A Guide To The 2024 Chelsea Flower Show

By Wendyrosie Scott

2 months ago

Get ready for blissful scented blooms and bio-design

Flamboyant florals, dandy designs and precious plants from across the world signal in spring with the sensation that is the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) Chelsea Flower Show. Held annually, the event presents progressive gardens from cutting-edge practitioners that go beyond the decorative and incorporate ecological principles and biodiverse design, where nature and culture combine. And flourishes.

Attracting a global audience and participants, these flowers of the future and past provide solace and hope, celebration and sharing, admiration and inspiration, alongside health and well-being properties. Welcoming thousands of visitors and held annually in the tranquil grounds of the Chelsea Hospital, the show is a tonic for many. Here’s how to enjoy it best.

Visit The C&TH Chelsea Flower Show Hub

Chelsea Flower Show Guide

ILunaria Somerset: Wake the Senses Installation

ILunaria Somerset: Wake the Senses. Installation at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023. © Sarah Cuttle/RHS

What Is The Chelsea Flower Show?

Starting as a pre-war gardening show in a mini marquee in 1913 and evolving into a gargantuan and globally revered platform, Chelsea Flower Show is the premier UK extravaganza to present plant-centred design and all things horticultural. Vaulting way beyond a mere garden show, the events’ eco credentials have risen substantially during the last decade, making it a Mecca for future-forward concepts on sustainability, urban greening and biodiversity.

Gardening is in vogue! And, as an ever evolving entity with many beneficial properties, this will continue to, well, grow. As does the show’s inclusivity, with attendees ranging from royalty to inner-city school children. This year, in fact, the RHS Feature Garden has been designed by children (pupils at Sulivan Primary School in Fulham, to be precise) for children, playfully titled ‘The RHS No Adults Allowed Garden’. Visitors can expect a joyful journey through a magical landscape featuring lush woodland, bountiful meadows and a wetland with vibrant colour and oversized bog plants.

Chelsea Flower Show is notedly innovative and brimming with trend-setting lifestyle ideas. Appealing to ecologist, plant pot gardener and botanical professional alike, as well as creative dabbler or aesthetic admirer. Given the current environmental and economic crisis, it’s important to have an inspirational, escapist paradise, complete with colourful foliage and exotic scented blooms whose impact remains beyond the show. Indeed, annually, contributors conjure the impossible against the odds and elements to deliver imaginative, spectacular presentations which transport visitors to another era, ecosystem, city or futurist scenario. This is Chelsea Flower Show’s gift.

King Charles III at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023

King Charles III at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023. © Oliver Dixon/RHS

What’s On In 2024

As well as the spectacular Show and Sanctuary Gardens, Pavilions and Plant Studios, we are excited to see:

  • The Boodles National Gallery Garden, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the National Gallery and takes inspiration from paintings there including Seurat, Van Gogh and Monet.
  • A Roman Garden by the Newt in Somerset, featuring Roman fountains, architectural features, frescoes and healing plants, honouring gardening traditions in a playful and innovative design, an attitude at the heart of Chelsea Flower Show.
  • The Bowel Research UK Microbiome Garden, looking at the connection between the health of the soil, wildlife and our microbiome and features an edible meadow.
  • The Size of Wales Garden, which will feature unusual plant varieties to highlight the abundance of biodiversity in tropical rainforests.
  • The Planet Good Earth Garden, which mimics a natural forest ecosystem.
  • The Water Aid Garden, which considers a future with less reliable weather patterns.
  • The World Child Cancer’s Nurturing Garden, featuring keyhole gardens saving water and soil nutrients.

When Is The Chelsea Flower Show 2024?

The 2024 edition of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show will take place from Tuesday 21–Saturday 26 May.

The first two days of the show (Tuesday and Wednesday) are reserved for RHS members only. The show is open to the public from Thursday onwards. Note, however, that your ticket must be purchased in advance of the show at rhs.org.uk

Chelsea Pensioner Billy Knowles lends a hand to transform the grounds of the Royal Hospital for the return of the world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea Pensioner Billy Knowles lends a hand to transform the grounds of the Royal Hospital for the return of the world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show. © Oliver Dixon/RHS

Where Does It Take Place?

Since 1913, Chelsea Flower Show has taken over The Royal Hospital Chelsea for one week every year. An Old Soldiers’ retirement home for around 300 veterans of the British Army, residents of The Royal Hospital Chelsea are known as the Chelsea Pensioners, and you’ll probably spot a few wandering around the show donning their ceremonial scarlet coats.

Where To Watch The Chelsea Flower Show On TV

The BBC will be featuring the RHS Chelsea Flower Show on BBC One and Two throughout the show. The presenters for 2024 and the broadcast times are still TBC, but we will update this article when they are announced.

Last year, presenters included Sophie Raworth, Angellica Bell and Monty Don commentating alongside special expert guests such as Adam Frost, Frances Tophill, Arit Anderson and Nick Bailey. There was TV coverage everyday of the festival, with daily broadcasts at 3.45 pm on BBC One and at 8pm on BBC Two, as well as three programmes ahead of the show beginning (on the Sunday evening, Monday day time and Monday evening), and a post-show programme on the Monday following the festival. We expect a similar schedule in 2024.

Visitors enjoying the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023

Visitors enjoying the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023. © Neil Hepworth/RHS

What To Eat & Drink

You can read our full guide on where to eat and drink during Chelsea Flower Show here. Our top picks include:

  • The Drawing Room: Created in collaboration with The Dorchester, The Drawing Room offers floral-inspired Champagne afternoon tea, bar bites and chilled drinks.
  • Champagne & Seafood Restaurant: With a luxury seafood angle, indulge in lunch and brunch in beautiful surroundings, accompanied by a glass of Pommery Brut Royal.
  • The Promenade at RHS Chelsea Flower Show by The Dorchester: In partnership with The Dorchester, enjoy exquisite floral-inspired Champagne afternoon tea created by executive pastry chef Michael Kwan, in the luxurious RHS special dining room.
  • Spring Garden at Chelsea: Designed for private clients and intimate and exclusive groups, this is a stylish space where guests embrace the simplicity and seasonality of renowned chef Skye Gyngell’s food.
  • Cafes, food courts and picnic areas: Perfect for a quick bite to eat, there’s plenty of choice, including an array of vegan and vegetarian options, championing plant-based British ingredients.
The Princess of Wales Kate Middleton visits RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023

The Princess of Wales Kate Middleton visits RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023. © Oliver Dixon/RHS

What To Wear To Chelsea Flower Show

While visitors typically dress up on members’ days, it’s technically a smart-casual dress code. Since the show is predominantly outdoors and with fickle UK weather, perhaps consider an outfit that can be layered up or down. Comfortable shoes are essential!

Check out our full guide on what to wear to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show here

Can You Still Get Tickets?

Yes, tickets are still available and can be purchased at rhs.org.uk

Tickets for Tuesday 21 May and Wednesday 22 May are only available for RHS members, but tickets for Thursday 23 May, Friday 24 May and Saturday 25 May are available to the public. Prices start from £38.85 for RHS members and £47.85 for non-members.

Find It: London Gate, Royal Hospital Road, Royal Hospital Chelsea, London SW3 4SR