Britain has a long and colourful horticultural history that has cultivated a great number of competitive and well attended garden festivals across the nation. UK garden events exist all year round, with spring and autumn being just as enthusiastically celebrated as summer. This website aims to give you all the information you need about the very best of British gardening and how you can enjoy these outdoor events throughout the year.
The most renowned British gardening organisation, the Royal Horticultural Society, is responsible for hosting a great number of gardening festivals, competitions, and events across the UK. Their most distinguished events include the Malvern Autumn and Spring Festivals, and the famous Chelsea Flower Show which is televised and widely watched annually. Other large annual festivals include Hampton Court Flower Festival, Tatton Park, and Stansted Park – all of these are held in beautiful surroundings.
With the exception of Chelsea, gardeners can buy all kinds of plants, tools, and gardening paraphernalia at these events which often have a wealth of stalls, entertainment, and educational talks. Many of these events are family friendly, and well behaved dogs on leads are also admitted to most sites.
Gardening festivals come in all shapes and sizes, whether it is a national competition of the country’s best landscape artists and florists, or smaller local festivals with an emphasis on local landscape and produce. Local Events such as the Hertfordshire, Holker Hall, and Tavistock Garden Festivals are particularly well enjoyed, and bring a considerable number of visitors to the area each year. Other notable garden festivals include The Garden Festival of Hellens Manor, Wortley Hall Garden Fair, and Southport Flower Show. For Wales, the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society holds a great number of events, whereas for Scots the gardening event of the year is Gardening Scotland.
While getting a ticket to some of the larger national shows can be difficult, some flower shows are inexpensive or even free to attend. Wortley Hall, for example is just £2.50 on entry, and you can enjoy a guided tour of the historical building, grade II listed Italianate gardens, and Kitchen Gardens with staff on hand to answer gardening questions from visitors. The cafe offers a delicious menu including traditional scones and cream teas.
Food Festivals like Alnwick and Hampshire Food Festivals unite our love of gardening and good grub. These festivals are a great place to find inspiration for your vegetable patch or allotment while picking up some extra special goodies for the pantry. Many of these festivals sell seeds and seedlings that you can take home to plant in your own back yard!
Wherever you are in Britain, June is likely to bring a beautiful garden festival to a site near you – the National Garden Festival Weekend, organised by The National Gardens Scheme, sees hundreds of gardens open their gates to visitors to raise money for charities and share their carefully landscaped summer scenes.
Our Top Picks
With excellent farm and flower garden festival taking place up and down the British Aisles – we thought we should proffer some of our favourites:
Middle Farm Apple Festival: A yearly October festival in the heart of the beautiful South Downs; Middle Farm offers up the fruits of the harvest – chiefly apples in all of their wonderful forms. Cider lovers will have a field day as the farm turns on it’s famous taps, while live music and performances stretch into the evening. You can enjoy excellent food and drink from the farm itself, in the restaurant, cafe, of one of the stalls that pop up for the widely popular event. Prepare to return home with a boot full of goodies.
Chelsea Flower Show: No garden festival list is complete without the behemoth of bouquets that is The Chelsea Flower Show. The best of the best display their astounding floristry, landscaping, and horticultural skills while we mere mortals wander through the beautiful grounds of Chealsea Hospital and look on in awe. Gardening enthusiasts will be entranced by the show and the many stalls and speakers that take place around the spectacle. A great day out even for those who don’t know their petunias from their pansies.
Dig the City Manchester: A small but excellent annual event that shows off creativity and craft that you won’t find at Chelsea. The week long urban gardening festival includes show gardens, speakers, workshops, entertainment, and some excellent shopping opportunities. It’s a family friendly festival with plenty to do for the kids too. A visit to Dig the City will turn those of you with little to no garden space into veritable green-thumbs overnight! Learn how to get a little more out of your land and see the hidden potential of your windowsill or front porch.
Gardening Scotland: this annual event held is another big event on the gardeners calendar, and for good reason. Held in the historic city of Edinburgh, the show is an amalgamation of landscape architecture and artistry, floristry, and gardening finesse. For lovers of artistic flourish and modern garden scenes, this weekend long event will not disappoint. With a fee of just £17 entry, the show offers a real bargain experience, with all manner of plants and flowers on show, extras such as cookery workshops, live entertainment, food fayres, gardening advice tents, botanical and flower art shows, palette garden shows, and a story tent to name just a few. While the event doesn’t admit dogs, children will be well catered for.