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About the RHS Chelsea Flower Show


The origins of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show date back to 1912 when Sir Harry Veitch, searching for a suitable place to host the Temple Show, managed to secure the grounds of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea.

It proved such a good site for an exhibition that the Great Spring Show, which later became known as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, was moved there in 1913, where it has taken place almost every year since.

Today, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is still viewed as the most important event in the horticultural calendar and is as popular as ever. It has grown from 244 exhibitors in 1913 to over 500 today and this year will attract 61,000 visitors from across the globe.
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows
  • Images from previous RHS Chelsea Shows

Did you know?

  • The first RHS Chelsea Show was officially called 'The Great Spring Show', however the name 'The Chelsea Flower Show' quickly caught on.

  • In 1947, to help fill the space left by exhibitors still recovering from the War, a portion of the marquee was devoted to flower arrangements for the first time. Flower arranging became a regular feature. In 1956 it was allocated its own separate tent, known today as the Great Pavillion.

  • All the Show Gardens have been built from scratch in just 19 days and will be dismantled in only 5 days.

2016 Show Times

Tuesday 24th May 8am - 8pm (RHS Members Only)
Wednesday 25th May 8am - 8pm (RHS Members Only)
Thursday 26th May 8am - 8pm
Friday 27th May 8am - 8pm
Saturday 28th May 8am - 5.30pm

Planning your visit

If you are among the thousands of people heading to London's Royal Hospital Chelsea for the famed Chelsea Flower Show this year, here's our guide to ensuring that your visit 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.

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. 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. 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.