If you’re heading to the RHS Hampton Court Garden and Flower Festival 2023 (4 – 9th July), why not consider extending your botanical trip with a visit to Kingston upon Thames?
Whether you’re an experienced horticulturalist, a budding gardener, or simply enjoy the beauty of nature, Kingston’s alluring mix of shopping, restaurants, culture, and leisure makes it an ideal companion to your visit to this year’s Hampton Court Garden and Flower Festival.
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Kingston upon Thames is the closest town to the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, which is often hailed as one of the world’s biggest flower shows.
Nestling in South West London, our vibrant and historic market town offers visitors a rich mix of experiences.
Here are just a few ideas to inspire you to make a visit to Kingston part of your garden festival itinerary.
1. Pick up last minute supplies or just enjoy some retail therapy:
Kingston has some excellent outdoors shops [Alpkit, Cotswold Outdoors, Go Outdoor] big brands and independent boutiques where you can secure your last-minute garden festival essentials and ensure you have everything you need to enjoy your day at the festival.
2. Prepare a picnic
Avoid the long hot queues at the festival’s catering vans, by grabbing your cool bag and stocking up on fresh produce and gourmet treats from Kingston’s ancient market place [Olivier’s Bakery for fresh bread or greengrocers for fresh fruit and veg], delis and food halls.
3. Travel to/from the garden festival by boat
Travel to and from the festival in style with a ride on one of Turks Launches’ paddle steamers. Avoid traffic congestion, sit back and enjoy a peaceful boat ride along the Thames from Kingston town centre to Hampton Court – one way or return. There’s even an onboard licensed bar! See Turks Launches for the timetable, pick-up points and to pre-book tickets.
4. Round off your perfect day at the garden festival with al fresco riverside dining in Kingston
Treat yourself to dinner by the river. While you let the post-event exodus die down, kick back with companions, and share your festival highlights over food and beverages at one of the town’s many riverside restaurants or bars.
Alternatively, you can explore Kingston’s rich and diverse dining scene and enjoy global cuisines catering for all palates, appetites and pockets.
5. Stay for the stars: Enjoy a show or catch a movie
The Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival coincides with Kingston’s youth arts FUSE International Festival. If you’re visiting the town or staying nearby, be sure to check out the exciting programme of performances and exhibitions, at venues across the town.
Alternatively, for film lovers, Kingston boasts two cinemas, the Odeon in the Rotunda and the Curzon cinema in the Bentalls Centre, a great way to rest your feet before you continue your journey home.