discounted group bookings and booking special group guided tours see

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Chiswick House
Chiswick House
United Kingdom

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