Chelsea Flower Show to reduce visitors but increase days

The world’s greatest flower show is back with increased days and additional safety measures to ensure it is a success

Chelsea Flower Show will return in 2021 but with reduced visitor numbers over more days to keep everyone safe.

We have revealed our plans in detail for the event, sponsored by M&G, which include social distancing measures, fewer guests and – for the first time in Chelsea’s 108-year history – increasing the number of days from five to six.

There will be 140,000 visitors over the six days from Tuesday, 18 May to Sunday, 23 May 2021, compared to 168,500 over five days in 2019. Tickets are on sale now.

Safe for everyone

We have consulted on these plans and believe we can run the primarily outdoor event safely for all involved.

Additional safety measures

  • Socially distanced queuing
  • Extra parking/park and ride
  • Enhanced cleaning and waste disposal
  • Cashless payments where possible
  • Changes to layout and monitoring of visitors to reduce crowding in popular areas 
  • Track and trace check in, led by the latest guidance
  • Restaurants will also be made more open with spaced seating and table service
We have consulted with our Nursery Representative Group about the additional day. We have also written to the nurseries to start wider consultation on the impact and any support measures needed because of the longer show.

Increased support for exhibitors

Sue Biggs, RHS Director General, said: “We plan our shows 18 months in advance and have been planning and researching how to open 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. 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.”

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.”
Some of the 2021 highlights for the RHS Shows at Malvern, Chelsea, Hampton and Tatton have been revealed with more details coming soon.

In 2020, for the first time the festival was held in a virtual setting. You can still catch up on all the best bits here.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.