The 18th century Orangery restaurant at Blenheim Palace has reopened after a £2million restoration.

The glass ceiling has been replaced with timber and slate as part of the project to return it to its original design.

The Orangery serves afternoon teas and Sunday roasts and is available to hire for corporate meetings and even weddings.

The inside has also undergone a complete makeover featuring stunning chandeliers and decor mixing 'contemporary chic with timeless charm'.

Witney Gazette: The Orangery at Blenheim Palace

The restoration team worked closely with Historic England to ensure the work, materials and the architecture remained sympathetic to Vanbrugh’s original design.

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It is believed to be the first type of restoration programme carried out on a Grade I-listed building of its kind.

The Orangery has had various uses over the centuries, including as a greenhouse where oranges and lemons were grown over the winter months, a theatre, offices, an art gallery and now a restaurant.

The Orangery roof was last repaired in the 1970s but the 19th century glass roof came to the end of its natural life and needed entirely replacing. 

Thanks to information sourced from the Blenheim Palace archives, it is believed that The Orangery has now returned to its original design before a fire broke out in 1861. 

Witney Gazette:

Kelly Whitton, head of built heritage at Blenheim Palace, who is also leading the Flagstaff restoration, said the project was "integral to our plan to achieve our 10 year goals".

She said: "The choice to rebuild the roof with timber and slate is due to plans to adapt the building to an ever changing climate and resulting temperature swings, which present a range of challenges for historic buildings.

"Slate combined with modern insulation will be a far more effective insulator than glass, saving energy which is a huge factor in our ambitions to become a net generator of green energy."