Friday 14 January 2011

A grand day out in Sheffield 7 - Winter Gardens

Sheffield Winter Gardens is one of the largest temperate glass houses to be built in the UK over the last one hundred years and, at 70 metres long, 22 metres wide and 21 metres high, currently stands as the largest urban glass house in Europe. According to the City website, during the construction of the Winter Gardens, 2,100 square metres of glass, 900 cubic metres of concrete and 80 tonnes of steel were used.

Built as part of the £120 million Heart of the City regeneration project, it was designed by architects Pringle, Richards, Sharratt and consultant engineers Buro Happold and is a 'glulam' design. Glulam is a method by which strips of timber (in this case, larch) are shaped and glued together.

And, under that superb glass roof, the Winter gardens contain more than 2.500 plants from around the globe.

But, enough of the facts and figures. I liked this place. I loved the airy feel of being in a glass house; especially under a bright blue sky. I also loved wandering among the plants, hearing the sound of water and the echo of voices. It's a wonderful oasis in the heart of the city.


  1. I recently read Bill Bryson's AT HOME, in which he discusses Joseph Paxton's Crystal Palace built in Hyde Park in 1850. At that time, it was the largest building on earth - a giant iron and glass greenhouse large enough to accommodate the equivalent of four St Paul's Cathedrals!

    I wonder if the Sheffield Winter Gardens were in any way inspired by this remarkable predecessor?

  2. I loved the winter gardens when we visited a few years ago - the plants are bigger and more lush than I remember them - I guess they have had a few years to mature.

  3. I enjoy visiitng winter gardens like this and tropical greenhouses to see exotic palnts i would otherwise never see in person. This looks so very beautiful and modern.