London's Chiswick House Gardens Open for the Summer

Here's some happy news from the New York Times: The renovation of the gardens surrounding Chiswick House in west London, which took two year and cost about $20 million, was completed last year, and the gardens are now fully open to the public for the summer season. William Kent took a leading role in designing the 65 acres in 1729, and the gardens are considered among the earliest examples of the English landscape, as well as the inspiration for New York’s Central Park.

A primary goal of the renovation was to protect the many endangered plant species that have grown at Chiswick since the early days of the garden’s existence, the article says, including the world’s oldest collection of Camellia plants outside of Asia and a population of rare cedar trees from Lebanon.

The main house has an "extensive art collection," and there are also a number of performances that take place during the summer, including a candlelit opera gala that starts Wednesday and an open-air performance of Pride and Prejudice  on July 14.

The gardens are open year round, from 7 a.m. until dusk, without an entrance fee. The house is open Sunday through Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are about $9 for adults. This year’s season lasts until October 31.
 
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