What an absolutely fantastic show it was this year!
My mum and I visit this jewel in Southport’s calendar every year, however this year we had the pleasure of attending for four days and reviewing all aspects of the show.
For those readers who have thought about visiting and have never got around to it, or simply think it will be boring and just about plants (cue my husband who was pleasantly surprised when I took him on the Saturday) let me give you some facts. Southport Flower Show is the UK’s largest independent festival of its kind and is famous for: stunning show gardens; the grand floral marquee; plants, flowers and shrubs from every corner of the globe; keenly contested produce and plant amateur competitions; an large number of live entertainment shows including – choirs, bands, poets, a dog display show, a death defying motorcycle stunt show and even a BMX daredevil stunt team and shops as well as retail outlets from clothing, wine merchants, food and beverage
The show has been running for 99 years over four days – this year from Thursday, 17 August to Sunday, 20 August – held in the 34-acre Victoria Park close to the centre of the seaside town. Planning for their centenary festival next year, including booking of guest gardeners, presenters, exhibitors and a vast array of entertainment artists is well underway.
This year’s visitors (which included well behaved dogs) enjoyed a wealth of gardening inspiration from top experts with famous faces from TV seen ‘milling and mingling’ around after their Q&A’s and demonstrations in one of the many marquees. They pleasantly and patiently offered advice on potential purchases. The exhibition gardens attracted a steady stream of visitors who took inspiration from the materials and plants used. The menopause garden, titled ‘Circles of Strength,’ was a particular highlight with its tranquility and soft-flowing plants, which brought serenity to the display. It was interesting to note that many of the plants used in the production of the garden featured herbal menopause remedies.
Throughout the four days there were many cookery demonstrations from famous chefs however the raucous laughter and genuine entertainment that John Torode and Lisa Faulkner omitted, was definitely a highlight for many people. This marquee was situated at the end of a row of food, drink and kitchen appliance exhibitors that encouraged you to sample before buying their wares. I ended up driving home full of delicious cheese, olives, pastries as my husband had decided to take a shot sample from every drink stall. I think, i’ll stick to my mum being my plus one for next year’s event.
Mr Tumble and Lizzie Acker were also present however the Enchanted Fields area was a breath of fresh air with yoga classes, Reiki healing, hot stones and general tips on how to improve your mental health and wellbeing. The two ladies who ran the classes were welcoming to all ages and after experiencing two of their classes, both my mum and I came out feeling very chilled and relaxed.
The plethora of live music all day long on the piazza stage enabled visitors to be entertained whilst taking a break. Many like us had brought a picnic, with wine and the obligatory cakes. You could sit in the basking sun to eat whilst being thoroughly entertained. If you had chosen not to bring a picnic there was an abundance of stalls – reasonably priced – serving all manner of foods and delicacies. Beer outlets and other drinks were in short supply though.
A huge shout out needs to go to the parking attendants, security staff and litter pickers who diligently undertook their roles. They were pleasant and chatted to the people which generally made people feel very welcome and increased people’s enjoyment of the event.
Overall, this is a value for money family day out. Tickets can be bought with an early bird discount of £23 per person however, if you leave buying your tickets until the last minute then they retail for £28. There are discounts for students and OAPs available, plus, children under 16 accompanied by an adult enter the event for free.
What are you waiting for, simply make this a priority for the centenary event year and reserve the date in your diaries.