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Chelsea Flower Show

I have never been to the Chelsea Flower Show. I am not going this year, but for the future. Need to plan things out and it is good to be ready when one goes to London. If anyone has been to the flower show, would you please provide details of the show, what you saw, where is it in London, how did you get there. Is it near a tube stop? Is it worth going, is it overcrowded that you can't enjoy it? Or is it worth going to and did you go for more than one day? Did it take all day or all morning? Would you go back? Is the show inside or outside? Thank you for your insight, suggestions, opinions, advice and details.

Posted by
854 posts

If you have the opportunity, go! It's a wonderful combination of outdoor gardens by multiple designers and indoor exhibition halls with masses of flowers. It's busy, but it's spread out enough that it didn't feel terribly overcrowded. I spent a full day there and think I saw everything. There are food tents and vendors selling anything imaginable related to gardening. It's held very near the Royal Chelsea grounds, and if you google the website, there are detailed directions for getting there by tube, bus, and taxi. Do you have a ticket yet? Think that's the tricky part. I bought mine on eBay and met the seller near the entrance, then held my breath til I was through the turnstile hoping I had a legitimate ticket. (I did.) It was a great experience. Would love to go again.

Posted by
5728 posts

I have been numerous times. It's a full day and quite tiring!

There are often queues to get in due to the increased security bag checks compared to a decade ago, but once in, it is a large site. The show gardens are all outdoors and there are several marquees with further displays and one for flower arranging etc. There are often queues at the show gardens, particularly when the BBC is filming for their daily coverage. That's why the day involves so much walking.

It's a good day out if the weather is kind, but most times I have been, I have been dodging showers, when the relatively limited indoor space becomes packed with others all trying not to get wet! The catering provision is poor and there isn't enough seating provision. I usually take a picnic in and sit in the chairs at the bandstand to eat if any are available, otherwise, it's on the grass.

NEVER buy tickets other than from the RHS as (a) you don't know if it's a genuine ticket and (b) touts should not be encouraged.

I am not sure if any tickets are left for this year. I am not going this year, but I usually buy mine in December.

Posted by
2664 posts

Was looking at their of this morning there were all day tickets available for the public for Friday and Saturday, but they are limited, so if you want one better get it today. Ticket sales for £63.00.

Posted by
5594 posts

It's easier to get to on a city bus. But make sure you understand where the main entrance is, and don't get off the bus too soon, just because you saw the "side" of the show area. Dress for drizzle, because so much of the show is outdoors. Plan on long lines for lunch, so I suggest that you settle for a cafeteria-style stop, with one person assigned to cruise for an empty table and grab it while two others buy as much food as they can carry on the tray.

As noted, order your ticket well in advance. If money is no object, consider one of the dozens of hotels that sell a room/Member-Only Day show ticket combination. Presumably its a little less crowded on a Members Only day.

The show is very nice, but not at all like the Philadelphia Flower Show. There is little amateur competition, and the professional exhibitors are vigorously writing up as much business as they can, which slows the lines passing their displays. Many exhibitors specialize in one species, and focus on retail sales, although they have beautiful booths. I write this not as criticism, but as kind of an ironic observation, since Americans are often accused of having a very commercial orientation! (Disclosure: I compete at the Philadellphia Flower Show, where commercial exhibitors are prohibited from doing more than giving out business cards. There, the retail area is completely segregated from the exhibitions.)