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RHS Cancels Free Entry for Members

The Royal Horticultural Society has changed its policy regarding free entry to London shows for members. Members were previously allowed free entry to the London shows held at Vincent Square in Victoria but that’s due to change in 2017.

There will be fewer shows as in previous years and all visitors will pay an entrance fee. Members will be required to pay £5 per entry with non-members paying £6 in advance or £9 on the door (for certain London shows, see below). Previously the loss-making events were subsidised by the charity. Individual membership is currently £57 per year.

“We’re committed to continuing these very special shows. We think fewer, but bigger and letter London shows, will give our visitors a more wonderful experience.”
– Sue Biggs, RHS Director General

Change will continue into the following year with a new show. The RHS Summer Garden, Art & Photography event will launch in July 2018.

RHS London Shows with Entry Fee

February 14 & 15, 2017: Early Spring Plant Fair
March 29 & 30, 2017: Spring Plant and Orchid Show
October 25 & 26, 2017: Autumn Garden Show

RHS London Shows with Free Entry

February 24 & 25, 2017: Botanical Art Show
July 12 & 13, 2017: Summer Urban Garden Show
October 3 & 4, 2017: Harvest Festival Show

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2 comments

  1. TheCynicalGardener

    I heard about this earlier in the year, however for me personally it won’t affect me as the London Shows are just too far to get to from the East Mids where I am based.
    I do know some local members who are unhappy about this change, as the transport costs by train have increased its most unlikely they will bother to visit now.

    The RHS have been though quite a few changes in recent years, selling their Halls in London, buying up the new RHS Bridgewater site, ending several affiliate schemes, they have become corporate big business now.

    Just wonder what they will charge for next.

  2. Once again, the RHS are busy shooting themselves in the foot, and I suspect quite a lot of members will consider cancelling, as free entry to these useful shows was one of the most attractive reasons for becoming a member. (Let’s face it – compare to other commercial publications, The Garden doesn’t have a great deal to offer, and if you don’t have your own transport, getting to the RHS gardens is a struggle.)

    From what I’ve heard, quite a few high profile nurseries think this is a bad move, and expect it to lead to a drastic fall in attendances, and are seriously questioning how worth their while exhibiting will be in the future.

    Of course, this is not the first bad move RHS management have made in recent years. Selling the Lawrence Hall to Westminster Public school, then having to pay them back for limited access, was a move of sheer folly. I am not entirely convinced the amount of funds and energy being invested in the Chatsworth Show to run as a rival to Gardeners’ World Live is entirely wise.

    All in all, it strikes me as another example of the RHS management thinking they are an organisation solely for people who employ gardeners, as opposed to a charity for gardeners, and to promote horticulture in the wider world.

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