Gardeners World Live

Is anyone going to the NEC for the show?   I've been for the last 3 years and love it.

However I would prefer it to be just gardeneing and not food.




  • I'm going this year after a 3 year gap.....I don't mind the good food show.....saves packing a picnic image

  • We are thinking of going, is it worth a two hour drive to get there?


  • Yes Steve, it's well worth a 2 hour drive image

  • pavery026pavery026 Posts: 75
    I've been going for at least 3 years, and will be there this year. Mixed thoughts on the good food section, it's ok but it would be better if they kept the garden bit the same size as it was before the food section, and open another hall. It's still well worth the visit and a 2 hour drive. It takes me the same time a word of caution I have nobody to share the driving with so it can be very exhausting to drive both ways and walk round. So leave plenty of time to get back home.
  • I really enjoyed the show last year, but the highlight of the show for my Son was when he got to meet Simon King.

  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 848

    Are there any free tickets available from anywhere this year?

  • tattiannatattianna Posts: 174

    It's my first time this year and I'm really looking forward to it.


    Lead Farmer...don't know about any free tickets but you can save 10% by quoting the code GWNE. 

  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 848

    Thanks, Ill be paying at the gate so I guess its full price then?

  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 848
    Well im at GW Live right now and what a disappointment, much smaller than when i last came in 2008. Empty spaces in the halls as if theres a lack of exhibitors? Hardly anything to see in my opinion. Spent most of my time in the Good Food Show.

    Not many crowds either, which is either a good thing or an indication of a poor show? Just my thoughts.
  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892
    LeadFarmer wrote (see)
    Well im at GW Live right now .... Just my thoughts.

    Thanks for the informed feedback.

    The last time I went I found it disappointing, compared to some former years. I found myself buying stuff I didn't need, just to to avoid coming back empty-handed.

    I was wondering if things might have improved at all, and wondering whether to go this year, or not. You've answered my question.

    You've saved me £30. Thanks.

  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 848
    Gary, ill do you a deal. My ticket cost ??24 on the gate. Send me ??12 and then we have both saved 50% ?
  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892

    Well you've actually saved me a lot more than £30 (that's the £24 entrance, plus £7 car park, or whatever the car park fee is). Don't tell me that parking is now free.

    Whatever, the main saving from not going comes from what I would have squandered on stuff I don't really need - silly impulse purchases that I later regret.

    So make that a saving of £200.


  • tattiannatattianna Posts: 174

    Oh dear not what I wanted to hear but as I've not been before I'll keep reminding myself of "nothing ventured, nothing gained" 

    Is it all under cover or will I require a waterproof coat & wellies? image 

  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892

    If you haven't been before, and maybe haven't been to any other shows, then it is probably worth going.

    People like Lead Farmer and myself have been several times before, and we're just saying that it's not as good as it used to be.

    I used to come back with loads of stuff, and used to be really pleased with what I'd bought. But I found that, as the years passed, the goods on offer seemed to be less interesting. I think a few big name exhibitors stopped exhibiting too. I'm not exactly sure what's there this year.

    tattianna wrote (see)

    ...Is it all under cover or will I require a waterproof coat & wellies? image 

    You may have a decent walk from the car park to the halls. The later you arrive, the further away you will need to park. There are free buses running between the car parks and the halls, but you'll still get wet if it's raining. It's all on tarmac.

    I'd say that about 80% was indoors. There used to be several huge NEC halls all dedicated to gardening, but the number of halls seemed to get fewer each year. Inside the halls you find hardware (mowers and tools and such), and also small plant stalls. There is also an undercover area with plant stands organised by the RHS - the RHS Marquee. That seemed to get smaller each year too.

    Outdoors there are the show gardens, and also a lot of small stalls selling nick-nacks, pots and similar. For me, that was becoming a bit too much like a cheap market.

    I think that the show has not only got smaller, but customers [like Lead Farmer and me] have seen getting more sophisticated. We don't want to trapse round a show trying to find things. We're used to shopping on Amazon - a huge selection of stuff, instantly available, all delivered tomorrow.

    But it's an interesting day out, especially if you haven't been before.

  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 848

    tattianna, Gary is correct. For your first visit you will no doubt find it enjoyable. Take a light rain coat and a small rucksack to carry it in. The outdoor bit isnt that big so dont worry too much. You will find that if it rains then everyone rushes inside the floral marquee or into the maon halls. There are stands selling trollies so you can wheel around any purchases. There is even an area inside the hall where you can drop off your purchases to pick up later.

    Today was dry when I arrived so I did the outdoors bit first. I dont think there were as many exhibitors or show gardens in the outdoors bit this year. As usual there were stands selling plant supports, furniture etc, and then some off topic stalls selling binoculars etc!! But overall it felt a bit week. Though I did stand and watch Rachael De Thames' presentation for a while.

    I then went indoors and wondered around for about 20 mins. Joe Swift was doing a presentation which I watched briefly. Then I realised that I had completely done the GW hall. It was all in one hall, Im sure last time they perhaps took up two halls? None of these exhibitor stands really interested me, especially as some of them weren't anything to do with gardening - EDF Energy, massage chairs, magical cleaning chemicals etc.

    I then found myself in the Good Food Show hall, again this didnt seem as big as I remembered from previous years. Briefly watched the Hairy Bikers presentation, then I wondered off for a roast hog sandwich.

    The last time I went was about 2008 and I enjoyed it. Especially being partnered with the Good Food Show. I even purchased my greenhouse from The GreenHouse People who were exhibiting there. They were there again this year, but like the other main exhibitors, their stalls were smaller than before. Its as if in these times of recession nobody wants to commit to the large shows, I guess it costs a small fortune to exhibit?

  • pavery026pavery026 Posts: 75
    I've just got back from there today, I have to agree with the comments above, I've been going for several years, and it's definitely smaller than a few years ago. I got some great plants some of which I knew I would not get locally. There are spaces where stalls should be, and there was no way near as much choice of products has there has been in the past. I too spent quite alot of time in the good food bit. I'm sad to say if they don't improve the show I will be giving it a miss next year. If GW is reading this please go back to how it was a few years ago, I like this event and I hate to not go.
  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 848

    pavery026, im glad its not just me that feels this way. I'd be interested in finding out the total attendance figures for 2012. Although perhaps the bad weather will receive any blame for low attendance figures?

  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 848

    I felt that it was poor value for the £24 entrance fee. I saw lots of families there with children, I hate to think what they would have paid?

  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892
    LeadFarmer wrote (see)

    ...I'd be interested in finding out the total attendance figures for 2012.

    Another interesting statistic would be the number of exhibitors - both large strategic ones (Homebase, B&Q, David Austen, Peter Beales, etc), and the small nurseries. How have those numbers changed over the years (if at all).

    I also felt it was interesting the contents of the show seem to have been deteriorating, while the entry price has been going up!

    Have just seen the TV program. The density of visitors did seem very sparse. I can remember when the floral marquee used to be as packed as a tube train.

  • tattiannatattianna Posts: 174

    Thank you Gary and LeadFarmer for your replies.

    Ok from what you have both said I am expecting a similar set up to the Southport and Tatton Park shows I've attended the last 2 years. I'm still looking forward to my day out and will let you know how it went. 

    Thanks again. Anna 

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