Places to Visit In The UK – Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2015. (25th Anniversary)

With the completion of another successful Chelsea Flower Show at the end of May, the Royal Horticultural Society’s, Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is due to open its doors on June 30 to July 5. This year will be the show’s 25th

The Early Days:

The 1990 and 1991 shows were organised not by the RHS, but by a partnership between Historic Royal Palaces, and the rail company Network SouthEast. Historic Royal Palaces were looking to generate capital for the palace’s upkeep, while the rail company was looking to generate capital for itself.

Laying on trains from London’s Waterloo and other stations, with the porters all wearing carnations in their caps, proved to be a big hit. Network SouthEast claimed to have carried 70% of the 300,000 visitors who visited the show in its first year. Although the second year was equally successful, and included the first British Rose Festival; in November of the same year, the rail company announced it would not be renewing sponsorship the following year.

Enter the RHS. With the Chelsea show at almost full capacity year on year, they were already considering additional suitable venues when Hampton Court Palace came up. Although other sponsors were lining up, the RHS, with its extensive media connections and a million pounds worth of available equipment, won the day and the first Royal Horticultural Society sponsored Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, took place in 1993. 

Since then the show has gone from strength to strength. Although the Chelsea Flower Show is considered the flagship of RHS shows, the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show has now become the world’s largest flower show.

A Few Facts about the Show:

  • With a show ground of 25 acres there’s plenty of room for expansionWives_of_Henry_VIII_gardens,
  • The Floral Marquee covers 6,750 sq metres, larger than a football pitch.
  • It takes an average two weeks to construct a small show garden.
  • The whole show takes three weeks to construct.
  • And just three days to dismantle.
  • The British Rose Festival was incorporated into the show in 1991 and involves the British Rose Growers Association and Royal National Rose Society.
  • The Hampton Court Flower Show is now the largest in the world.

A Few Useless Facts you’ll never Need:

Visitors to the show are likely to consume,

  • Over 48,500 mugs of tea or coffee.
  • Over 14,000 glasses of Pimm’s.
  • Nearly 15,000 glasses of Champagne.
  • Over 15,000 baguettes and sandwiches.
  • Nearly 6,000 muffins.
  • Over 4,000 slices of cake.

Getting to Hampton Court Palace:

Hampton Court Palace is a major UK tourist attraction in its own right. Built in 1514 for the Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, it was taken over by King Henry VIII in 1529 after the Cardinal fell out of favour. Enlarged by the King for his own use, it is one of just two surviving palaces owned by Henry VIII.

Situated in the county of Middlesex, Greater London, it is easily reached by train froLilies_hampton_court_2007m Waterloo Station central London, and other connecting stations, alight at Hampton Court railway station. If you’re travelling by road the area is well served by motorways and ‘A’ class roads from whichever direction you approach. Public London bus routes 111, 411,216 and R68 all disembark at the palace entrance.

Other attractions at the Palace are its world famous maze, a huge grape vine thought to be the world’s largest, and an old historical tennis court.

The Royal Horticultural Society:

The RHS is a charitable organisation responsible for many of the UK’s most prestigious horticultural shows and community projects. As well as the Chelsea Flower Show, and the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, it is also responsible for shows at the Society’s halls in London, Tatton Park in Cheshire, the Spring Show in Cardiff Wales, Three Counties Malvern Spring Festival, and the BBC’s, Gardeners World Live.

Community projects organised or helped by the RHS are ‘Britain in Bloom,’ the ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ scheme and various affiliate programmes.Long_Water 

The Royal Horticultural Society has four of its own gardens in the UK. Wisley in Surrey, which is its headquarters, Rosemoor in Devon, Harlow Carr in North Yorkshire, and Hyde Hall in Essex, a total of just under 2-million visitors pass through the gates of these four gardens annually.

If you’re a keen gardener or you just enjoy flowers and vegetables, and are visiting the UK during the first week of July – try and fit in a day at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. A relaxing day with something for all the family, its ease of access from all areas around the south of England make it a day not to be missed. Ticket availability, more information, and information on other RHS shows can be found on their website.

By edwin.11 (Outside Hampton Court Palace  Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Charlesdrakew (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Darorcilmir (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

David Hawgood [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

David Hawgood [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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