Visitors to Kew Gardens will be transformed into a tropical sea of intense exotic colours, sounds and scents as part of the annual orchid festival. 

Plant lovers will explore a hidden world of orchids and tropical plants as they are taken on a journey through time, retracing the footsteps of the intrepid Victorian plant-hunters, right through to their modern-day counterparts at Kew Gardens.

The Princess of Wales Conservatory has been transformed into a sea of colour with a cascade of vanda orchids, drapes of tropical flowers, and a plant-hunter’s camp in the pond area.

Phil Griffiths, Kew’s glasshouse displays coordinator, says: “The orchids have to be ordered and planted at just the right moment for just the right amount of time to catch them at their peak.

“The intensity of their colours, as well as the speed of their life-cycle, will depend on the level of light the glasshouse gets in February, and obviously this varies year-on-year.

“Our challenge is to keep the glasshouse looking magical for a month and while we humans may not like the cold, controversially, the best weather for the plants longevity is crisp and dull with no sun.

“The display’s transience is part of what makes this festival so special, and its beauty depends on both man and nature.”

Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens; February 8 to March 9; £12.50 to £14.50;