Here's everything you need to know as Chelsea Flower Show returns for 2021

·7-min read
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

The RHS Chelsea Flower show returns this year for an in-person event, following its cancellation in 2020. The RHS announced this year's event would be moved from May, as was initially planned, to September.

Director general Sue Biggs said: "Whilst we are sad to have had to delay RHS Chelsea and are sorry for the disruption this will cause, we are excited that we are still planning to bring the world's best-loved gardening event to the nation at a time when more people are gardening more than ever.

"We know that the autumn dates may not be suitable for everyone, but with our fantastic industry partners we will do everything we can to support them and create a show that will be a moment in history," she added.

In place of last year's event, the RHS ran the first Virtual Chelsea Flower Show which has returned this year in the usual May slot while we await the main show this Autumn.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Initially, it had been announced that The RHS Chelsea Flower Show sponsored by M&G would return with an in-person event, with many new precautions to protect everyone at the show. These included socially distanced queuing, extra car parking, increased cleaning and waste disposal, and masks in indoor areas.

For the first time in its history, the Chelsea Flower Show was set to run for six days, with a reduced number of visitors each day.

Speaking about the plans in 2020, Sue Biggs, RHS Director General, said: "We plan our Shows 18 months in advance and have been planning and researching how to open the 2021 RHS Chelsea safely and securely for our visitors, partners and exhibitors since April this year. We have taken the time to get all our plans finalised and will now be consulting with exhibitors and supporting them further due to the changes we have had to make.

"As the world’s most famous gardening event, RHS Chelsea is vital for the horticultural industry, as well as having a huge impact on inspiring people to garden and grow, which is so important for everyone’s health and for the environment.

"Whilst we continue to live in uncertain times and May is a long way off, we believe these measures will mean we can safely run the Show, although we will of course be ready to react to any Government advice and if we sadly need to, will offer anyone who has booked a ticket a full refund."

Here's everything we know about the show so far...

When is the Chelsea Flower Show 2021?

The 2021 show, which would have taken place between 18 and 23 May, has been moved to run from 21 to 26 September at The Royal Hospital, Chelsea.

In addition to the new autumn show, the RHS is holding its Virtual Chelsea Flower Show online, during the May show week.

Due to increased social distancing measures and a reduction in the amount of visitors the show can accommodate at any one time, RHS has decided to run the show for an extra day in 2021.

For the first time in its 108 year history, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show will run for six days this autumn.

Photo credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS - Getty Images
Photo credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS - Getty Images

What are the Chelsea Flower Show 2021 opening times

The show opens from 8am until 8pm Tuesday 21 to Saturday 25 September and from 8am until 5.30pm on Sunday 26 September.

Where is the Chelsea Flower Show 2021?

The Chelsea Flower Show takes place in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. Nearest tube stop is Sloane Square, which is approximately 10 minutes walk from the showground.

How much are Chelsea Flower Show 2021 tickets?

Tickets prices for members are from £66.75 and the cost for non-members start at £83.75.

Photo credit: Luke MacGregor
Photo credit: Luke MacGregor

How to get Chelsea Flower Show tickets

Tickets for the Chelsea Flower Show 2021 are currently available to buy online.


Some tickets are only available to RHS members, who receive advance entry to the event.

This year, the show will see 140,000 visitors across six days, compared to 168,500 across five days in 2019. This is due to a reduced number of tickets available per day, ensuring the show can run safely and adhere to government guidelines surrounding social distancing.

How do I become an RHS member?

If you would like to become an RHS member ahead of the Chelsea Flower Show 2021, simply visit the RHS website to sign up now.

You can enjoy unlimited days out in the RHS' five gardens, exclusive access to shows and expert advice, while helping support its charitable work.

Individual membership currently costs from £48.75 per year if you pay by Direct Debit or £65 if not.


Joint membership costs from £71.25 per year if you pay by Direct Debit, or £95 if not.


Chelsea Flower Show 2021 safety measures

The RHS has announced a number of safety measures that will be implemented throughout the Chelsea Flower Show in 2021.

These measures include:

  • Socially Distanced Queuing

  • Extra Parking/park and ride

  • Crowd modelling and increased circulation and space changes to spread popular areas

  • Enhanced cleaning and waste disposal

  • Cashless transactions where possible

  • Increased monitoring to ensure safe distancing amongst visitors

  • Masks in indoor areas

  • Flexible ticket exchange for ticket holder experiencing symptoms

  • Track and trace check-in as per the guidance during show week

There will also be a reduction in the number of closed seated restaurants open. Any restaurants that are open will have spaced seating and table service.

Helena Pettit, Director of RHS Shows and Gardens said: "We’ve consulted with the emergency services and all safety stakeholders involved with Chelsea Flower Show and everyone is confident in our plans and happy with the work we have done. Alongside the additional Covid Safety measures, in-ground daily numbers will be reduced and we are pleased to have been able to add an extra day.

"We are looking forward to working with our exhibitors and contractors to welcome visitors to the Show next year and bringing the world’s greatest gardening event back."

What can I see at the Chelsea Garden Show 2021?

Details of the Chelsea Garden Show 2021 are gradually being announced, with snippets of information and previews available at the Virtual Chelsea Flower Show.

In 2020, the RHS announced Chelsea Flower show would be divided up into sections including the Show Gardens, the Artisan Gardens which showcase modest-sized gardens using special materials and the Urban Gardens, a category which focuses on smaller spaces.

We summarise the 2019 medalists below, or you can see our full round-up of all the Chelsea Flower Show winners.

Photo credit: Jack Taylor - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jack Taylor - Getty Images

The Show Gardens

In 2019, the winner of the best show garden was The M&G garden, designed by Andy Sturgeon.

The Artisan Gardens

The Artisan Gardens are smaller than the Main Avenue show gardens.

In 2019, the Green Switch Garden by Kazuyuki Ishihara, a Japanese-style structure, won the Gold medal.

Photo credit: Tim Sandall
Photo credit: Tim Sandall

Urban Gardens

Urban Gardens was a new category launched for Chelsea 2020, replacing the Space to Grow category.

According to the RHS, the Urban Garden category would: "demonstrate how a modest space can be transformed into a captivating garden."

The Great Pavilion

One of the highlights of the Chelsea Flower Show, the Great Pavilion was due to feature a new section called The RHS Potting Shed in 2020.

Photo credit: Barcroft Media - Getty Images
Photo credit: Barcroft Media - Getty Images

Plant of the Year competition

To mark 10 years of the Plant of the Year competition, in 2020 Chelsea Flower Show named its 'Plant of the Decade'.

The ten past Plant of the Year winners battled it out for the prestigious title in a people's choice vote, and one came out on top.

Taking that top spot was 2015 winner Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum Kilimanjaro Sunrise ('Jww5').

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