Free Entry To See The Camellias At Chiswick House And Gardens

The organisers have dropped the entry charge for this year's festival

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Free Chiswick House Gardens Tours

Lady Of The Camellias

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The £8 entry fee to see the annual Camellia Festival at Chiswick House and Gardens Conservatory has been dropped this year. For the first time in the festival's history, entry will be free and the organisers are encouraging donations towards the upkeep instead.

Director, Clare O’Brien, who joined the Trust in December 2013, says “We have made admission free to the show this year as we want as many people as possible to come and enjoy our unique collection of Camellias and learn about their fascinating history."

Local people in Chiswick had complained in the past few years about the entry charge which had been defended by the Trust on the grounds that the Camellia Festival was one of their main fundraising events and that funds raised from ticket and plants sales went towards the ongoing conservation of the gardens.

The Camellia Festival will be held from February 28th to March 29th 2015 and this year a limited number of heritage camellias which have been growing on site for around 200 years, will be on sale.

Clare O'Brien said: "We have some rare and beautiful varieties both in the Conservatory and growing outside. We hope people will recognise the importance of our work and give a voluntary donation to support preserving and enhancing the Grade I listed park, enjoyed by around one million people all year for free.”

The Chiswick House Camellia collection is believed to be the oldest collection under glass in the Western world. It includes rare and historically important examples of plants, many 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 on the other side of the globe in Waitangi in New Zealand.

New for this year, the shop will be selling a small selection of plants propagated from 12 heritage varieties in the rare Chiswick House Camellia collection. There will also be other Camellia plants and Camellia inspired merchandise including a limited edition print by Sir Peter Blake, who lives in Chiswick, as well as a tote bag designed by the well-known local designer, Marthe Armitage.

The 2015 show also includes an exhibition on the history of Chiswick’s Conservatory.

Dates: 28th February to 29th March, 2015
Conservatory opening hours: Daily 10:00am – 4pm (Closed Mondays)
Admission: Free
Chiswick House: Special Camellia Show weekend openings Saturday and Sunday 10am – 4pm

January 13, 2015