One of the advantages of living in London has been the ability to become a regular visitor to the RHS London shows but from 2019 major changes are being introduced.
Three out of the five London shows will be relocated to RHS Gardens around the southern section of the country. The charitable organisation wants to attract more visitors and feels that placing them within their show gardens will achieve this.
Looking at the figures I can understand why they are making such a move. Each London show attracts only 2,400 visitors per show, a total of around 12,000 visitors per year across the five events. In a major city these numbers are pretty poor but is moving the shows to a captive audience the easy option? Why not reinvent the show so that it appeals to the London resident and tourist? If you are without a car some of the RHS gardens are a nightmare to travel too both for the financial reasons and poor public transport, RHS Garden Wisley and RHS Garden Hyde Hall to name just two.
RHS Director General, Sue Biggs:
“We have tried to increase the success of these shows in London, but we cannot avoid the reality that the five shows in the last year were only visited by 12,000 visitors, at a cost of £400,000 to the RHS’ charitable funds. We have held Shows in London at the Lawrence and Lindley Halls in Vincent Square since 1904, and enjoyed over a century of success bringing horticulture to the heart of London.
After careful consideration, we have decided to move the majority of these shows to our RHS Gardens, where we are confident they will attract a larger audience, inspiring more people to grow, and enabling our great British nurseries to continue to flourish.”
In April 2019 (8th to 10th) the Spring Launch Show will incorporate the Orchid Show) at RHS Lindley and Lawrence Halls, London. The Early Spring Show will relocate to RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Essex (a nightmare to get to without a car, taxi needed when I visited).
The RHS Autumn Show will relocate to RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Essex. The Urban Show to be cancelled and elements of it incorporated into other shows. A venue for The Botanical Art Show is still to be confirmed.
In 2020 another shake-up may take place when the new events building at RHS Garden Wisley will be opened. This could become the home of “one or more of the shows” which “may move from RHS Garden Hyde Hall to Wisley”.
The relocated shows at Hyde Hall and Wisley will be free for RHS Members.
Sue Biggs continues:
“We are sorry that some members will be disappointed at this decision, but we hope they understand that these shows are no longer sustainable for either the RHS or our dedicated exhibitors. We are extremely grateful for their long standing support and hope they will continue to support our charitable work and enjoy the many other benefits that being an RHS member brings.”
RHS membership offers free access to four RHS Gardens, early access to major Flower Shows, the monthly Garden Magazine; free gardening advice; access to over 200 partner gardens at different times throughout the year and supports the charitable work of the RHS.