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RHS Hampton Court query

Morning all. For those of you who have been to Hampton Court in previous years, what is the difference between going on a members' day or going on a general public day? Is one busier than the other? Is one a better choice? I've never been to any RHS shows before, so this will be my first one, and I'm trying to decide which day to book for.

Also - stupid question coming up - I am really interested in the Carol Klein garden, as I love her and think she's awesome, but is she likely to be there on and off all week do you reckon, or only on opening day? Again, lack of knowledge from having ever gone to shows before! (and realise that probably no-one except her would actually know the answer to this question)

Thank you!


  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy Posts: 6,731
    In principle the members day should be less crowded,  but they are still very busy. The other advantage is ,as it's earlier in the week everything should be fresher, also many growers sell plants all week (unlike  at Chelsea) so popular plants may not be available towards the end of the week. 
    I  would expect CK to be there all week, but not all the time. 
    AB Still learning

  • LG_LG_ Posts: 4,344
    I've been to Hampton Court on both members days and public days and haven't noticed much difference in numbers (there might be a big difference for all I know but Hampton Court is big and there just isn't the intense crowding of Chelsea so it's not particularly evident). Allotment Boy makes a good point about freshness, which could be more of an issue if it's a hot week. 
    I'm sure Carol Klein will be around most of the week but very unlikely to be hanging out in her garden most of the time. 
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,779
    We are going on the second day 

    Happy smiley 158
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • chickychicky Posts: 10,402
    In the past I’ve been to both HC and Chelsea on first and last days.  I’ve never noticed any difference in the numbers of people there on either (I think they just fill the show ground up to capacity - members or non-members).

    However, given the choice I would always go earlier - everyone gears their exhibits to the judges who visit the day before the show opens to “ordinary people “ … if you go later things are starting to look a bit tired 🥱 
  • Anna33Anna33 Posts: 316
    Ah, thank you all, this is really helpful. I really wanted to go on the Weds (same day as @Busy-Lizzie!), but my husband now can't get the time off work, and I was a little bit miffed as this is not the first time - by a long way - that his work conflicts with my plans! It doesn't sound like there's too much difference between days, though, so I'll let go of my petty annoyance!

    And also, thank you for not laughing at my stupid question about CK.  :D

  • LG_LG_ Posts: 4,344
    I went on the last day of Hampton Court a couple of years ago, for no other reason than I hadn't intended to go and then changed my mind that morning. The summer of 2021 was cooler and wetter than those either side, and although it was a sunny day I didn't notice any real deterioration in the plants. As plants are for sale throughout the show I didn't really think about the big sell off, but happened to stay late enough to pick up a few things at amazing prices (5 or 6 Salvias from Middleton Nurseries at £1 each!!!) which was an unexpected bonus. 
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
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