RHS Chelsea 2018
RHS Chelsea 2018

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show Makes Historic Season-Swap

If you've visited the Chelsea Flower Show before, you'll know that it always takes place in the month of May. However, this year, in a historic season-swap, this horticultural highlight has been moved to autumn – to the month of September, to be precise - for the first time in its 108-year history. 

Due to COVID, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show will now be held from 21st - 26th September, giving exhibitors a chance to experiment with new plants and flowers that otherwise wouldn't be available during the usual spring slot. To mark this momentous news, we have designed three brand new holidays that can take you to the all-important event, which this year will look at the positive impact that plants and gardening have on our mental health and wellbeing. 

Helena Pettit, RHS Director of Gardens and Shows said of this year's theme: "Helping and inspiring millions of people to garden and grow for their health and wellbeing is at the heart of what we do, and as so many people have turned to gardening and experienced the positive power of plants during this unsettling year it feels more significant than ever to see this theme highlighted across our shows next year."

So, without further ado, allow us to introduce our brand new Chelsea Flower Show holidays, which are available to book now!

Three brand new holidays and one returning guest-favourite

Behind the Scenes with Colin Crosbie

This unique, specially arranged tour is led throughout by Colin Crosbie, who will give us personally guided tours of RHS Garden Wisley, of which he is a former Curator, and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, with which he has been involved for many years and has visited 28 times. After an exclusive private dinner at Wisley, Colin will also give us a talk revealing the secrets of what goes on behind the scenes at the world’s most famous flower show, as well as anecdotes from his time both at Wisley and as a former Head Gardener to HM The Queen Mother in Windsor, where our short tour ends.

Click here for the full itinerary.

Chelsea Flower Show & Gardens of London

This tour combines the colour, prestige and excitement of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with some of the London’s finest gardens, affording the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of horticultural excellence. The holiday includes a guided tour of RHS Garden Wisley, where the highest standards of practical horticulture are deployed in the setting of a splendid old site rich in fine trees against a backdrop of other plants, all impeccably labelled; a visit to the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew, which is now a World Heritage Site and boasts a unique collection of plants from all over the world; time to explore Ham House and Garden in Richmond, which is an unusually complete survival of the 17th century, where time appears to have stood still; and visits to Chiswick House & Gardens, the ultra-modern Sky Garden and also the Chelsea Physic Garden.

Click here for the full itinerary.

Arts & Gardens of London & the Chelsea Flower Show

This new tour combines the colour, prestige and excitement of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with a stimulating blend of some of London’s finest gardens, art galleries and historic houses. These include the National Gallery, home to countless art treasures; Eltham Palace, which marries mediaeval gardens with Art Deco style; Syon Park, one of the last great houses of London with a wealth of art and Hampton Court Palace, one of London’s must-see attractions. Our tour will be led by horticulturalist, garden design consultant and broadcaster Trevor Edwards, who is one of our busiest and most popular tour managers and has led many garden tours around the world.

Click here for the full itinerary.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show & Classic English Gardens

Our two centre holiday includes visits to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the unmissable gardens of RHS Garden Wisley, Sissinghurst in Kent and Great Dixter. We then head west, breaking our journey at Heale House near Salisbury and Henry Hoare’s famous landscape garden of Stourhead. From our hotel in the West Country we visit the ancient Bishop’s Palace in Wells, the Harold Peto-designed garden at Iford Manor and Hestercombe, one of Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens’ greatest masterpieces. We also have some time in the town of Bath, famous for its Roman baths and elegant Georgian terraces. We conclude with a wander round Tyntesfield, a fine National Trust Victorian country house with a glorious walled garden, before returning to London.

Click here for the full itinerary.

What our fantastic Tour Managers have to say

Colin Crosbie (pictured left), former Head Gardener to HM The Queen Mother and former curator at RHS Garden Wisley is particularly excited about Chelsea taking place during the autumn season, and he told us:

"Chelsea flower show is without doubt the world's greatest flower show. This year will be truly unique with it being held in September rather than May. I’m sure we will see a different range of plants being used in the displays. Chelsea may never again happen at this time of year making it a once in a lifetime opportunity which I am so looking forward to."

If you'd like to experience Chelsea in Colin's expert company, he will be leading the three-day Behind the Scenes holiday, which departs on the 22nd and 24th September. Prices for this trip start from just £695pp, but book before 28th February and you'll secure your place for a low deposit of just £50 as well as enjoy a sale price of just £665pp thanks to our special offers. Find out more about our offers here.

Another of our tour managers, Trevor Edwards, is also looking forward to this new twist for Chelsea, saying:

"I have visited the Chelsea Flower Show for more years that I can remember, for those who have never visited the worlds best known flower show prepare yourself for an experience of a lifetime! For those who have experienced the excitement of the show in the normal date in May, like me, you will be looking forward to enjoying the changes and how the show will differ in the September date! I am really looking forward to managing this Arts and Gardens of London & RHS Chelsea Flower Show, I hope you will be encouraged to join in the fun!"

Join Trevor on our Arts & Gardens of London & the RHS Chelsea Flower Show holiday here.

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The RHS Chelsea Flower Show Makes Historic Season-Swap was published on 22 February 2021