• Ina

Floral London: Highlights of Chelsea in Bloom 2021

Updated: May 26

Every year in May, Chelsea becomes London’s very own floral paradise thanks to Chelsea in Bloom. This year, the flowery competition moved to September, along with its big brother - the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The hot air balloon in Sloane Square announcing this year's topic "Extraordinary Voyages" near the "Chelsea in bloom" information point.
The hot air balloon in Sloane Square announces this year's topic "Extraordinary Voyages."

For the 15th year, Chelsea in Bloom extends the iconic flower show into the heart of the royal borough and has become known as the free-of-charge complementary alternative to the main event.

Hackett have imagined a floral Hot Air Balloon with  a half barrel basket flying in clouds of gypsophila.
Hackett has imagined a floral Hot Air Balloon with a half-barrel basket flying in clouds of gypsophila.

So here we are, in September 2021 (better late than never AND in enchanting Indian summer weather) strolling along King’s Road, Duke of York Square, and Sloane Street to discover colourful retail makeovers that completely transformed the area with bursts of botanical vibrancy.

London's largest free flower festival never ceases to surprise: Duke of York Square becomes Egypt for a week
London's largest free flower festival never ceases to surprise us: Duke of York Square becomes London's Egypt for a week, with pyramids, camels, suitcases, sand, and all (a partnership with the Co-Existence environmental art campaign).

This time, the floral art celebration runs from Monday, September 20 to Saturday, September 25, which means that for almost one week, more than 70 local restaurants, shops, hotels, and other venues in Chelsea will interpret this year’s theme “Extraordinary Voyages” through a creative flower display, turning the neighbourhood into a complete floral feast for the eyes. The uplifting theme was inspired by the novel “Around the world in eighty days,” Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel, and the golden age of travel.

Salon Sloane has turned into a portal to desert island - sandy beaches, juicy fruits, palm trees, and a swag bag.
Salon Sloane has turned into a portal to a desert island - sandy beaches, juicy fruits, palm trees, and a swag bag.

Let’s explore some of this year’s ingenious transformations and discover the charming stories that inspired them.


“The Amazonian Archway” at Duke of York Square


Dreaming of a tropical escape through South America? Step off the King’s Road, through the arch into Duke of York Square to immerse your senses into Chelsea’s very own rainforest.

Installation detail of Duke Of York's Amazonian Archway
Installation detail of Duke Of York's Amazonian Archway

Your short yet extraordinary voyage will be accompanied by fresh ferns, guzmania, hanging triffids, vanda orchids, and other luscious exotic greenery, with a realistic soundtrack that features resident birds and hidden frogs. You’ll fall in love with cranes crafted by Maison de Fleurs from fresh flowers and the lifesize toucan. A truly multi-sensory experience.

“Mille Miglia 1954 - The Most Beautiful Race in The World” by David Mellor


David Mellor’s creative team transformed this year’s Chelsea in Bloom theme of the golden age of travel into a great opportunity to hark back to the one and only Mille Miglia. Widely known as “the most beautiful race in the world,” Mille Miglia was an endurance motorsports race that occurred between 1927 and 1957 on the most picturesque Italian roads.

David Mellor's hommage to Mille Miglia 1954
David Mellor's hommage to Mille Miglia 1954 features the cutest retro bubble car.

No wonder that the star of David Mellor’s floral display is the absolutely adorable Isetta microcar that affectionately gained global popularity as “the bubble car.” The car used in the floral display has been meticulously restored especially for Chelsea in Bloom 2021 by Corin Mellor and the talented team at David Mellor cutlery factory.

A flower-adorned replica of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (in Sloane Square)
A flower-adorned replica of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and enchanting Parisienne cafes (in Sloane Square).

As in 1954, several Isetta microcars entered the race and reached the top three places in their class, the floral display’s structure intends to give visitors a taste of the hair-raising dash between cities, villages, and over hills. Just like Mille Miglia stands for authentic Italian dynamism, elegance and sophistication, David Mellor link sublime Italian taste with boundless creativity whether it’s in the field of design, fashion, or art.

NU presents Cappadocia, Turkey – One of the world’s Hot Air Balloons hotspots


NU’s muse was Cappadocia in Turkey where more than 100 hot air balloons take flight every morning, which makes it one of the most looked-for ballooning destinations. In partnership with Derek Isaac from SuperNature Flowers, NU has merged a voyage in a hot air balloon (which is one of the most extraordinary travel experiences) with their brand heritage.

The beautiful window display is inspired by Turkey’s otherworldly landscape of caverns carved out of rock and honeycombed boulders. It features a lovely hot air balloon made entirely of dried flowers that reinforces NU’s brand identity and key message focused on sustainability. The entire scenery is floral foam-free, marking its environmental friendliness.

Sloane Street's Cadogan Hotel - winner of the Runner Up award.
The Cadogan Hotel on Sloane Street, whose explosive & sustainable display has won the Runner Up award features abundant beautiful botanicals, with foliage, flowers, and plant materials that hint at the 22 countries of the Belmond group.

Ralph Lauren - The age of Orient Express and Lavish Luxury Train Journeys


Ralph Lauren has entered the prestigious Chelsea in Bloom competition with a cinematic-lens perspective of the nostalgia for the Golden Age of train travel in the 1930s that presents an immersive large-scale floral art installation. Created by Willow Crossley & Buchanan Studio, the artistic display turned the brand’s Sloane Square store-front into a whimsical representation of the glory years of train travel.

Ralph Lauren takes us on a vintage steam-train ride to exotic faraway lands.
Ralph Lauren takes us on a vintage steam-train ride to exotic faraway lands.

And what better way to express the magic of those times’ train travelling fever than with an almost life-size train carriage whose windows showcase the Fall Winter 2021 Luxury Men’s, Women’s, and Home Collections? Expect an aesthetic outburst of exquisite florals, wild grasses, and lush greenery, all in a setting majestically filled with vintage props (think antique leather trunks) that evokes scenes of billowing steam from retro trains’ journeys to popular destinations afar.

Kate Spade’s artwork is a love letter to the brand’s hometown: New York City. The adorable floral skyscrapers encourages everyone to go back to the Big Apple and rediscover its magic.
Kate Spade’s artwork is a love letter to the brand’s hometown: New York City. The adorable group of joyfully coloured floral skyscrapers encourages everyone to go back to the Big Apple and rediscover its magic.

📍 Visit the Chelsea In Bloom displays located around Sloane Square (Sloane Street, Pavilion Road, Duke of York Square, King’s Road). Click here for the event's map. 📅 Until the 25th of September 25. 🚇 The nearest London Underground stations are Knightsbridge (on the Piccadilly Line) and Sloane Square (on the District Line and Circle Line).


*All photos were taken by Ina/WithinLondon, unless stated otherwise :)


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