Updated: Jul 4, 2019
As a RHS member I decided to go to the Hampton Court Flower Show Members day this year rather than the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show. The Chelsea show is normally the place where people want to be seen, have no real interest in plants and spend their time on "the circuit" Ascot, Henley, Wimbledon, Queens, Derby, etc. I have been to many Chelsea shows and do enjoy the show gardens but do not enjoy the crowds that are more interested in the celebrities than the beautiful garden designs. I therefore was looking forward to Hampton Court with its open spaces, easy to get to travel and once outside the showground you could enjoy the palace or a walk followed by a boat trip along the River Thames. Unfortunately,, I had a call which I could not ignore but as the appointment was in West London once finished I could pop into Hampton Court. The journey to the show was horrendous but expected and it took an hour from Hampton to arrive at the car park but a bigger horror was the price of £16. Having arrived at 17.30 I did not really want to pay for an all day parking ticket for just 2 hours but had no choice. I was planning on London transport to Hampton railway station but the prior appointment had meant am expensive car journey in time and money. Entry was in my pre booked members reduced price of £38 so £54 before even a petal was spotted. On going through the gates I was surprised by the number of stalls selling items that were not or even loosely connected to gardening followed by more eateries than you would find in an average high street. The show gardens we also limited and not up to the usual Hampton Court standard. The venue seems to now take the shape of flowers and craft fair combined with a large percentage of catering facilities. The one good area was the plant stalls with some interesting and unusual plants that I couldn't resist buying just as they were closing the show. Then back in the car to merge into a queue with a 30 minute wait to get outside the expensive parking grounds.
As RHS member would I go again - definitely not. As a non member and of the car driving public would I pay in the region of £70 entry, parking £16, programme £5, food & drink and purchases e.g. a scarf, cushion, wine, cheese, jacuzzi or even a plant - NO. I would drive to the local garden centre, park for free and spend the money I would have saved on several plants, a tree or even a forest! #hamptoncourtflowershow #rhs #rhsshows #gardenreview #gardenreviews #rhsmembers