London is well known for hosting some of the most high profile events in the world. From Royal Weddings to London Fashion Week, London is a hotspot for tourists, artists and celebrities alike. With so much to see over the spring and summer months, it’s no surprise that London’s Chelsea Flower Show could come and go, right over your heads, but anyone visiting between the 21st and 25th of May and staying at the Park Grand London Kensington should definitely check it out. Whether you are a flower enthusiast or are simply looking for a unique way to spend the afternoon, this colourful week of some of the best floral arrangements will no doubt put a spring in your step.
History of the Chelsea Flower Show
Dating back to the year 1862, the Royal Horticultural Society held the first Royal Horticultural Society Great Spring Show in Kensington, before which they had shown displays in their Chiswick base. Whilst the history of the RHS dates back centuries, the first organised showcase was the 1862 event, and after twenty-two years of its running, it was moved to the centre of the city in Temple Gardens. This was due to the areas long spanning history of pristine flowers; its rose bushes having been famous for years. As the flower show grew, more and more marquees were used, and now you’ll find 11 acres worth of flowers, and 157,000 visitors each year.
The modern Chelsea Flower Show
The Chelsea Flower show today is a televised awards-based evet, taking a wide range of categories and takes place at the Royal Hospital Gardens in Chelsea. Here you will find hundreds of gardens, cultivated and designed from both professionals and amateur gardeners. Whilst the show takes place over 5 days, from the 21st to the 25th of May, the first two days are open only to RHS members, and special private viewings are often visited by celebrities and the Royal Family. The event itself is covered by the BBC on national Television, which can even be purchased on DVD.
Awards at the Chelsea Flower Show
There are five main categories in the awards ceremony, as well as a wide range of special awards for unique and outstanding collections and designs. The five main categories are the Flora Gardens and floral exhibit award, the Hogg tree exhibit, the Knightian Exhibit of vegetables, the Lindley Exhibit for special education and scientific interest, and the Grenfell Exhibit of pictures, photographs, floral arrangements and floristry. Special awards vary from year to year but include the Best Show Garden Award, the Best Courtyard Garden Award and the RHS Junior Display Trophy.
What to do at the Royal Hospital Chelsea
The Royal Hospital Grounds themselves are registered as one of the UK’s many historic parks and gardens, and surround a nursing home and retirement home. This idyllic London locale has been up and running since 1682, when it was opened by King Charles II as a hospital retreat for war veterans. Consisting of over 66 acres, the hospital itself is private, but the gardens can be visited by guests at the Grand Park Hotel and other members of the public. Here you will find a wide range of monuments and attractions, including a statue of King Charles II and a beautiful chapel which was designed by famous architect Sir Christopher Wren.