The Chelsea Flower Show opened in London yesterday and continues through this weekend. Naturally, QE2 was there to kick off the festivities.
Lest you think of the Chelsea Flower Show as a frumpy gathering of old lady tea-sippers, behold the world of floral arts that you will see upon tiptoe-ing through the tulips…
- Show-Stopping Gardens (like the one above) created in one week’s time on what were the bare grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home of the Chelsea pensioners. Click here to read a fascinating article about the relationship between the hospital and the 100-year old Chelsea Flower Show. I am told these gardens can cost $200,000 or more to create. That’s why most of them have corporate sponsors.
- Horticulture: Over 90 nurseries, growers, and florists creatively display their wares in the vast Great Pavilion. Here you will see the best tulips, the best roses, the best lupins, etc., in all of Britain.
- Floral design
Where to Stay
No wonder the Queen visits the Chelsea Flower Show every year! Let’s hop on a plane and join her! Click here to see my hotel recommendations. The closest are the Draycott, the Sloane Club, and the Sloane Square Hotel.
Where to Dine
Make your reservations at the hottest London restaurants at the moment, as culled from Mimi’s Travel Files, …
- Kitty Fisher’s, in Old Mayfair, stylish, intimate, good press…and I liked it, too!
- Barrafina, Spanish tapas, no reservations, lots of rave reviews
- Ottolenghi, “Oh!!! I love Ottolenghi….spectacular food!!! Great deli, too,” says my friend who has lived spectacularly and dined in London for many years. Ottolinghi is haute Israeli cooking from big foodie media star
- Frenchie, Parisian import in Covent Garden
- Riva in Barnes
- Aquavit, in St. James, although my London friend, who has loved Aquavit for a long time, has heard its service can be a bit off, from time to time
- Sexy Fish , in Berkeley Square, is “very good,” per my London foodie friend
- Chess Club, in Mayfair
- Gymkhana, in Mayfair, perennially lauded Indian restaurant (UPDATE, March 2019: I just ate here and while the food and service were excellent, the ambiance was mediocre)
- Palomar, in Soho, modern-day Israeli food in attractive setting; “love it, small tasty dishes pretty casual atmosphere but excellent food. ….as is its sister The Barbary,” per my London friend
- The Greenhouse, tranquil French in Mayfair; “Good restaurant. Good quality. Not amazing but not disappointing,” per my London friend
- Hawksmore Knightsbridge, art deco/1930’s glam
- Park Chinois, in Mayfair
- While these are not new, they are wonderful!
- River Café, superb Italian food in a transporting setting
- Quo Vadis , delicious, creative food & excellent service in intimate setting in Soho.