Day’s Out aboard the Northern Belle
RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Travel on the Belmond Northern Belle to the world’s most popular flower show, set on the banks of the Thames in Chelsea. Browse the showcase of innovative garden designs to discover why it has been inspiring gardeners for more than a century.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show, formally known as the Great Spring Show, is a garden show held for five days in May by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in Chelsea, London. It is the most famous flower show in the United Kingdom, and perhaps in the world, attracting visitors from all continents.
Highlights to the Chelsea Flower Show include the avant-garde show gardens designed by leading names with Floral Marquee at the centrepiece. The Show also features smaller gardens such as the Artisan and Urban Gardens.
Seek out the Chic, City, Courtyard and Sunflower Street gardens and get some tips on what can be accomplished with smaller plots.
Belmond Northern Belle
The Belmond Northern Belle reflects the style of England’s 1930′s ‘Belle’ trains and the Pullman carriages of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
Take a day trip aboard the Belmond Northern Belle and travel through some of Britain’s most beautiful scenery. Experience lovingly prepared cuisine using produce from the landscapes you pass through expertly matched with fine wines from an extensive cellar.
Day trips depart from regional stations throughout the UK. The train and its carriages are themselves a destination as you visit the UK’s cities, castles and major events.
Combining classic British craftsmanship and contemporary engineering, it is a reflection of the magnificent ‘Belle’ trains of the 1930′s.
The seven dining carriages are named after great British stately homes or castles. They display fabrics, marquetry and brass fittings specifically commissioned from British craftsmen.
Belmond Northern Belle entered service in 2000, and has set the standard for stylish day trips and short breaks ever since.
It reflects the style of England’s ‘Belle’ trains and the Pullman carriages of its sister train, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
The individually designed carriages have been lovingly restored by some of the country’s top craftspeople, including marquetry experts, muralists and mosaic artists.
The spectacular wood panelling in the Duart carriage was created by the Dunn family, experts in the rare craft of marquetry. Today, Cheryl Dunn uses the same tools and methods as her father and grandfather, who worked on many of the carriages when they were originally built, to create the rich walnut panel, decorated with pink heather and white fowers representing the
wild isolation of Scotland’s Duart Castle.
Chelsea Flower Show
A Brief Early History of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show
The Victorians loved their gardens and in 1862 the “Royal Horticultural Society’s Great Spring Show” was held at the RHS garden in Kensington. This was the start of what was to become RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which is held annually in the month of May.
The RHS garden in Kensington was closed in 1888 and the show was moved to Temple Gardens and was held there in giant marquees until 1911. However, for one year only in 1912 the “Spring Show” was replaced with the “Royal International Horticultural Exhibition” organised by Sir Harry Veitch who was famous at the time as a great nurseryman.
Sir Harry Veitch secured the Royal Hospital, Chelsea as the venue for this “one off” event and the exhibition was a stunning success with special tents for Belgian, German and French exhibitors. There is an anecdote about a German visitor who was heard to declare, “This is the happiest day of my life.”
As the Chelsea site proved to be such great venue, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show was moved there permanently the following year and the show has been held there every year ever since, with just a couple of exceptions.
During 1917 and 1918 the flower show was cancelled because of the Great War but resumed thereafter and by the 1920’s the Royal visits had resumed and the show was back to being as popular as ever.
In 1935 the Observer newspaper described the best in show winner in its headline as “A Pageant of Loveliness.”
To mark the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937 an Empire Exhibition was shown and featured many unusual plants from Australia, East Africa and Palestine.
During World War II the grounds were used as an anti aircraft site by the War Office and the flower show was cancelled for two years but resumed in 1947. It was Lord Aberconway, then the President of the RHS, who felt strongly that the show should resume as soon as possible. The majority of the exhibitors requested a postponement due to a lack of plant stock and a much depleted staff but it did go ahead and was a great success.
In the Coronation year of 1953, Queen Elizabeth II herself was unable to attend due to other commitments but most of the other members of the Royal family did attend.
Garden fashions have changed over the years and this has been reflected in the gardens that are exhibited at the Show. Today there are many more professionals than amateur gardeners exhibiting than in the early years of the Show.
Take a seat in your unique, elegant carriage and await a feast for all the senses.Your table is set with starched white cloth, shining silverware and glittering crystal. It reflects a breathtaking attention to detail.
The cuisine is a delight, accompanied by champagne and wines carefully selected to complement the fine food.
Featuring the finest seasonal ingredients from the British Isles, classic and innovative dishes are crafted by our executive head chef and his team in a cupboard-sized kitchen.
The scenery that unfolds from your window inspires each and every course.
From lavish fve-course dinners to effervescent afternoon teas, our dining experience promises heaven for foodies
Reserve A Carriage Or Charter The Train
Group travel on trains brimming with style and history—Belmond British Pullman is the ultimate iconic venue for any private party or event.
From business functions and wedding receptions to retirement parties and anniversaries, celebrate on one of our scheduled trips or charter the train and tailor your exclusive itinerary.
Each meal is accompanied by the finest wines and champagnes selected by our sommelier. Additional drinks can also be provided, from traditional cocktails to rare cognacs. To complete your event we also offer exclusive mementos for groups, including ticket wallets, photo frames and travel journals.