Chelsea History Festival Announces 2022 Programme

14 July 2022

Today, the Chelsea History Festival announces a packed programme of events for its fourth year, with tickets now on sale for the festival which runs from 17 to 25 September 2022. Founded in 2019, the Chelsea History Festival is a partnership between the National Army Museum, the Royal Hospital Chelsea and Chelsea Physic Garden. It aims to bring the past to life through an immersive programme of events, featuring a brilliant blend of storytellers and performers from different walks of life.

Set across venues in the heart of west London, along the historic Royal Hospital Road, the Chelsea History Festival creates a stage for world-class speakers and authors for a celebration of history and is the perfect place to contemplate the past and its continuing significance in our lives today. The full programme of events can be found at

Festival highlights

Past meets Present

Journalist and author Anna Reid launches the festival with the timely talk, A History of Ukraine: Past and Present on Saturday 17 September. Journey back over a thousand years as Reid draws on her longstanding knowledge of Ukraine to shed light on the history of a country that was once the centre of the first great Slav civilisation in the 10th century.

On Wednesday 21 September, join General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, formerly Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, where he is currently Governor, for The Crisis in Ukraine. He will share his unique security perspective on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and how it heralds a turning point in relations between Russia and Nato.

Key Anniversaries

2022 will see the festival mark a number of key historic anniversaries including: the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with talks from Robert Hardman, journalist and author of Queen of Our Times; 75 years since the Partition of India marked by a talk from journalist and author Kavita Puri; and a 40th anniversary concert to celebrate Sir Michael Morpurgo’s powerful story of humanity and friendship, War Horse.

Official BBC historian, Robert Seatter, and Simon Potter will also present The BBC at 100 on 24 September to mark the centenary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

Interactive Events

Returning for the second year is History Street, an immersive experience in Burton Court, Royal Hospital Road, where expert living historians will bring London’s incredible past to life. Train in medieval combat at the Plantagenet-period Sword School before travelling down the street to meet Tudors, Georgians and 17th-century citizens of London. Meet with soldiers serving in the First and Second World War before snapping back to the present day to meet soldiers who are currently serving in the British Army.

The Royal Hospital Chelsea, home of the iconic veterans of the British Army, will open its doors and offer public tours led by the Chelsea Pensioners on 21 and 23 September. Tickets cost £15 and can be purchased in advance.

Family Activities

Throughout the opening weekend (Saturday 17 – Sunday 18 September) the festival will host a series of events and talks aimed at families. Much-loved children’s authors Iszi Lawrence (comedian and BBC Radio 4’s Making History presenter) and award-winning Tom Palmer will both give talks on their latest books: Billy Swift Takes Flight and Resist: One Girl’s Fight Back Against the Nazis respectively. Meanwhile, Sufiya Ahmed will discuss her thrilling and empowering Second World War adventure, Rosie Roja: Churchill’s Spy.

At the National Army Museum, The History Tellers will bring history to life through a series of performances. From dinosaurs to Dunkirk, children and adults alike will have their imaginations captured with these live shows recreating historical moments.

Chelsea Physic Garden

A talk by Jacek Wajer, Curator of the General Herbarium at the Natural History Museum, on Friday 23 September entitled Philip Miller’s Herbarium, will discuss the impact of Miller’s collection and the Chelsea Physic Garden. Miller was Head Gardener at Chelsea Physic Garden from 1722 to 1770 and under his directorship the number of plants cultivated in England almost doubled.

On Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 September, Chelsea Physic Garden, the oldest botanic garden in London, will open its doors free of charge exclusively for the Chelsea History Festival. Visitors will be able to take part in activities including pond dipping, planting, and storytelling, as well as enjoy the delights of the Physic Garden Café.

Notes to editors

  • Festival dates: 17-25 September 2022
  • Locations:
    Chelsea Physic Garden
    National Army Museum
    Royal Hospital Chelsea
    Burton Court (for History Street)
  • Hashtag: #ChelseaHistoryFest
  • Twitter: @ChelseaHistFest
  • Facebook: Chelsea History Festival
  • Instagram: @chelseahistfest
For further information, to arrange interviews, request press tickets and high-resolution images , please contact:

About the Chelsea History Festival

Founded in 2019, the Chelsea History Festival is a partnership between the National Army Museum, the Royal Hospital Chelsea and Chelsea Physic Garden. Its aim is to entertain, educate and inspire through local, national and global history. Every year, the Chelsea History Festival brings the past to life through an immersive programme of physical and virtual events, featuring a brilliant blend of storytellers and performers from different walks of life. The festival creates a stage in Chelsea, along the historic Royal Hospital Road, for world class speakers and authors for a celebration of history.

About the National Army Museum

Established in 1960 by Royal Charter, the National Army Museum is the United Kingdom’s leading authority on the history and traditions of the British Army. It explores the impact that soldiers from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth have had throughout the world, from the 17th century to the present day. Through its world-class collections, the Museum safeguards and shares the stories and values of ordinary people who have been called upon to bear extraordinary responsibilities on behalf of others.

About the Royal Hospital Chelsea

The Royal Hospital Chelsea is the home of the iconic veterans of the British Army, the Chelsea Pensioners. We offer excellent accommodation, comradeship and the highest standards of care in recognition of their loyal service to the nation. Any former soldier of the British Army over the age of 65, who is facing spending their advanced years alone, can apply for residence as a Chelsea Pensioner. Some 300 army veterans live at the Royal Hospital today, including those who have served in Korea, the Falkland Islands, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and World War II. Others may not have served in campaigns, but all understand what it means to be a soldier and the potential sacrifice that it entails. The Royal Hospital is a Grade I and II listed site, a beautiful architectural legacy left to us by Charles II and Sir Christopher Wren. Maintenance of the site continues today with ongoing restoration work to ensure that this legacy lives on into the future.

About Chelsea Physic Garden

Chelsea Physic Garden is London’s oldest botanic garden. Founded in 1673, it turns 350 in 2023. It has been a teaching garden for all of these 350 years and the core principles of discovery, learning and wellbeing are still realised today through its charitable activities. Within the Garden visitors can find over 4500 species of edible, useful and medicinal plants that help to tell the story of humanity’s relationship with plants. The Garden is an independent charity which relies on public support to ensure it can achieve its purpose of education and public access. Chelsea Physic Garden offers a year-round programme of educational activities, walks, talks, tours and workshops.