The RHS Hampton Court Flower Show is almost upon us – here's everything you need to know about one of summer's horticultural highlights.
When is the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2017?
This year’s Royal Horticultural Society’s Hampton Court Flower Show takes place from Tuesday 4th July to Sunday 9th July 2017. There is also a preview evening on the Monday.
It’s worth noting that Tuesday and Wednesday are RHS members-only days (there is a special offer to join for non-members if they wish to visit on those days).
The show is open from 10am to 7.30pm from Tuesday to Saturday, and from 10am to 5.30pm on the Sunday. The Monday night preview is open from 5pm to 10.30pm.
Where is the show held?
No trick questions here: the show takes place within the grounds of Hampton Court Palace in the London suburb of East Molesey
Where can I get tickets, and how much do they cost?
Each ticket holder can bring in two under-16s free of charge.
Ticket prices if booked in advance are as follows:
Monday evening preview – Members £58, Non-members £68 (price includes parking and one show guide per couple)
Tuesday – £36.50
Wednesday – £31.50
Thursday to Sunday – Members £27, Non-members £32.50
It’s worth nothing that there is a discount for those turning up after 3pm from Tuesday to Saturday, and also that you can buy tickets at the gate – they are a few pounds more expensive that way.
How do I get to the show?
If you are driving to the show, signs will be in place directing you to one of the car parks – parking costs £15 per day (£8 for blue badge disabled parking).
There is a railway station at Hampton Court, with the service taking 30 minutes to run into London Waterloo.
There are also park and ride and river services available – full details are on the RHS website.
What are the highlights?
The show is vast – twice the size of the Chelsea Flower Show – so it’s a good idea to check the complete list of attractions carefully to decide what to prioritise.
For this year’s show, the RHS are running a ‘Gardens for a Changing World’ theme. As an example, extreme rainfall caused by climate change has inspired one exhibitor – 21-year-old Will Williams – to create a display called ‘Holding Back the Flood’, highlighting a natural solution to flood prevention, inspired by the village of Pickering, North Yorkshire, a town prone to flood devastation.
The London Glades garden, designed by Andreas Christodoulou and Jonathan Davies, also looks promising: the garden, which looks wild and beautiful, is based on forest gardening techniques meaning that almost every plant has an edible quality.
Zoflora will have a woodland play garden for children and adults with disabilities such as autism. Accessible and inclusive, the garden aims to reconnect children with nature through play.
The garden resembles a woodland glade, with plants and materials to stimulate the senses of sight, smell, touch, taste and sound.
Among the formal show gardens will be one created for show sponsor Viking Cruises, designed by Paul Hervey-Brooks and inspired by the overseas destinations the companies ships visit.
There are also three theatres which will host talks, demonstrations and workshops.
For children – of all ages – there will be a butterfly dome containing hundreds of different species from around the world. There are all sorts of other children’s activities at no cost, including several faces familiar to CBeebies viewers appearing at the weekend.
What can I buy at the show?
Shopping is one of the key attractions of the show – the RHS claim that more plants and flowers are sold per square metre at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show than anywhere else in the UK.
This year’s Floral Marquee will house 98 specialist nurseries and National Plant Collection holders from across the UK. Six new nurseries will be at the show this year including Ottershaw Cacti (Surrey), selling their rare and unusual collection of cacti and succulents, Palms Exotics (Hampshire), for those wanting to turn their garden into a holiday oasis, and Strictly Daylilies (Cambridgeshire), the ideal plant for first-time gardeners as they need little or no care.