Chelsea History Festival 2020

From its fashion mavericks to iconic rock-star residents, Chelsea’s heritage is worth celebrating. From 17-27 September 2020, the festival returns for its second year showcasing Chelsea’s illustrious past with a programme of over 50 events featuring world-class speakers, authors and historians on a virtual and physical stage.

This year’s festival will take place both virtually and physically with an exciting programme of talks, tours and events presented by three iconic institutions; the National Army Museum; the Royal Hospital Chelsea and Chelsea Physic Garden covering a broad range of content to suit every interest, from military to art history and social to natural history.

All virtual events will be free to attend, however must be booked in advance. Tickets for physical events are priced up to £15, with a 25% discount when booking three or more. To ensure you don’t miss out, make sure you book your places as early as possible; bookings can be made here.

Highlights from the programme include;

  • Philippe Sands, one of the UK’s most prominent human rights barristers, in conversation with James Holland discussing his most recent book, ‘The Ratline: Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive’
  • An evening with Bletchley Park; spotlighting its role in the Second World War
  • Ben Macintyre, one of Britain’s most acclaimed historians, tells the incredible story of Ursula Kuczynski. Codenamed ‘Sonya’, she conducted some of the most dangerous espionage operations of the 20th Century, including planning an assassination attempt on Hitler and helping the Soviet Union build the atom bomb
  • Sir Michael Morpurgo will talk about how he turns the subject of war into fiction
  • Award-winning war reporter, Christina Lamb has worked in combat zones for over 30 years. Her new book, ‘Our bodies, their battlefield’, gives voice to the women of conflicts. She will be in conversation with world-renowned human rights lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy, who has worked internationally with women in conflict zones
  • Martin Brown, illustrator of ‘Horrible Histories’, will take families on a journey from the bloody Battle of Waterloo to the frightful First World War and will get them drawing in a quick fire workshop

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Chelsea History Festival

For history-buffs and budding-historians, the Chelsea History Festival will launch this October to bring the past to life through a programme of world-class speakers, historians and performers. The inaugural festival will take place from 9-13 October 2019 along the Royal Hospital Road at founder venues, the National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Chelsea and Chelsea Physic Garden. In it’s first year, the Festival will host a programme of more than 35 free and ticketed events which include talks, concerts and family activities making history more accessible.

Headline Events

Wednesday – the event launches on Wednesday 9 October, on the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden, one of the most daring campaigns of WW2. Celebrated Arnhem veteran, Victor Gregg will be in conversation with bestselling historian Rick Stroud, followed by a lecture from Antony Beevor on the famous ‘battle for the bridges’.

Thursday – join an evening performance of The Lark Ascending, featuring one of the world’s leading lyric baritones, Roderick Williams, taking place in the Royal Hospital Chelsea’s Wren Chapel.

Friday – Max Hastings headlines with a talk on his new book Chastised: The Dambusters Story, 1943 which will be published in September.

Saturday – the principal day of the Festival with over 20 scheduled events including the formidable Sonia Purnell with her New York Times bestseller A Woman of No Importance, history walks around the neighbourhood and David Nott sharing his experiences as a surgeon in Aleppo.


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Chocolate Tuesday

Chelsea Physic Garden’s benefactor, Sir Hans Sloane, observed the use of chocolate mixed with milk as a remedy (yes, chocolate was medicinal!), on his voyage to Jamaica. He licensed the recipe to Mr Nicholas Sanders of Soho, and so ‘Sloane’s Milk Chocolate’ drink was created.

Book tickets for you and the children on 6 August to take part in Chocolate Tuesday, to learn more about the history, geography and science behind the fascinating Theobroma cacao – the tree that eventually leads to chocolate. A brilliant way to spend the morning for those with a sweet-tooth!

The day includes craft activities, a Garden tour, chocolate tasting (delicious), and for mini-chocolatiers in the making, the chance to create your own mixtures to take away.

Tickets cost £15 (per person/child). Book yours here.


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Chelsea Summer Fete 2019

Celebrate the start of summer with the return of the annual Chelsea Summer Fete on Saturday 22 June which takes place across Pavilion Road and Duke of York Square. From yoga classes to traditional fete games and wine bars and delicious food offerings, this is the perfect day for all the family and free to attend.

Duke of York Square will become the ultimate garden party; relax and enjoy the music by roaming musicians programmed by Cadogan Hall, or take part in sporting events and games. Start your morning with a yoga class hosted by KXU at 11am, then refuel with something delicious from the Fine Food Market. The running track will be open for picnics throughout the day as well host football skills sessions by Chelsea FC Foundation from 1pm-2.30pm as well as polo-swing practice, hosted by Westcroft Park.

For the very first time, the running track will become a racecourse of Austin J40 pedal cars that will compete for the prestigious Settrington Cup at the Goodwood Revival. Heats are to be held from 12pm in which children aged 5-10 years old will compete for the chance to take part at this year’s Goodwood Revival, the world’s foremost historic motorsport event (which will be held on 13-15 September).

Enjoy your favourite stories told by Peter Jones & Partners or visit the National Army Museum pop-up for an interactive army experience. The much-loved Chelsea Pensioners will be back by popular demand with a pottery stand, and the Chelsea Physic Garden Flower Crown Workshop will also taking place throughout the afternoon. And to top it all off, children’s entertainers Sharky & George will be hosting the ultimate children’s party.

A stone’s throw away from the Square, Pavilion Road’s artisan shops will open up their restaurant and shop doors to create a wonderful street party. Wander up and down to taste exceptional foodie offerings from Provenance Butcher’s BBQ, patisseries and pizza at the Bread Ahead stall, a seafood BBQ from ‘fishmonger by day, seafood bar by night’, The Sea, The Sea and refreshing ice cream and sorbet by Ice Cream Union. Or, relax with a glass of wine or cocktail at Pavilion Wine, accompanied by cheese at London Cheesemongers, or at Hans’ Bar & Grill’s cocktail stand. Roaming musicians, face painters and balloons will there throughout the day as well as Sharky & George keeping the little ones entertained.

The Summer Fete is complimentary to attend and will begin at 11am. Please note the Fine Food Market will open as usual at 10am. The full map of activity can be downloaded here soon.

See you there!


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Living Medicine: Self-Care Basics

Join the experts at the Chelsea Physic Garden for an award-winning course on 10 March 2019 on living medicines; perfect for anyone interested in healing plants and foods, health, gardens and working with communities. This is the first of a five-part course to give you a grounding in you wellbeing using foods and herbs and will cover the basics of herbal therapeutics, basic food self-care, and remedy making.

Take part in a discussion, taste and identify healing plants, enjoy practical remedy making and learn how to assess your own health and diet.

Participation is £108pp and includes morning tea and coffee, lunch, afternoon tea and cake along with handouts and your own remedy to take home.

More info and how to book can be found here.


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Chelsea Physic Garden Christmas Fair

Soothe any holiday season stress at the annual Christmas Fair at the Chelsea Physic Garden on 24 and 25 November.

Over 100 stands selling unique gifts and produce from the finest British suppliers will fill the Garden. Enjoy warming winter herbal lattes and generous helpings of reviving mulled wine, tuck into seasonal refreshments and even stretch those vocal cords with some carols.

Take part in a wrapping masterclass from Jane Means, the gift-wrapping expert, to ensure your presents are dressed in the glorious packaging they deserve. Father Christmas will be on hand for the little ones to sort out the naughty, the nice and those who are a bit of both.

Yule not be disappointed!

Tickets are £6 (children free). Book yours here.


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Supper Talk: The Social History of the Pub

Head to the Chelsea Physic Garden for the latest in their Supper Talk series; the social history of the pub. Join James Kneale on 6 September for a fascinating insight into the development of the drinking culture.

It could be argued that Britain’s relationship with drink mirrors the evolution of the nation and is interwoven with themes from colonial and imperial history, industrialisation and social change. Follow a brief overview of this history, Kneale will then concentrate his talk on the changing fortunes of the pub from the end of the  18th Century through to mid-20th Century and examine the reasons for its evolution, uses, character and form. He will take you through the different places that we recognise today – gin shops, gin palaces, beer houses, ‘jerries’ and ‘she beens’, improved pubs and teetollers pubs, roadhouses, flash city taverns and bucolic country inns.

Tickets cost £17 which include Garden entry and a glass of wine. Supper tickets can be bought separately at an additional £17. Both tickets can be bought here.

The talk commences at 7pm and sittings for supper start at 5.45pm or 8pm.


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Chelsea Summer Fete

This Saturday, 23 June, the Chelsea Summer Fete returns for an even bigger celebration of summer.

For those enjoying a sunny staycation in the Capital this summer, come to Chelsea for day of entertainment, perfect to enjoy with family and friends. From 10am – 6pm across Duke of York Square and Pavilion Road, welcome in the sunny season with traditional fete fun, delicious food and drink and fabulous live music programmed by Cadogan Hall.

At Duke of York Square, grab some food and a glass of fizz from the Fine Food Market and head to the running track, open for picnics. Chelsea FC will be onside to help with those footie skills, Sharky & George are hosting the ultimate summer party throughout the afternoon, Ham Polo Club will be on hand to help perfect your swing and Peter Jones will be out and about with storytelling and garden games for all the family. Don’t miss out on the fantastic stalls as well hosted by Chelsea Physic Garden, the National Army museum and all the traditional games you’d expect from your favourite summer fete! Visit Pavilion Road for face painting and a fantastic BBQ to fill you up of for your fun day ahead as well as many other treats and games, perfect for all the family.

Download a leaflet and map of what’s going on across the area here.



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Beverages, Bubbles and Blues

Celebrate Father’s Day with a wonderful day of live music and delicious drink themed fun at the Chelsea Physic Garden.

Music from Rachael Calladine Jazz Trio from the 606 Club will be performing throughout the afternoon whilst you enjoy pop-ups from the Mondo Brewery and Coolhurst wine. Take part in talks, trails and even pond-dipping, providing fun for all the family.

Tickets include entry into the garden and price is reduced for children.


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Chelsea Physic Garden Royal Wedding Open Day

Aside from the gardens of Windsor Castle themselves, where else could be more beautiful to witness the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle than Chelsea Physic Garden.

From 11am – 6pm on 19 May, entrance will be free to honour the special day and there will be lots on offer for the whole family.

Take part in the self-led ‘Royal’ mystery tour or sit and watch the ceremony on the outdoor screen. Should you get peckish, tuck in to some of the delicious food on offer or sip on a ‘Minty Markle’ cocktail then when you’re feeling a bit more creative you can learn how to create a floral crown with Bloomologie or enter into the best hat competition.

Make sure you add this to your diary!



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