Although the Royal Horticultural Society Flower Show has been an annual spring event in Cardiff since 2005, 2018 would mark my first visit. It takes place in Bute Park, in the shadow of Cardiff Castle and attracts over 20,000 visitors every year. The setting is beautiful and well worth a visit whether a local or traveling in from afar and very convenient for a visit to the city. It’s also right next to Pettigrew Tea Rooms, one of my favourite little cafe’s in the city – I highly recommend their afternoon tea!
I dubiously checked out the weather this morning as the skies were grey, but am happy to report it stayed dry and mild despite being overcast. We had originally intended to be at the gates for opening, but were delayed, so didn’t end up driving in until noon. Tickets cost £14 on the door but £11 in advance, so it’s worth booking in advance if you can – but children go free and don’t need a ticket which helps with the cost for families. Early bookers get the opportunity to pre-book a parking space at Sophia Gardens at £10 for the day and I highly recommend you do this if possible. Come noon, the car park was full, so we headed to one of the multi-story car parks in the city centre, which are only a 5 minute walk away but a little bit more expensive. There is a Park and Ride scheme operating which is the most economical both for your wallet and for the environment and the city centre does have great public transport. It’s probably a 10-15 minute walk maximum from the central bus and train station.
A bright and fun crochet wheelbarrow at the entrance of the RHS Flower Show Cardiff
A Welsh Dragon guarding her flowers!
An amazing bonsai display. This tree is older than I am by 20 years!
There were lots of interesting and educational displays and tents, such as the Wildlife Trust.
We went with our 12 month old son. Although you might not think that a horticultural display and plant sale has much to offer children, he loved looking at the flowers and being surrounded by the bright colours and fragrant scents. For older children there were educational stations, including a tent on show from the National History Museum (which is only a 15 minute walk away, free entry, and a great option for families or adults alike), displays from the Wildlife Trust and more. I spotted some kids drawing at an art station who seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves! There is also the annual wheelbarrow display, where schools around Cardiff submit brightly painted, flower-filled wheelbarrows and a competition is held for the best on show. The weather hasn’t been great lately, even for Wales, so the ground was quite muddy but mats are placed all round the front of the tents creating a boardwalk which is stroller and wheelchair friendly. It was quite crowded though, so a little slow going.
Just a few of the amazing bulbs for sale at RHS Flower Show Cardiff
Although we don’t even have a garden right now, we do grow a lot of plants as we use live plants in all our reptile enclosures. Probably not the reason most people are going to the RHS Flower Show, but there were an amazing array of succulents, ferns and other plants that can be grown indoors on display. There was even a Terrarium making workshop! Of course the main focus is on outdoor plants and blooming flowers and I bought some amazing lily varieties for my mum that I can’t wait to see growing in her garden. There were also several talks and demonstrations going on, but with the baby with us, we didn’t attend.
Succulents and cacti were on display in abundance, including some very rare plants for sale!
Snowdonia Cheese in the Farmer’s Market
In addition to all the horticultural stalls and displays, there is a food area with a selection of popular caterers and plenty of seating. It was very busy at lunch time, so if you don’t like queues I’d recommend eating a little earlier, or taking your own lunch. There’s a large covered tent filled with benches and tables, ideal for bringing your own food and offering shelter from the rain (which held off for us thankfully!) and also a seperate indoor cafe with seating. There is a very large area of craft stalls selling hand-made Welsh goods and a small farmer’s market section where you can purchase things like cheese and liquer. We picked up our favourite selection of Snowdonia Cheese wheels – you have to try the bouncing berry if you see it.
The School Wheelbarrow Display at RHS Flower Show Cardiff
My grandmother loved her garden which was always in full bloom come spring and summer, she was especially fond of daffodils, and would have loved the bright display from R.A. Scamp. I didn’t even know this many varieties of daffodils existed! As I looked around, I saw many three generational families out together and even some with four generations! This would be a great day out with your mum and your grandmother, making it a lovely way to spend the day together as a family. Although it was a bit crowded inside to let off steam, your ticket gets you access from opening until closing. Lots of children were burning off energy running around in the large grassy areas of Bute Park and you just needed a sticker to get back in, meaning you can spend a few hours there, head out for lunch or to see Bute Park, take a water taxi to Cardiff Bay, check out Cardiff Castle or the National Museum and then head back to the show. There’s even a plant creche to drop off all your purchases in and collect later if the car isn’t nearby.
Daffodils on display at RHS Flower Show Cardiff
We enjoyed ourselves at the Flower Show and then did a bit of shopping in town, meandering through the lovely old arcades and exploring Cardiff Market. Even though I was born in Cardiff and lived here most of my life, there’s still always something new to experience and that’s part of why I love this city so much. I’ll be putting the RHS Flower Show on my list of annual events to enjoy in the future.
If you enjoyed this, you might like to check out all my days out in Cardiff and South Wales as it’s an area that offers a ridiculous amount of things to do!