The RHS Chelsea Flower Show Survival Guide

by Bethany Day on May 14, 2014

RHS Chelsea Flower ShowBetween May 19st and 24th, thousands of people will be heading to London’s Royal Hospital Chelsea for the famed Chelsea Flower Show.

The event is arguably the highlight of any flower lover’s calendar and attendees will want to get the most out of the experience. Here’s our guide to ensuring that your day at Chelsea goes without a hitch.

Plan to perfection

Preparations for Chelsea start in the weeks ahead of your visit. It is advisable you should order a copy of the show catalogue in advance so you can pick which exhibits you don’t want to miss. There’s also a handy map inside which you can use to plan your route around the showground.

Travel plans

It is recommended that people travel to the show via public transport to avoid getting stuck in traffic. The site can be reached by Tube, with the Sloane Square station, which is on both the District and Circle lines, just a ten-minute walk from the showground. For further information on London underground travel, visit the Transport for London website.

For those coming from further afield, London Victoria is the closest train station to the show and there is also a shuttle bus from the station to the showground, costing £4 for a return ticket.

If you really can’t leave the car at home, there is public parking at Battersea Park, but be warned it is first come first served and there are likely to be queues.

Timing is everything

Doors to the flower show open promptly at 8am and you’ll want to be there nice and early to beat the crowds and make the most of the day.

If you’ve heeded our advice and had a peak at the catalogue already you’ll know which exhibits you want to see most, so head to those first to make sure you have time to appreciate them properly.

Popular exhibits this year are likely to include the London 2012 display the Generation Gardens and of course the spectacular Floral Pavilion, so make sure you head to them early as they are likely to get busier as the day goes on.

If the weather’s nice in the morning, you may also wish to whizz around the outdoor displays first in case it rains later on in the day.

Dress to impress

There’s no dress code at Chelsea so feel free to wear whatever you are most comfortable in, but if you are having a special day out, it can be nice to get a bit dressed up.

Smarter gents tend to wear blazers and light trousers, while many women opt for pretty summery dresses with jackets or cardigans.

As a British institution, Chelsea is also vulnerable to the Great British weather and downpours are common so make sure you have an umbrella or waterproof jacket with you.

Make sure your shoes are made for walking

Whatever you choose to wear, it’s important that you team it with practical, comfortable shoes as a day at Chelsea involves a lot of walking. Women should stick to flats or low heels you know you can wear all day.

Remember, there will be a lot of grass and mud around, so slim heels are likely to get stuck.

If you are committed to stylish but uncomfortable shoes, why not take a folding chair or stool so you at least know you’ll be able to rest your aching feet at intervals?

Don’t forget your purse

There’s plenty to splash your cash on at Chelsea from flowers to glasses of Champagne, so if you want to treat yourself make sure you take some cash.

Many of the stalls don’t take card payments and while there are a number of on-site cash machines these will charge for use and queues are likely to be big.

Pick up a picnic or treat yourself to lunch

There are plenty of places to grab a bit to eat at Chelsea, but if you are watching your pennies you may want to take a picnic.

Providing the sun is shining, there are lots of grassy banks and areas you can settle down on to enjoy a well-earned break and re-fuel for the afternoon without having to battle the queues at the on-site eateries.You can even throw in a bottle of bubbly to help create a party atmosphere! Our favourite picnic spot is on the Plateu in Ranelagh Gardens, where you can listen to live music from the bandstand. Heavenly!

Alernatively, there are a wide range of catering facilities is available at the show, offering everything from three-course meals to sandwiches and ‘posh’ fish and chips. The Rock Bank Restaurant is popular with regular visitors and offers a full menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can prebook a table by calling 0844 338 7528 or take your chances on the day. See the full menu for 2014 here.

For more details about the show visit the RHS website.

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Bethany Day

Blogger and online PR guru for Interflora UK. Interested in guest-posting on our blog? Email or connect with me.

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