Inspirational Floral Extravaganzas for Green Fingered Clients | Travel Research Online


Inspirational Floral Extravaganzas for Green Fingered Clients

Happy New Year!

If 2, 4 or 6 of your clients are planning to visit the UK this year, let’s talk about an itinerary that can be customised to meet their interests, time frame and budget. Being the home to some of the world’s finest Flower Shows, these internationally renowned horticultural extravaganzas make a very good focal point for tours that also include visits to stately homes, cathedrals, literary and on-location venues, ancient pubs for lunch and interesting places for English Afternoon Tea. This collection offers some imaginative starting points for a profitable conversation.

Chantilly in Paris and RHS Chelsea

The Journées des Plantes in Paris is the go-to event in the world of French gardening. It takes place between 15th-17th May at the Domaine de Chantilly during the week prior to Chelsea in London. With a visit to Giverny and a full day at the Journées des Plantes, a day at the RHS flagship garden at Wisley and another at the Chelsea Flower Show, this two-country combination will appeal to all your green-fingered customers.

Chichester Cathedral’s Festival of Flowers

Between 28th-30th May, over 200 talented flower arrangers will transform the 900-year old Cathedral into a stunning visual and fragrant array of creative, imaginative and beautiful flower arrangements. The Festival theme is Realms of Glory featuring quotations from the Bible, Psalms, Hymns, Carols and Prayers, all presented in picturesque tableaux, themed gardens and magnificent pedestal arrangements. Offer them this itinerary as it also includes a memorable full day at the Chelsea Flower Show (19th-23rd May).

RHS Chatsworth, Welsh Castles and Dublin

Most of your clients won’t have seen this England, Wales and Ireland tour but they’ll instantly recognise some of the key attractions in the itinerary: the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, Wedgwood in the World Capital of Ceramics, Caernarfon Castle and Dublin. It works equally well when starting in Dublin before flying home from Manchester, or with a 2-day extension to London. Check the Virgin Atlantic schedules for direct flights from Atlanta, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Orlando.

Two Flower Shows and an Edible Garden

Between 21st-23rd June, Blenheim Palace will stage its seventh Flower Show, while nearby Woburn Abbey provides a spectacular backdrop for their own Garden Show over the weekend of 22nd and 23rd June. Having English Afternoon Tea here is important because it was where the English social custom was popularised in the 1840’s by Duchess Anna Maria, wife of the 7th Duke of Bedford. We can also add a visit to an Edible Garden on the way back to London.

Third Gold for Clovelly

The local residents and the Clovelly Court Gardening team have won Gold at the South West In Bloom Awards for the 3rd year running! As one of the outstanding Victorian gardens in south west England, Clovelly Court is an RHS Partner Garden because of the “outstanding and exceptionally high standards of planting and design.” Clinging to a 400-foot cliff in North Devon, the picturesque fishing village has no vehicular traffic on its steeply cobbled street, just donkeys and sledges.

Tip Toe Through the Tulips

With many gardeners busy in their own gardens in May, this late April tour brings together leisurely visits to the extensive and breathtakingly beautiful tulip displays at 11th century Arundel Castle, the award-winning gardens at privately owned Pashley Manor and at Chenies Manor. Enhanced with tea and cakes at one or two private gardens opening as part of the National Garden Scheme (see my final story) your garden loving clients won’t have been offered this tantalising combination before.

The National Garden Scheme

Visits to rarely-opened, privately-owned gardens add new dimensions to any customised tour. The National Garden Scheme in England and Wales showcases an amazing variety of over 3,500 properties, ranging from spectacular country gardens with burgeoning borders to tiny urban plots designed with extraordinary skill. They include gardens that open together as a group, the gardens of hospices and primary schools, allotments, seaside and hillside gardens and even gardens on a group of barges on the River Thames.

Paull Tickner, owner of U.K-based Custom GB, is known for his expertise in creating and operating imaginative, value-added tours of Great Britain and Ireland. Visit his website at or email him at

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