Flowers, Fashion, and Flair: Immerse Yourself in Chelsea's Flower Show and Social Scene
A hot ticket for garden enthusiasts and London socialites, this year’s Chelsea Flower Show is already in full bloom.
You don't have to be green-fingered to enjoy the delights of the Chelsea Flower Show. Loved by royalty and everyone who's anyone on the London social scene, each year the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea are transformed into the world’s greatest flower show. Taking place in May, this is one hospital visit you won't mind attending.
2023 marked the show's 100th year, and the first time the Chelsea Flower Show was be held without Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but that doesn’t mean that the royals weren't out in force – Kate Middleton attended the first-ever Children’s Picnic on the show’s opening day, while King Charles was joined by Queen Camilla and other members of the royal family to take in all the beautiful blooms.
In fact, the Chelsea Flower Show has long been the place to see and be seen on London’s busy summer social calendar, with many famous faces enjoying the gardens throughout the week. Fancy joining them? Here were the coolest things to see at the Chelsea Flower Show 2023.
1. Women Were Blossoming
For the first time ever there are more women than men entering the competition, with the new balcony and container garden category for exclusively female designers. Pollyanna Wilkinson’s installation celebrated women in gardening history.
2. Rewilding and Biodiversity
Rewilding and biodiversity are still very much buzzwords, with plenty of gardens that had an eye on the ongoing climate crisis. Darren Hawkes, for example, had rescued chunks of an old concrete floor from a farmyard in an effort to reduce the environmental impact of his garden, with the large, jagged fragments polished and hanging through the Samaritans Listening Garden. Dame Judi Dench also praised a garden created by Cambridge-based charity Fauna and Flora International thanks to its ability to “inspire people.”
3. Best in Show
We loved designer Jihae Hwang’s chromatic Korean-inspired garden dubbed A Letter From a Million Years Past, while elsewhere Horatio’s Garden was named Best in Show. A space specially designed for victims of spinal injury to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature, it’s completed by a stone water feature at one end that adds spaces for wildlife, and a large wooden pod to provide a cocoon for physical and emotional shelter.
What Else Can I See During The Chelsea Flower Show?
As to be expected, the royal borough really goes to town throughout the Chelsea Flower Show, with several squares, streets, restaurants and facades transformed into beautiful flower displays, as part of Chelsea in Bloom.
2023's theme was ‘Flowers on Film’, with participants drawing inspiration from characters and storylines from the big screen. Running until May 27, highlights included an Oscar-themed installation on Pavilion Road, a cinematic celebration at Sloane Square, plus a gorgeous display outside Jo Malone, where a collaboration with Ricky Paul Flowers drew on the Scottish Highlands with wild, fresh flowers including thistles, heather, achillea and lavender, blooming among boulders and rocks.
Where To Eat And Drink At The Chelsea Flower Show
If you're feeling peckish, you can tuck into a fancy brunch at the onsite Champagne & Seafood Restaurant, or enjoy a floral-inspired Champagne Afternoon Tea at The Drawing Room.
Chelsea is also bursting at the scenes with great food and drink options. Book a table at the King’s Road branch of Sticks & Sushi which, as a previous Chelsea in Bloom winner, is featuring a display focused around samurais, a regular symbol in Japanese film.
We also highly recommend The Sloane Club and Sloane Place for floral-inspired cocktails, zero-waste restaurant Rabbit, for a special floral-themed menu that nods to Ridley Scott’s A Good Year, and Stanley’s for fresh British dishes from celebrated young chef Olivia Burt.
How Do I Get Tickets To The Chelsea Flower Show And How Much Do They Cost?
Tickets are available on the RHS website here. They sell out quickly, especially the half-day ones, so make sure you book early!
If you’d rather watch from the comfort of your own couch, the BBC remains the exclusive TV broadcaster for the show.
Getting to the Chelsea Flower Show
The nearest tube station is Sloane Square, which is serviced by both the District and Circle Lines and is a 10-minute walk from the showground.
For those taking the train, head to Victoria Station and take the show’s dedicated shuttle bus from there.
The Chelsea Flower Show is held at London Gate, Royal Hospital Road, Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, SW3 4SR.