Chelsea fever will make a splash in Exeter this year

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Flowers are currently at the front of everyone’s mind thanks to RHS Chelsea Flower Show later this month, but floral fever is spreading far further than London this year. Between 22nd to 24th May, Exeter is set to get a taste of the glamour with the launch of the first ever Exeter Floral Trail, part of the Chelsea Fringe Festival.

The Exeter Floral Trail will feature beautiful, bespoke floral designs displayed in historic and retail sites across Exeter city centre. Over 18 venues have signed up to be part of the initiative, which is being supported by InExeter, Devon County Council, Princesshay and John Lewis, and aims to raise awareness and funds for AgeUK Exeter.

The event is the brainchild of the team at the British Academy of Floral Art in Dunchideock, Exeter, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Over the past decade it has produced a record number of RHS Chelsea Gold medallists and British Master Florists. Academy Principal, Tina Parkes, who won RHS Chelsea Gold with her Floral Kite just last year said: “We are excited to be bringing the Chelsea Fringe Festival to the city for the first time and have been overwhelmed by the positive response to the idea of the Exeter Floral Trail. We aim to bring a hint of floral magic to the city, whilst raising awareness and funds for the valuable work of AgeUK Exeter.”

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Visitors to Exeter over the three days will find unique floral designs created by tutors and students at the Academy of Floral Art in the retail outlets of Build-a-Bear, Caroline Charles, Cath Kidston, Crafty Cakes, John Lewis, Lloyds Lounge, Mantis, Music Unlimited, Waterstones, White Stuff as well as AgeUK Exeter. Some displays will feature in store windows and on view day and night, whilst others may nestle within the venue - accessible only during opening hours.

Exeter’s historic venues are participating with designs to be installed in St Nicholas Priory, Exeter University and in the grounds of Exeter Cathedral. The city’s retail florists are backing The Exeter Floral Trail initiative too with their own Chelsea Fringe Festival displays at Trugs Florist, St Leonard’s Florist, Jane’s Florist, Dunstan’s Florist and Blooms Florist.

Spotting the floral designs will be made easier with a special Exeter Floral Trail guide available from Exeter Tourist Information, Exeter Cathedral and participating locations or online at and on the website of organisers, British Academy of Floral Art, at

The Exeter Floral Trail will make stunning Chelsea Fringe Festival selfies, and visitors will be encouraged to post their images on social media using the hashtags #exeterfloraltrail #chelseafringe2018 #britishacademyoffloralart.

Images: British Academy of Floral Art by Maggie McCall