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Cruise Through the Gardens of England

By: Lisa Jeeves

As May comes into full bloom, it can mean only one thing for those of us who are horticulturally inclined: the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The highlight of every green-fingered gardener’s calendar, this incredible event showcases the most beautiful gardens and innovative displays, and for those who have booked onto our acclaimed Flower Cruise on 21 May, you’ll be able to see it all in person.

Flower Power

As the world’s most prestigious garden exhibition, the Chelsea Flower Show attracts thousands of visitors from across the globe each year. There are over 500 exhibitors, covering Show Gardens, Artisan Gardens and Fresh Gardens, as well as 270 trade stalls and another 100 exhibits in the Great Pavilion, which is large enough to house 500 London buses! Originally called the Royal Horticultural Society’s Great Spring Show, it was created in 1862 and held at the RHS garden in Kensington. Its popularity grew rapidly and in 1913 the show was moved to the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, where it has stayed ever since.

Only the two World Wars were significant enough to put the exhibitions on hold, as the event seems to get more popular each year. The RHS’ 1927 announcement that “horticulture knows nothing of nationality”, prompted by complaints about foreign exhibits, only served to root the Chelsea Flower Show even deeper into the public’s hearts.

Head to Hampton Court

If you didn’t manage to get a ticket for our May Flower Cruise and are wanting some flower-filled fun, then don’t worry – there are still some spaces left for our early July cruise. This trip, which will be taken on one of our comfortable, intimate hotel barges and will involve all of the gourmet food, wine, European history and culture that European Waterways is celebrated for, also includes a day at the incredible RHS Hampton Court Flower Show.

This exhibition is even bigger than the Chelsea Flower Show, and is just as stunning. Visitors can wander along rows and rows of incredible displays, hear talks on everything from environmental issues to cookery, and even purchase the wonderful plants on offer to take home from your trip.

Cruise Over to the Gardens

Our Flower Cruises are not restricted to just Chelsea and Hampton Court. We have a full calendar of waterway journeys designed to let our customers get their fill of flowers. See award-winning rhododendrons at Savill Gardens, explore the treetop walkway at Kew, ramble along woodland paths at Cliveden or picnic along the riverside at Wisley.

Dotted along the picturesque ThamesFind Article, these gardens present the perfect way to spend your days out on your European Waterways trip.