Living with Style, Travel Notes


The Orangery at Kensington Palace

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Kingsington Palace 1

As many of you may remember, I have a great affection for Orangeries; not only my own, but others as well. The exquisite example at Kensington Palace in London may also serve tea, but the first appeal for me was how their Orangery worked within the whole garden scheme at this lovely royal residence.

The first lesson in good garden design was the approach to the freestanding Orangery, which is not on the same level as the Palace but behind and on a higher piece of the property. A zigzag path takes you uphill through a maze of clipped beech shrubs, now a golden brown (another nod to the gardeners–it is for this winter color that many gardeners chose to design with beech, myself included).

At the top of the path is laid out before you a welcome winter-green garden, so peaceful with its gentle three-stepped layers.

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Turning left from the garden gate, a long bower of arched branches sharpens the focal point at the end of the path–the classical Orangery.

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As you get further along the path and the classical details of the Orangery become more apparent, tall columnar clipped trees add a formal note. Wooden benches, interspersed along the path, invite you to pause and break your journey if you choose. It is a gracious gesture that speaks to a garden’s sensibilities.

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The clasical eighteenth century interior is a long, high ceilinged space with dramatically tall windows that make for wonderful views of the grounds. It is not difficult to understand its past as a royal garden pavilion for court entertainment.

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The carved wooden garlands with their floral motifs are a singular break in the all-white space that suggest a distinction to the two smaller, more intimate rooms at either end.

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As you depart, there is a magic to the view that will take you back down the wonderful easy pebble path and through the arched bower…an enclosure that urges you on.

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

8 thoughts on “The Orangery at Kensington Palace

  1. I used to live near Kensington Palace and walked by it many times, but somehow missed having tea there – an oversight that will be remedied on my next visit. I do so love tea at the Ritz as well. This looks lovely – thanks for sharing.

    1. Oh, lucky you…living near Kensington Palace. What lovely walks you must have had!Enjoy your visit to the Orangery…

    1. How are you? And Happy Valentines (belatedly). So lovely to hear from you; I remember our visit so fondly. All best, Bettie

  2. We visit the UK every spring so I am enjoying your posts. Last May we enjoyed a champagne lunch at orangery of Blenheim Palace. Thanks for lovely photos.

  3. I discovered your site on The Enchanted Home and love your posts! Love Newport from when my dad, a naval officer, was stationed there decades ago when I was a child. Since then, my husband and I have returned many times over to enjoy its beauty.

    1. And have you been here recently in the snow? Divine!!Wortha trip up in the winter…so glad you’re enjoying my blog. Thank you.

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