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Chelsea Flower Show

My husband and I are planning to be in Southern England next spring and considering attending the Chelsea Flower Show. I know tickets must be purchased far in advance and the ticket price depends on the time attending. While this is quite different I'm sure, last spring we were at the Keukenhof Gardens and had such a wonderful experience; thus, we are thinking about spring garden and shows. Questions:
1) Has anyone been to the Chelsea Flower Show and can share their experience? Was it worth?
2) What is the best time of day to attend? the best day to attend?
3) How does rainy weather, so frequent in London, impact the show?
4) Are the crowds there, and getting there, unbelievably bad.
We'd welcome your thoughts!

Posted by
2338 posts

3} Rain make the grass grow, without it there's be no flowers and no Show. I disagree rain is not frequent in London, unless you live in a desert, but it is unpredictable. It doesn't impact the Show - it goes on regardless. More likely you'll need sunscreen.

4) The crowds are believably large.

Posted by
1951 posts

We went to the show a few years ago and it was fantastic. Absolutely well worth it. Not cheap by a long shot, but still well worth it in my book. In fact, we are returning to London this spring and changed our dates around a bit to go again. It is extensive and there are many varied, furnishings, model gardens, you name it. We took the tube from our hotel in the Victoria station area with no difficulty, and then a short walk to the entrance.We arrived about as early as possible and spent almost the entire day, and plan to do the same again. We had wonderful weather and can only hope for the same...I do recall some venues under cover. There were plenty of people to be sure, but that's what happens when you host one of the premier flower shows on the planet. I like to think gardeners en masse will behave slightly better than the crowds at an amusement park on $1 Beer Day or a demolitiion derby, but someone might yet correct me. While the show may last for nearly a week, only the last few (2?) days are open to the public...or that was how it worked last time. I seem to recall we bought our tickets online. Also, I think we bought tix from the RHS website, rather than a third party vendor, which would be my preference if I recall correctly. I looked online about a month or two ago but did not see info for 2017 posted yet...will be checking again soon. By all means, if you enjoyed Keukenhof I can only guess you'll love Chelsea as well. I had my first Pimm's cup there, but not my last; had my first mushy peas there, too, but the jury is still out on seconds. Have a great trip!

Posted by
239 posts

Chelsea is always absolutely packed so unless you like peering at show gardens through huge crowds, I'd find some proper gardens to visit. Claremont and Painshill are both very good and reachable by train from London.

Posted by
6383 posts

2)Best day would be the Premium Priced Members Day, bought in a package from your hotel. (Another nail in the coffin of AirBnB.)

3)Bring a rain jacket. This is England. 40% of the show is outdoors.

4)Crowds are huge, brutal to get a seat for lunch. We took a municipal bus from our hotel, get off at the only entrance, in FRONT, not the side.

Main difference from American shows may be that almost all professional exhibitors specialize in a single species, and are permitted to write orders up on the indoor exhibit floor. Competition is secondary to commerce.