The RHS has released a statement confirming that a number of its shows, including Chelsea Flower Show, are to be cancelled in response to the new government guidelines on the coronavirus.

The orchid festival 2020 at Kew Gardens
© Ines Stuart Davidson

The statement confirmed that following the government update on 16 March, all RHS shows and school visits will be cancelled with immediate effect until 30 June 2020.

The shows that will no longer go ahead are:

  • RHS London Spring Launch & Orchid Show, 7-8 April
  • RHS Botanical Art and Photography Show, 17-18 April
  • RHS Flower Show Cardiff, 17-19 April
  • RHS Malvern Spring Festival, 7–10 May
  • RHS Chelsea Flower Show, 19–23 May
  • RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, 11–14 June
  • RHS Garden Harlow Carr Flower Show, 26-28 June (we will investigate if RHS Harlow Carr Flower Show can be moved into July)

RHS gardens, including RHS Garden Wisley, RHS Garden Hyde Hall, RHS Garden Harlow Carr and RHS Garden Rosemoor, remain open, with increased precautionary measures in place. RHS Libraries at Vincent Square, RHS Garden Wisley and RHS Garden Harlow Carr will all close from tomorrow, 18 March.

The RHS has said that anyone who has purchased a ticket to any of the cancelled RHS shows will be offered a full refund. Ticketholders are asked to refrain from contacting the RHS immediately, except in an emergency. Everyone involved in the shows will be contacted about the cancellation of the events.

This is the first time the Chelsea Flower Show has been cancelled since the second world war.

The RHS said that one of the reasons postponing the events is impossible is because the thousands of plants shown are at their best in spring.

The organisation hopes that the below shows will continue, because they take place later in the year:

- RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, 6-12 July
- RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, 22–26 July
- RHS Garden Hyde Hall Flower Show, 5 – 9 August
- RHS Garden Rosemoor Flower Show, 14 – 16 August
- RHS Garden Wisley Flower Show, 8– 13 September

Sue Biggs, RHS director general, said: “In these unprecedented challenging times we have carefully followed Government advice and made difficult, responsible decisions with the health and safety of people at the foremost of our minds.

“Our RHS Shows are vitally important platforms for the horticultural industry, and we are especially aware of the impact of cancelling these events on everyone involved. We will be doing all we can to help growers and nurseries to sell the plants they will have grown for the cancelled Shows.

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“As with everyone, we have no crystal ball, but for the time being we are planning our Summer Flower Shows and our Gardens remain open, as they are large outside spaces where people can escape in open space and benefit from some tranquillity and beauty, surrounded by nature – all things that are much needed during these unsettling times."


The RHS has confirmed that gardens, nurseries, tradestands and displays set for Chelsea 2020 will all be accepted for Chelsea 2021.


Daisy Bowie-Sell is digital editor of Gardens Illustrated. She has previously worked as a journalist for publications including the Daily Telegraph, WhatsOnStage and Time Out London