Commencing at 8am on the 22nd May and running until the 26th, this year’s show will be taking place, as usual, in the grounds of London’s Royal Hospital, Chelsea.
The Chelsea Flower Show is an annual flower and landscape gardens show hosted by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). Founded in 1804, it’s a charity that aims to inspire a national passion for horticulture, safeguarding green spaces to help transform communities around the country.
The first show, then called the Great Spring Show, was held in 1862 at the (now vanished) RHS garden in Kensington. Moving to Chelsea’s Royal Hospital in 1913, it has remained here ever since. Until the RHS established its horticultural show at Hampton Court Palace, the Chelsea Flower Show was the biggest of its kind in the UK. Although now the second largest, it’s still considered the country’s most prestigious, attracting visitors from all over the world; members of the British Royal family make annual appearances at the show too.
This year’s displays include a host of show gardens inspired by wellbeing (both mental and physical), with green spaces posited as places of refuge and quiet repose. Matt Keightley’s ‘Feel Good Garden’ is a celebration of this; a harmonious balance of plants and stonework ‘puts the garden user at complete ease,’ and conceptualises the therapeutic scope of green spaces.
Guests can also visit the Great Pavilion, which houses impressive displays from the world’s best nurseries and florists.
Visitors are encouraged to take inspiration from the event’s artisan gardens; whether you have acres of land, a small patio or even a balcony, the idea is to weave different aspects of the show into your own outdoor spaces at home. Indeed, the boldly colourful and beautifully creative exhibits always give us the impetus to get green-fingered for the summer.
Tickets can be purchased directly from the RHS website.
The show gardens are open to ticket holders from 8am to 8pm Tuesday-Friday, and from 8am to 5.30pm on Saturday.
Since the event is held in central London, the easiest way to travel to the show is by public transport, though there are a number of options available to travellers.
Sloane square (on the district and circle lines) is the closest tube station, being a 10-minute walk from the showgrounds. Victoria station is the nearest mainline station; for the duration of the show, TFL will operate a shuttle bus service, taking passengers from Victoria directly to the Chelsea Flower Show.
Regular public bus services will be running as usual, with stops located close to the grounds. Bus numbers 19, 22, 319 and C1 stop at Sloane Square.
The Thames River Taxi will be operating a temporary service for the event, with a stop conveniently located at Cadogan Pier; an approximate 15-minute walk to the Royal Hospital.
Visitors travelling by car are able to use a public car park located at Battersea Park, which is approximately 20 minutes’ walk to the Royal Hospital. What’s more, it’s located outside of London’s congestion zone charge. There are set to be more than 2000 parking spaces available from Tuesday to Saturday, though these are offered on a first come, first serve basis.
Alternatively, a park and ride service is available; the cost of this is included in the parking charge.
There are plenty of coach providers offering packages to the Chelsea Flower Show. If you’re planning to arrive by coach, you will likely be dropped off at Battersea Park (coach parking is available here).
When it comes to dining, Chelsea Flower Show guests are truly spoilt for choice. In the showground, you’ll find an array of food options, from vendors selling street food favourites for a quick bite, to pop-up restaurants serving three-course meals. Enjoy fresh and sustainably sourced sea food with a glass of champagne at the seafood bar, or indulge in a floral-inspired afternoon tea served by the award-winning team at the Dorchester. For further details on food and drink at the Chelsea Flower Show, please visit their website.
If you fancy straying from the site for lunch, there are plenty of places within walking distance. Since the iconic King’s Road is just a hop, skip and jump away from the event, you’ll easily find something to tickle your taste buds. Here are a few of our favourite hotspots located just a short walk away from the venue.
Just south of King’s Road, The Phoenix is a modern gastropub serving up a traditional menu that uses ethically-sourced ingredients; sea food is delivered fresh each day from Billingsgate Market. They’ve even created a special ‘Chelsea Flower Show menu,’ whereby you can get 3 courses for £35 or 2 courses for £30.
23 Smith Street, Chelsea, SW3 4EE
Using sustainable ingredients and wines sourced from their family farm in West Sussex, the Gladwin brothers opened their second restaurant after receiving glowing reviews for their first – The Shed in Notting Hill. Luckily, The Rabbit is just a 12-minute walk from the Royal Hospital, so you won’t need to trek across London to sample their rustic, yet thoroughly modern cuisine. We recommend heading here for dinner; their hearty grub and extensive cocktail menu is made to be enjoyed with the cool breeze of a spring evening.
172 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW£ 4UP
The Ivy Chelsea Garden
Known for its beautiful orangery, The Ivy Chelsea Garden offers a mix of classic British comfort food and international dishes. There’s a menu for every time of day (which includes an afternoon tea selection), so whether you want a simple snack or a three-course blow-out, you’ll no doubt find the perfect plate. Reservations are required, so be sure to book your table before turning up.
The Ivy Chelsea Garden
195-197 King’s Road Chelsea, London, SW3v 5EQ
Cited as ‘one of Chelsea’s best kept secrets,’ La Delizia serves classic Italian food in a quaint and cosy setting. The traditional ambience of the place has helped it to become a local favourite (and a supposed celebrity haunt!). The sense of authenticity offered by La Delizia’s food and menu, not to mention its familial atmosphere, certainly makes it worth a visit.
63-65 Chelsea Manor Street, Chelsea, SW3 5RZ
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
An 8-minute walk away from the showground will take you to the famous chef’s flagship, Michelin star restaurant. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay serves up a menu of polished, contemporary French cuisine. As you’d expect, it’s a little pricier (a three-course set menu will put you back £70), but why not treat yourself? You’re in Chelsea after all.
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