It’s almost here… experience the world’s largest annual flower show in the setting of a historic palace at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival.
Here, you can explore show-stopping show gardens, take photos of the stunning flower displays, watch demonstrations by both celebrity gardeners and chefs around the showgrounds, and get tips on gardening. You can also shop for garden supplies to create your own little oasis at home, whether you’re a green fingered guru or an amateur gardener.
This really is a one-of-a-kind day out for all the family, so we’ve put together some tips for helping you make the most of your visit. If you plan on attending this colourful event, make sure you book your accommodation early to make the most of Shaftesbury Hotels special offers.
Beating the crowds
Run by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) who also manage the Chelsea Flower Show, the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show attracts around 140,000 visitors every year. Therefore, the gardens can get extremely busy, so those with mobility issues or young children may want to consider hitting the main attractions early in the day, or later on if possible to avoid those peak times.
The ‘RHS Grow Your Own’ area from 2018 was a source of inspiration for creating some amazing dishes to impress friends and family, with the help of Raymond Blanc.
This feature lives on, with lots of famous feasting faces on hand to share their tips and tricks for growing your own produce. There’s also an abundance of food courts, stalls and restaurants throughout the show, which cater to a range of dietary requirements.
Exploring with little buds
Unlike its Chelsea counterpart, which bans the under-5’s, Hampton Court has always embraced families. After all, where else will your average 10-year-old get the chance to see Olympic-themed scarecrows, tropical butterflies, and human dancing flowers?
The scarecrows, designed by school children and located near the Palace Garden Gate on the north side of the show ground, are a good place to start. Adults can bring two children under 16 free of charge, no ticket is required. There are a range of activities to keep children entertained at the show, which are updated on the website.
The RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival is held in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace in East Molesey, Surrey.
The majority of visitors choose to travel to the show by road or by rail and the address is Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU.
It’s also really accessible from the Park Grand London Kensington Hotel by train. There are also a number of coach companies that provide excellent travel options, too.
Hone in your skills at a workshop
There’ll be experts galore at the show, all on-hand to teach you new and exciting skills and crafts that you can use throughout your home, garden and beyond.
Why not create your own terrarium, or craft a flower crown, or gather a few ideas to spruce up your garden? Head to one of the many talks and workshops to learn something new and take something home.
Take care of your wellbeing
One of the most positive experiences you can have at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is to simply relax and enjoy the serene surroundings. The team behind the show are dedicated to showcasing just how beneficial the power of plants can be to our mental health.
That means you can expect to find interactive spaces where you can take time out and find a moment’s peace, harnessing the plants to boost your mental wellbeing. There’ll also be plenty of demos to get involved with, revealing the huge wealth of health benefits that plants can have.
Enjoy some live music
Because it’s not just about plants and food!
Pack a picnic and enjoy some live music on the new floating stage. This feature is brand new for 2019 and will feature a lively schedule of music and entertainment all day long, for everyone to enjoy.
Relax in the sunshine (hopefully!) to performances from the likes of Soul Brothers, Brass Funkies and the Westend Musical Choir.
A garden fit for a Duchess
One of the most famous aspects of the event is the connection to the royal family, with the royals attending each year.
This year is a special time for the show, as HRH The Duchess of Cambridge will be co-designing a garden for the festival in 2019 with award-winning landscape architects Andrée Davies and Adam White.
It will follow a design debut from The Duchess and team at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. The RHS Back to Nature Garden will be redesigned for visitors to enjoy at Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival before finding a home at RHS Garden Wisley.
Join the RHS membership club
Enjoy unlimited days out in the society’s four gardens, exclusive access to shows and expert advice, all while helping to support their extensive charitable work throughout the year.
Memberships range from annual individual, to joint life, and there are event options for students, seniors and to purchase as gifts. You can save on tickets to the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival by taking advantage of the many different offers on the website. Proceeds from all ticket sales support the charitable work of the RHS.
E-Tickets can be purchased online at the advance rate up to midnight the night before the show. You may need to be prepared to queue if buying or collecting tickets on the day of the show.
The onsite box office will be open Tuesday to Saturday: 9 AM – 7 PM, Sunday: 9 AM – 4.30 PM.
Pick plants for pollinators
Saving the bees is a hot topic at the moment, and rightly so.
Discover the Master Grower at this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival. Downderry Nursery is based in Kent and is a specialist in growing lavender and rosemary. You’ll find it difficult to resist the aromatic plants on Downderry’s display and can discover the best species to keep your garden a lovely purple hue all summer long.
One thing’s for certain – the pollinators in your garden will thank you for it!