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cost of entrance to gardening shows

Hi. My wife and I love gardening and, until a few years ago, enjoyed visiting shows such as Chelsea and Malvern. Sadly the admission prices have now become so expensive we can no longer afford to go. I see the price for this spring Malvern show is a staggering £31 pounds each. How many shrubs and plants can i buy for this. Maybe I am being cynical but has the amount the `celebrities` charge for visiting these shows anything to do with the high prices. OK I know it costs a lot to organise these shows but the rents for the stalls, exhibition space etc must bring in a tidy sum. So, given the price of petrol, a possible overnight stay and the admission fee, my wife and I( both pensioners, the biggest followers of gardening) will sadly again be watching snippets on our TV at home.



  • WintersongWintersong Posts: 2,436

    This is really sad for you Roger and you're not the only one who cannot afford the rising costs although I don't think Gardening shows are the only victim. Think of the upside, at least you will be cosy and snug at home with a cuppa and no crowds when watching the BBC's brilliant coverage of Chelsea etc (with Alan's witty banter thrown in for good company) and treat yourself to a few featured plants at your local garden centre whilst staying well within your budget image And there are always the NGS gardens to visit for a fraction of the price and just as good in display. There's a website devoted to it image

    I'd love to see some of these this year but sadly I have no transport and the nearest one is more than five miles away.

    Anyway, hope that helps you feel better image

  • KoalagirlKoalagirl Posts: 225

    My friend and I just visit one show each year - Hampton Court.  We get there before the gates open and stay until the show closes at night.  Determined to get my money's worth!  I would love to go to some of the others too but, as you say, they are a bit expensive.

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 3,986

    Alpine Garden Society Shows and Scottish Rock Garden shows are about £2.50 to get in for non-members.

    Certainly the big shows are out of my pocket range.

    Mind so are the prices being charged for plants at Garden Centres these days. We no longer buy plants at them,so who make up their customer bases?

  • Paul NPaul N Bearsted, KentPosts: 303


    Think yourself lucky you aren't a football, Formula 1 or MotoGP fan. Their entrance prices are attrocious. I don't like crowds so will almost certainly only go to Hampton Court this year. Other than that we are still National Trust members so Sissinghurst Castle is close to home. And we have the Yellow Book too.

  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892

    What baffles me is that some people visit shows simply to buy tiny items, that they could very easily buy locally, or by mail order. I remember one TV show where Carol Klein was enthousing because she'd bought a packet of plant labels for £1. Perhaps TV presenters get free tickets. But is £31 for a packet of labels really a great bargain, for anyone?

    At one time I used to go to these shows because I could find plants which were not available at my local garden centre. But these days I can find a much greater variety of the plants that I'm interested in using the Internet.

    I used to visit bookshops frequently. But I haven't been inside one for years now, thanks to Amazon.

    I bought a new strimmer a couple of days ago. I used the Internet to find the best price. It was a tools supplier. They had an arrangement with Amazon, so I could pay without even quoting my credit card number. The product was delivered the following morning. The Internet, and superb customer service, have spoilt some of us.

    In my view, garden shows are a social event. It's a day out. It's like taking a mini-break for the day. But it's not an occasion for serious plant buying.

  • I agree, the prices are astronmical, especially when you factor in the cost of getting there and (unless you take your own picnic) the cost of food and drink.  Last weekend my friend and I went to the Newark Garden show....£5 to get in, only 40 odd miles away....rather than go to Harrogate (£16 entrance fee and a lot further than Newark).  We bought some great plants for a fraction of the cost they'd be at Harrogate so we didn't mind getting drenched in the downpours (which I believe they had at Harrogate too).
    I'd dearly love to to go to Chelsea but even being an RHS member and getting a discount, it's still way out of my price range image

  • YviehYvieh Posts: 85

    I've been to hampton Court twice and loved it, but even as an RHS member, it ain't cheap!  Especially if you factor in the cost of petrol, food, drink etc.  And thats all before the plants have taken your fancy and you find yourself handing over more money.  I would never go to Chelsea, purely because of the crowds.  My idea of hell!  Also, the coverage is so good and plentiful on the Beeb, that I'd never get to see so much in person.  I went to the Losley show on Friday.  Very small (no show gardens), but only £3.00 entrance, and very enjoyable.  I intend to do some Yellow Book visits this year, and make more use of my RHS & National Trust membership, which means I get free entry.  If this bloomin weather improves!


  • Paul NPaul N Bearsted, KentPosts: 303

    As Gary said, we treat Hampton Court as a day out, a special treat, so the cost is not so critical. Also we're also pensioners and in all honesty, when my work pension is added to my state pension, I'm not doing badly at all. Certainly more spending money than I had a few years ago and far, far more than when we had small children. We visited the Floriade in the Netherlands a few weeks ago, a terrific disappointment, and not anything like Hampton Court or even our own Kent Garden Show. Bittery cold, the show gardens were almost bare and deserted, and there were very few flowers  to see.

  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619
    I went to Chelsea. Once! Was lucky enough to get freebie tickets for preview day ( had to pretend I was a TV person) but in all honesty I found it more of an endurance test than a pleasure. My sister really likes Hampton Court, but I really don't have that much interest in these huge commercial events. The Yellow Book and some favourite fairly local gardens are much more to my taste.
  • Amazing2Amazing2 Posts: 16

    May issue of GW mag has 2 for 1 booklet.  About 272 gardens over Britain.

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