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Hello, has anyone been to the bbc gardeners world live at the NEC before? I have just opened the envelope with my tickets in and am a bit annoyed at all of the hidden extra costs.  When you add them up they come to well over the price of the actual tickets. Now I'm always happy to pay my way, but theses extra costs should have been made clear in all of the advertising. I imagine they appeared somewhere in the 'teeny tiny small print'. £2 to enter the Gardeners World Theatre to hear one of the celebs talk, £2.50 for a shopping bag, £10 to go for a pre-show walk, £10 to park a car, £20 to park your car if you want to be within walking distance of the venue..... there is also a warning that 'the cash points at the event get very busy so bring cash with you' - I imagine they do with all of these extra costs!  Very naughty BBC Gardeners World. 


I built a garden there a couple of years ago, and found the place awful for food, and toilet facilities. The officials were particularly uncaring. Worse, the lighting was so poor that a lot of the plants were drawn up, stems etiolated, and stuff looked sad. I shall never go again!  unfortunately MONEY is what's sought (obviously necessarily), but it taints some shows. 

Chelsea is less of an attraction as it's the place to be seen rather than the place to see. I was fortunate enough to build three years running at Hampton Court, and of the three, that's still my preferred one, particularly before it opens and you can wander around freely. I love Chelsea for its spectacle, but I'm losing the will now to fight through people! HC

If going by train is feasible for you it is only about 10 minutes walk from Birmingham international Station to the Show and all well sign posted so you can't get lost.

Unfortunately all the shows are the same but you are right it should have being clear in the advertising material. When we went last year they were giving bags away as you went in or left ( can't remember which). Strange mix of freebies as there is a food show on at the same time and area but included some mags and seeds from what I remember. So maybe they will be doing that as well this time, will keep my fingers crossed for you

It all sounds awful

I'd rather visit a garden or a nursery or a plant fair

I am going and I went last year too... The car parking charge is made known beforehand. I was advised to park at a nearby railway station and walk (cost ??2) or park at the next railway station north (free) and get the train (cost 50p or thereabouts). I will add that the tickets for this year were given to me as a birthday present. As I am mainly a vegetable grower I would rather be at my allotment but OH doesn't want to waste the tickets.



I've considered parking elsewhere but I 'was' planning on coming home with some goodies and don't fancy lugging stuff all over.  I'll reserve judgement on the show of course until I've been, but it certainly doesn't make for the best introduction.  The exhibitors can't be too chuffed as inevitably those of us without bottomless pockets have less to spend with them if the bbc and the NEC are snaffling so such.

Daniel Haynes

Hello Tootles,

Thanks for your feedback on the show. We sent your comments to Sarah Sandys-Renton on the GW Live team and here is her response:

"We’d like to respond to your comments about the forthcoming show, as we’re sorry to hear of your disappointment.
The Gardeners’ World Theatre does cost an additional £2 for a seat because we invest in a very prestigious line-up of speakers. It’s an open theatre so is not out of view from everyone. We know that seeing a sit-down theatre session isn’t what every visitor desires, so it’s down to the individual to decide whether to book seats. It is the only ticketed theatre, and we have additional live stages which do not require booking including the Garden Solutions Stage, the Kitchen Garden Talks Tent and two demo areas called the RHS Potting Benches. All of these are free to drop in and out of at your will and have extremely good line-ups including Monty Don, Carol Klein and Joe Swift.
The Garden Walks are an exclusive chance to get a preview of the gardens with either GQT’s Matt Biggs or the Big Allotment Challenge’s Jim Buttress. Due to the nature of a walk and talk, these can only be managed in small groups for 20 before the show opens, so as with any such experience, there’s an additional cost.
I’m afraid that the £10 car parking is an NEC charge, and it is possible that they have a premium parking option. All car parks are serviced by shuttle buses should you require them. Shopping bags are simply show merchandise and are completely optional, as are all the added extras which we offer our visitors.
We’re really sorry that you feel misled, but would like to reassure you that all the extras are just that, optional extras. To take up, or not, at your will. On the whole they’re very popular which is why we run them year after year.
We hope that you have a great time, as it’s going to be a fabulous show this year. "

Sarah Sandys-Renton

BBC Gardeners' World Live



Daniel Haynes




Parking at the NEC has always been a ripoff.  Captive audience I suppose.


My idea of hell together with Disney.


Thanks Daniel, and Sarah for taking the time to comment.  I hope the show is going to be fabulous.  The justifications given of course make complete sense but it still doesn't change the fact that me (and I think I'm a pretty average customer) feels just a bit put-out.

As you have so cleverly been able to justify the 'optional extras' above very clearly, may I suggest that you perhaps apply the same amount of clarity with the advertising used to sell tickets? 

Couple of pointers; so it's an open theatre but there is still a charge; very naughty indeed. Car parking is rarely going to be an optional extra when arriving by car to an event promoting gardening items.

The drivers of the shuttle buses like to be paid and there is the upkeep of the car parks. I would imagine that a profit is made out of the provision of the parking facilities though.

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