What makes a beautiful conservatory?

A seamless building that fits into your existing property or perhaps a unique design that separates your home from the others?

Whichever your personal tastes or style for your own conservatory, hunting for inspiration can help to influence your design, and enable you to create a space that ticks all the right boxes.

Conservatories are no longer just a ‘bolt-on’ extension to your property. They can transform your home and give you far more than just ‘extra space’. So to help you think outside of the box, we’ve collated a list of the most beautiful conservatories in the UK.

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The Great Conservatory

The Great Conservatory is a stunning glass dome that is nestled in Syon Park London.

As an architectural marvel of it’s time; after four long years of construction, it was completed in 1840 as an exhibition conservatory for the Duke of Northumberland’s exotic plants.

The vast glass house had ponds full of aquatic plants, rocks, mosses, ferns and vibrant tropical flowers that many people had never seen before.

Cape plants from South Africa, New Holland plants from Australia, and Camellias from China, helped to create a worldly garden.

To create a climate that could sustain such exquisite forna, there were eight underground boilers fuelled by coal to ensure the environment remained perfectly warm and humid. However, during and after the first world war there was not enough coal to heat the lavish exotic garden, and many plants died.

The magnificent structure is famous for being the inspiration for Paxton’s Crystal Palace, and while the building was extensively restored in 1986/7, it is still to this day in remarkably good condition.

As seen from The Great Conservatory, sometimes glass alone can provide a spectacular structural vision that is both inspiring and beautiful.

“The proper excellence of architecture is that which results from its suitableness to the occasion … and this principle rightly pursued leads to ORIGINALITY without the affection of NOVELTY” – Fowler



University of Oxford – Botanic Gardens

It’s no surprise that within one of the most historical city’s in Britain, you can find one of the oldest conservatories in the UK.

Well-known for its architectural beauty, the University of Oxfords Botanical Garden was created in 1621 after a donation by Sir Henry Danvers to produce medicinal and alchemical plants for studying.

While the gardens still promote the education of science and nature, the glasshouses that exist today take you around the world with their diverse collection of plants. Offering a great insight into the history of British conservatories.

If there is one thing you take-away from your visit, it will be the importance of harnessing nature within your own conservatory.



The Barbican Conservatory

When you think of modern London, a conservatory may not be the structure that jumps into your mind.

But conservatories are still as relevant and transitional as they were back in the 1800’s. Showing us that their design and architectural beauty still holds a place in today’s ever-changing world.

Located in East London, The Barbican Conservatory, is one of the most recent conservatories, to have been built for public use.

Built in the 1980’s and inspired by the hanging gardens of Babylon, it is home to a plethora of exotic fish and thousands of species of tropical trees and plants.

A hidden oasis in the heart of London, it is said to be second largest heated conservatory in the city and provides a scenic paradise break away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

With tall palm trees, colourful birds, pools of koi carp and a corner of cacti, it can instantly make you feel at one with nature.

Amongst an urban landscape, The Barbican Conservatory is a perfect example of how new and old architecture can fit together so seamlessly.



Wentworth Castle Gardens – The Victorian Conservatory

In 1885 Thomas Wentworth added the iron framed Conservatory to the Victorian gardens in the grounds of Wentworth Castle.

Conservatories grew in popularity during the Victorian times, and many stately homes adopted these structures to attract the public, as well as a show-off the conquests of their travels.

The Victorian Conservatory was renovated in November 2013, after falling into disrepair.

Thanks to generous grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and the Country Houses Foundation, it remains home to some of the most exquisite plant life in the UK.

The planting of the conservatory represents plants from temperature zones across five continents, meaning that no matter the season, there is always something in bloom.

The delicate iron frame and glass structure is still the epitome of traditional Victorian conservatory design and provides a beautiful example of the intricate style that such a basic concept can provide.


The Eden Project

By far one of the most famous modern conservatories in the UK, The Eden project is the largest conservatory on the planet and boasts the world’s biggest captive rainforest.

Located in the picturesque surroundings of the Cornish Peninsula, the bubble-like biomes are nestled in a former clay mine that has been completely transformed to house enormous sculptures and even man-made waterfalls.

Inspired by the word ‘biomimicry’, which describes the process of humans borrowing designs and systems from nature to create their own technology. The architecture is the blueprint of plants, using opposing spirals mathematically based on Fibonacci’s sequence, where every number is the sum of two.

If there is anything you can learn from this magnificent project, it is the fit-for-purpose, future proof, and responsibly sourced materials that truly separate this structure from the others.