I first heard about Chelsea in Bloom, a yearly floral installation competition, last year and completely fell in love with both the concept and the execution of it. Every year, Chelsea in Bloom has a different theme. Last year’s was jungle animals and this year it’s the ‘Summer of Love’, inspired by the hippie movement of the summer of 1967 as well as the very recent Royal Wedding. Different shops will then design a floral arrangement based on this concept, and display them for everyone to see for free (!) in front of their shop/restaurant for a full week.
Seeing as London is generally known as the city where everything is so expensive, it’s always refreshing to see these events where you can admire amazing art for completely free, without anyone expecting you to buy anything at all. That said, Chelsea in Bloom kind of works as an advertisement to the (not so free) Chelsea Flower Show, but I honestly think it’s absolutely worth visiting in its own right, too. So take your time, grab a map and wander around the beautiful streets filled with floral art!
Chelsea in Bloom takes over the streets of Chelsea, as you might have guessed from its name, and is mostly based between the tube stations of Sloane Square and Knightsbridge. The organisers have also created this handy map displaying all the venues taking part, which means that you don’t have to miss a single one!
The main street is probably Pavilion Road which is full of the most amazing installations, of which my favourite was the yellow VW van in one of the photos above. Pavilion Road is also probably the most popular destination on the map – it was heaving when I went after work on Monday. If you want your walk to be a bit more peaceful, I imagine you would have to visit very early on a weekend or during the day on a weekday whilst everyone else is at work!
Other streets covered by Chelsea in Bloom are, amongst others, Kings Road (of course!), Cadogan Gardens and Symons Street – and SO many more!
I think my personal favourite was that above mentioned yellow VW van with the colourful flowers surrounding it, as well as the red double-decker bus by Hackett (photo above!) dedicated to Meghan and Harry and their wedding. Both were big pieces and left me in awe – how can it even be possible to craft something so intricate and full of detail from flowers? I’m seriously so impressed!
Some of the installations had a slightly deeper meaning than others: a beautiful piece by the Sarah Chapman store was dedicated to self-love and invited guests to write messages to their 13-old-selves. I especially loved the little mirror: seeing myself through it, surrounded by all these beautiful flowers definitely made me feel a bit better about myself already! See if you can spot me in one of the photos with the Sarah Chapman installation above?!
As well as all the beautiful installations, there’s also lots of interactive stuff and some special pop-ups created just for the festival. The main hub in the middle of Sloane Square has lots of tables placed under flower arches (I actually saw someone working away on their laptop in one of the tables!) as well as a little bar van decorated with flowers, which was very cute, too.
Other special Chelsea in Bloom pop-ups include, amongst others, a floral afternoon tea at the Bluebird restaurant, an exclusive floral cocktail called Chelsea Fiore by Italian restaurant Polpo and flower crown making at Escada!
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