VISITORS to Kew Gardens have a week to see Britain's largest surviving Victorian greenhouse before it closes for five years.

The Temperate House will welcome its final visitors on Sunday August 4, before shutting for major refurbishment and restoration works that will last until May 2018.

The building is home to some of the world’s most useful plants, including the South American quinine tree (Cinchona officinalis), historically used as a treatment for malaria, and St Helena ebony (Trochetiopsis ebenus), which for 100 years was thought to be extinct.

The Temperate House has undergone a number of major refurbishments over the years, with the last one commencing in 1978.

A Kew Gardens spokesman said: "Visitors will have a last chance to see their Temperate House favourites and learn how the glasshouse's famous plant collection – including the incredibly rare cycad Encephalartos woodii that is no longer found in the wild – will be cared for and expanded during the restoration. The plants have been potted up and propagated and are ready to move."
 
After exploring Temperate House visitors can take a boat out on the Tutti Frutti lake or take a free guided tour .
 
Other attractions include Waterlily House, home to giant waterlilies which can grow up to two metres across. Tropical wild foods such as rice and chillies will be on show as part of Kew's IncrEdibles festival this summer.