What to do in Chelsea when the Chelsea Flower Show is in town

What to do in Chelsea when the Chelsea Flower Show is in town

For five days in May, the royal borough is a hive of activity, as 150,000 people descend on SW3 for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. While ostensibly a chance to swot up on the latest in the horticultural world over a glass of fizz (or two) it’s also a great opportunity to see a little bit more of London’s glitziest neighbourhood, Chelsea. 

Synonymous with the rich and the glamorous, Chelsea has a reputation for being, well, a bit posh. But it’s not all snooty and the Sloaney ponies are long gone: in fact, this former village is one of the most welcoming in town, with plenty of things to see and do that don’t involve high heels or designer handbags (unless you want them to). It’s also very close to our newly revamped pub, The Orange, so do pop in and say hello. 

So without further ado, here are 10 things we’d recommend getting up to if you find yourself in the area during the Chelsea Flower Show… 

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Tick off the Blue Plaques 

Chelsea has been home to far more than just reality TV stars. In the past, it was a haven for writers and artists, whose houses are handily signposted with an English Heritage Blue Plaque. Take yourself for a stroll around Cheyne Walk, Tite Street and Cromwell Road and tick off the likes of film director Alfred Hitchcock, author James Joyce, playwright Oscar Wilde and architect Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Do a tour of Stamford Bridge 

Whether you’re a Chelsea FC fan or not, a tour of Stamford Bridge is well worth it, giving you the chance to see ‘behind the scenes’ at the world-famous club, from the changing room to the ice baths. With rumours that the stadium is set to be renovated in 2024, this could be your last chance to see a bit of football history – after all, the Blues have been here for almost 120 years, ever since their inception in 1905. Bonus points if you can score tickets to a match.

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Take a load off at The Orange

Just nine minutes walk from the Chelsea Flower Show HQ, our beloved Belgravia pub, The Orange, is a great place to relax and unwind after a day spent wandering around designer gardens and flower stands. Recently revamped and reopened, it’s got plenty of outdoor seating for those early spring days, from street-side tables to a rooftop bar. Order a bottle of our in-house rosé and some charcuterie or a stone-baked pizza to share, and soak up the rays. If the weather isn’t cooperating (let’s face it, this is England) then don’t despair – our dining room and bar areas are made for hunkering down in, with modern takes on pub grub with a Mediterranean twist. Really treat yourself by booking in to stay at one of the newly zhuzhed-up bedrooms, which celebrate the best of British craftsmanship with colourful interiors and lush furnishings. A boutique hotel and gastropub, it’s truly the best place to stay during Chelsea Flower Show.

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Be amazed by the Chelsea in Bloom window displays  

The designer boutiques of the King’s Road have been taking the opportunity to show off their creative talents during the Chelsea Flower Show for almost 20 years now, with the annual ‘Chelsea in Bloom’ competition. The festivities see clever visual merchandisers coming up with inventive ways to decorate their shop windows, with incredibly Instagrammable end results.

Relax in the Chelsea Physic Garden

Find some peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle at the Chelsea Physic Garden. The oldest botanical garden in the capital, it’s long been a place of rest and relaxation for world-weary Londoners and tourists alike. Volunteers take tours daily, but we prefer getting lost amongst the pomegranate trees and rock gardens on our own.

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Learn about the history of the Royal Hospital Chelsea 

When you get off the tube at Sloane Square, you’re likely to see silver-haired men in scarlet uniforms milling around. That’s because the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home to the Chelsea Pensioners, is just around the corner. Book a tour with one of the 300 army veterans who live here to find out more about its fascinating history, including why it came about in the first place. 

Discover new art at the Saatchi Gallery 

Renowned for showcasing some of the most exciting up-and-coming contemporary artists, the Saatchi Gallery is a great shout for when the weather is less than cooperative. Housed in a beautiful white building in Duke of York Square, its ever-changing roster of exhibitions has seen everything from Tutankhamun to Chanel on display. We also love popping into the gift shop to buy quirky stationery and prints. 

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Walk along the Thames 

Any trip to London would be incomplete without a walk along our famous river. Amble along the Chelsea Embankment towards Albert Bridge and take in the views across to Battersea on the south side – bonus points if you come at nighttime when it’s illuminated by 4,000 LED lights. It’s also where a lot of movie history has been made – with scenes filmed here in A Clockwork Orange and Sliding Doors

See a show at the Royal Court Theatre 

Catch a play by the next big thing at the Royal Court Theatre. Famed for kick-starting the careers of some of modern drama’s biggest names, including Harold Pinter, John Osborne and Jez Butterworth, the Royal Court prides itself for being a ‘writers theatre’, and it shows. If you can’t get tickets, then head to the Samuel French bookshop, where theatre types mingle over flat whites.

Stock up on artisan food and drink at the Farmers Market

This isn’t just any farmers market… this is a Fine Food Farmers Market. Taking place every Saturday from 10am – 4pm at Duke of York Square, arrive hungry and leave stuffed – or just with lots of nice gifts for lucky friends and relatives. Curated by the grocer to the Royal Family, Partridge’s, expect locally produced meat, game, fish, cheese, bread, cakes and booze.

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Where to stay during The Chelsea Flower Show

The Chelsea Flower Show is almost upon us! For those who are spending the night, make yourself at home in one of four newly redesigned bedrooms at The Orange Pub & Boutique Hotel in Belgravia. If you’re just looking for something to eat while visiting London, be sure to book a table in advance to avoid disappointment and try out our brand-new menu, full of innovative Mediterranean-inspired dishes.

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