Chelsea Flower Show & Gardens Tour 2024

Chelsea Flower Show & Gardens Tour 2024

May 20th – May 28th, 2024

‘No gardener would be a gardener if they did not live in hope’ Vita Sackville-West

I haven’t been going to Chelsea all that long, only since 1996. There are many who have gone for more years than I but there is one thing I will say – you must if you are a gardener or lover of plants go at least once! It used to be called the Great Spring Flower Show, first held at the RHS garden in Kensington. Then the garden closed. It moved to Temple Gardens and in 1912 the show was cancelled to make way for the Royal Horticultural exhibition and it was Sir Harry Veitch who got the grounds at the Royal Hospital to take the show in 1913 for this one time – well it was such a success held on these grounds – the rest is now history! Chelsea has stood the test of time and designers and still continues to bring the very best from around the world to our eyes. There are always the show gardens to visit each year…all made within weeks to look like they have been there for years…the excitement of who won what is always there. The huge tent filled to the brim with the most incredible displays you will ever see. Some have shown at Chelsea since it began! I do love the one large tent now – bright, airy and so much easier to walk around. There is always something new to see at Chelsea…you may not agree with it all but it does make you open your mind to the possibility… Then there are all the smaller gardens, the exhibits, the floral displays, and all the shops that sell everything from sculpture to greenhouses to garden gloves…it is truly amazing.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is still viewed as the most important event in the horticultural calendar and is as popular as ever. The new trends constantly appearing at the show illustrate the changing face of garden design and mark this country’s ever changing horticultural history. A new professional floristry competition was launched at the show in association with the British Florist Association and there was a new category FRESH, replacing the old category Urban Gardens.

This year’s choice of gardens that you will visit are some of my very favorite ones…you are sure to enjoy strolling through them, enjoying their beauty and peacefulness….now come along and discover them….and delight in the fact that we are in just one hotel for the entire tour!

PLEASE NOTE that as in previous tours to Chelsea Flower Show, the show and all the gardens we visit are non guided. Once we get to a garden you are free to wander on your own so that you gain the most enjoyment out of it. After 24 years of doing the Chelsea Tour I have found that my guests prefer to visit gardens on their own time and delight in being in the moment in each one….so make sure that if I include a link to the map of it, you visit that link to acquaint yourself with the garden and take a copy for reference. Not all gardens will have maps available as they are going paperless.

If I might add…. I have been watching the prices of so much go up – Chelsea is no exception, in fact the hotels use Chelsea as an excuse to just about double rates,  Chelsea tickets alone are through the roof…so much has gone up including fuel and even our coaches.  It is not just here but Greece, Spain, Turkey! As those who know from past travel with me, I have always tried so hard to keep my prices reasonable and what I would say is that if you have wanted to go but haven’t yet or want to go back, do it soon.  My 2023 tour filled up in no time.

Please Click on Each Day to bring up the Itinerary for that Day

May 20th, 2024 Monday Day of Arrival

Your Hotel… Holiday Inn London – Kensington High Street, Wrights Lane, London in Premium Rooms

After arrival into London please make your way to your hotel. Check in 3 pm and if you arrive earlier they will hold your luggage. Once in your room, unpack that bag and put it away…you won’t need to see it again for 8 nights.

Located steps from Kensington’s popular and stylish High Street, minutes from the nearest tube station and walking distance to London attractions such as Kensington Palace & Gardens, Hyde Park, The Royal Albert Hall, Victoria & Albert Museum, Natural History Museum & Science Museum. The Boulevard Restaurant serves hot full English & Continental buffet breakfast every day, and delicious contemporary European dishes for lunch or dinner.  Also Lounge Bar and Open Lobby Café.

The simplest and most economical way to get to the Holiday Inn Hotel is to take the underground from the London Heathrow Airport at whatever terminal – Piccadilly Line to Earls Court then change to District Line getting off at the High Street Kensington Station where you will find not only Boots but Marks & Spencer with a great food hall. Hotel is a short walk through the back of the station. Note: Stairs at the various stations. If more than one person you may want to share a cab but it is expensive.

21 May, Tuesday RHS Wisley - Welcome Dinner at our Hotel

After breakfast we will leave by coach for our visit to this delightfully plant packed garden. You are free to wander the gardens on your own.  There is so much to see here including the new Welcome Building.  You can see it here…

Wisley was founded by Victorian businessman and RHS member George Ferguson Wilson, who purchased a 60-acre site in 1878. He established the “Oakwood Experimental Garden” on part of the site, where he attempted to “make difficult plants grow successfully”. Wilson died in 1902 and Oakwood was purchased by Sir Thomas Hanbury, the creator of the celebrated garden La Mortola on the Italian Riviera which I have had the pleasure of visiting. He gave both sites to the RHS the following year. Wisley is now a large and diverse garden covering 240 acres. In addition to numerous formal and informal decorative gardens, several glasshouses and an extensive arboretum, it includes small scale “model gardens” which are intended to show visitors what they can achieve in their own gardens, and a trials field where new cultivars are assessed.

We should be there at the perfect time for the Rhododendrons and Azaleas and you will have time to enjoy the gardens on your own and have lunch on your own at their fabulous café with views to the gardens. Be sure to check out the new exotic garden…I love it. The garden will showcase a diverse range of plants, from palms and bananas to vibrant flowers such as dahlias, cannas and gazanias. Providing an alluring contrast from the nearby Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden and Cottage Garden, the oasis will feature more than 100 species originating from tropical areas as far as Brazil and South Africa in an array of bold shapes and textures. A gorgeous place to wander and just be…

Return back to hotel.

Breakfast included, lunch on own and Our Welcome Dinner – 3 courses with glass of wine

22 May, Wednesday Hidcote Manor & Kiftsgate Court Gardens

‘In a house, each room can be quite different to the next, both in appearance and purpose. Each section of a garden can also vary in its appearance and purpose. This is how some of the best landscape designers think of gardens.

Rooms or sections of a garden can be separated by hedges, dense shrubberies, trellis or walls of stone, timber or any other material. The floor of a garden may be covered with gravel, lawn, paving, creepers, low shrubs or even water. The roof is most often the sky; but it could also be the interlocking canopy of large trees or the framework of some other structure such as an arched walk or pergola.

One of the best examples of the outdoor room concept is Hidcote Manor, near Stratford upon Avon in England. Even if you only have a small garden, you can find inspiration in some of Hidcote’s smaller outdoor rooms.

There are 28 distinct garden areas at Hidcote. The series of smaller hedged gardens close to the house are particularly inspiring. Soon after entering Hidcote, most people find themselves at the circle garden. From this point, paths lead in two main directions; one through the Red Borders to the stilt garden, and the other down a series of terraces to the bathing pool garden.’ Café and Garden Center.

Three Generations of Women Gardeners …

Perched on the edge of the Cotswold Hills, Kiftsgate Court is a family home and garden that has been loved and cultivated by the same family for over 100 years. Three generations of women gardeners have left their mark, each building on the legacy of the previous owner. When Jack and Heather Muir bought the Grecian-fronted Victorian house in 1919, Heather, without any horticultural training, started to layout the Kiftsgate garden straight away. Instead of a lawn, she planted semi-formal beds of roses and other flowers, a Tapestry Hedge with a mix of beech, yew and plain and variegated holly, and a Rose Border full of unusual varieties. Heather’s horticultural aesthetic favored the Arts & Crafts Movement which emphasized perennials and plants chosen for their adaptability, including drought tolerant cistus, spiky agaves and other Mediterranean style plantings. She was encouraged by her friend and next-door neighbor at Hidcote, Lawrence Johnston, and other notable garden designers including Norah Lindsay and Vita Sackville-West—who planted the enormous and famous Kiftsgate Rose (Rosa filipes) at Sissinghurst.

Heather’s daughter, Diany Binny continued the family gardening tradition during the 1950s and quickly became an accomplished plants woman. She extended the planting, creating paths and replanting more borders with shrubs and herbaceous plants and re-fashioned the White Sunk Garden with a pool and fountain. Since the late 1980s, her daughter Anne Chambers and her husband Johnny have brought the garden into the 21st century. They introduced plants that flower year-round and are suited to warmer winters. They also created a new Water Garden with a sculpture by Simon Allison, a woodland with plants from the Scilly Isles, an avenue of tulip trees, and an orchard among other features.

Return to our hotel

Breakfast included with lunch and dinner on own.

23 May, Thursday Your Day at Chelsea Flower Show!!

We will arrive at the gates just prior to them opening and once in with show guide in hand, be transported to another world.  It is truly amazing that you are looking at gardens that have just been put together for this show –  you will know what to do first as you will know the tips and secrets of enjoying it… Tips on enjoying this show will be sent prior to the tour.

The show closes at 8 pm but if you wish to leave before that, I will have some ideas for you as well.  You can make your own way back to the hotel at your leisure.  This way you are free to enjoy the show for as long as you like.

the 2023 Show

Breakfast included with lunch and dinner on your own.

24 May, Friday Great Dixter Gardens & Sissinghurst Castle & Gardens

Great Dixter was built in 1910–12 by architect Edwin Lutyens, who combined an existing mid-15th century house on the site with a similar structure brought from Benenden, Kent, together with his own additions. It is a Grade I listed building. (In simple terms, if a building is Grade 1 listed it is deemed to be of exceptional interest and may also have been judged to be of significant national importance. Grade 1 listing is usually reserved for much older and historically-important buildings) The garden, widely known for its continuous tradition of sophisticated plantsmanship, is Grade I listed in the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. Great Dixter was the family home of gardener and gardening writer Christopher Lloyd – it was the focus of his energy and enthusiasm and fuelled over 40 years of books and articles. Now under the stewardship of Fergus Garrett and the Great Dixter Charitable Trust, Great Dixter is an historic house, a garden, a center of education, and a place of pilgrimage for horticulturists from across the world. As you enter the grounds you are struck at the sight of the house, so perfect in every quirky way and the planting is perfectly suited to the timbered façade. As you walk through the various gardens you are in fact walking around the house as well.  Perfectly placed plants surrounding home, barns and oast houses. There is a café and shop here.

Great Dixter

Every gardener I think has heard of Vita Sackville-West and now you are in for another exceptional garden as we visit the home of Vita and her husband Harold Nicolson. They lived at Sissinghurst until 1962, the year she passed away and then in 1967 Harold gave Sissinghurst to the National Trust. She was a prolific writer, poet and most of all gardener. Their history as a couple is really quite amazing and many books have been written on it. The tower is where she wrote novels, plays, poetry and gardening books and is still left as though she was just out for a moment checking something in the garden. They had the most extraordinary life and relationships and both wrote many books…it is worth digging deeper. There is a café and shop here.

Return back to hotel with your evening at leisure.

Breakfast included with lunch and dinner on your own.

25 May, Saturday Your Day of Leisure

In my tour notes to you,  I include lots of ideas on what to do with your day of leisure.  I would suggest that tonight would be the night to book shows or theatre as the tour days are not advised. We just do not know about traffic and I would hate for you to miss an event that you had planned to go to.

Breakfast included with lunch and dinner on own.

26 May, Sunday Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

After a hearty breakfast, we are off to the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. Kew Gardens is a world heritage site and a place of global significance. Kew contains the most diverse collection of living plants of any botanic garden in the world. The collection contains plants from tropical, temperate, arid and alpine climates, and are grown out in the Gardens and in controlled conditions within glasshouses and nurseries. A must visit is the Palm House and the Lily House right next to it…and the Marianne North Gallery for the most remarkable collection of botanical paintings you will ever see…833 paintings from her travels around the world.  The Shirley Sherwood Gallery – the world’s first public gallery dedicated to classic and contemporary botanical art. There are cafes to have lunch or a cup of tea. I will give you plenty of time here because there is just so much to see and places to rest and enjoy being in this extraordinary garden…plus a huge giftshop!

Map of garden – takes a while to download

Return back to hotel with your evening at leisure.

Breakfast included with lunch and dinner on your own.

27 May, Monday West Green House & Gardens & Our Farewell Afternoon Tea!

Now you have seen some extraordinary gardens on this tour and it only seems fitting that the last garden we visit should be West Green House Gardens…it is also extraordinary!! In a beautiful corner of North Hampshire, visit a garden of contrast and inspiration, created by acclaimed garden designer Marylyn Abbott. It is a garden with a special and distinctive sense of place created over two decades by Marylyn Abbott a renowned Australian garden designer whose twin passions for English Gardens and International Opera have created a unique environment. West Green House Gardens combines neo-classical style with contemporary design. A grand water staircase provides a focal point to the Nymphaeum Fountain designed by architect Quinlan Terry. The magnificent Walled Garden, faithfully restored to its original lines, is entered through an arbor of wisteria. An alley of apple trees divides an elaborate potager with its berry-filled fruit cages, annual flowers and colourful vegetables from its signature perennial borders exuberantly planted in subtle hues of mauve, plum and blue. There is a lot more to discover here. There is a lovely gift shop here as well.

To finish off our tour we will also enjoy a wonderful Afternoon Tea in the original Orangery, built in the 1770’s. This is a delightful and enchanting setting, filled to the rafters with plants and garden accessories. The perfect spot to chat and say Farewell….I cannot say enough about this garden, it is truly the perfect ending to an incredible variety of gardens that we have been privileged to visit.. To sit here among the flowers and enjoy Afternoon Tea is just well…magical.

Map of the Garden


Return back to hotel with your evening at leisure or to drag that suitcase out reluctantly and begin to pack…

28 May, Tuesday Your Day of Departure

If your flight is early you can arrange with the hotel to have a grab-and-go bag ready for you.



8 Nights Accommodation at

Holiday Inn London – Kensington High Street

8 Full English Breakfasts

Welcome 3 Course Dinner at Hotel

Chelsea Flower Show – Full Day Ticket Including Show Guide

Visits to RHS Wisley, Hidcote Manor Garden, Kiftsgate Court Garden, Great Dixter House & Gardens,

Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and West Green House & Garden

Farewell Afternoon Tea at West Green House & Garden

Coach and Driver on Each Tour Excursion Day

Tips and Gratuities

Incredible Memories…


We are holding 8 rooms for  either 1 night pre-tour or 2 nights pre-tour and 8 rooms for 1-night post-tour at Holiday Inn

Price per person per night in a twin or double room: 148  GBP

Price per night for single occupancy: 210 GBP

This Includes Full English Breakfast and VAT

Not Included:

Flights, insurance, meals and drinks not noted, items of a personal nature and extra hotel charges such as luggage porterage and daily maid servicing.

May 20th to 28th, 2024

Land package 3150  GBP per person for Twin sharing or Double

For those wanting their own room please add 1300 GBP to above price

Tour is priced in GBP because that is the currency in England.. please convert into your own currency.

Tour is priced in the currency we pay our suppliers at destination. Due to exchange rate volatility, we only convert to U.S. Dollars at time of final payment at the prevailing exchange rates at that time. Your final payment will be in U.S. Dollars

Note: Minimum of 15 must be registered for this tour to run, so please do not book your air until you are notified that we have reached this.


Tour is subject to changes in itinerary but not in date