Earls Court is home to the Ideal Home Show again this year, possibly for the last time since there are major development plans which will mean that the exhibition centre is demolished. So, I made a special effort to pop in there at the weekend and have a look around.
The entrance is really spectacular this year. I don’t remember such an effort in the past, but perhaps I’ve just not noticed. This year, there’s a ‘green carpet’ and a really pretty façade on Earls Court 1. I was surprised to find the Chelsea Pensioners there, collecting for the soldier’s fund. And even more surprised to find a FEMALE Chelsea Pensioner (apparently there are 6 of them, to the 240 or so men!)
Inside, there’s a pretty wide range of stands downstairs and some spectacular show houses (always a feature of the Ideal Home Show). There’s more emphasis on the environment and Eco friendly homes and there’s a whole set of ‘Princes’ Trust’ stands, sponsored by Prince Charles.
Perhaps the most eye catching sight is the ‘Home of the Future’, complete with lake and smart car! I didn’t get a chance to watch the show through, but it looked very impressive.
The downside to the fantastic show houses is that, at least on a Saturday afternoon, you have to queue for around 30 minutes to get into each one. And, I found that just too much after I’d already checked the various stands and sat in on the B&Q DIY theatre for a while. My advice is to go during the week if you can! Or, be prepared for a wait.
Upstairs is great if you are looking for small appliances for your home. There are demonstrations of everything you might ever need from magic window cleaners to devices that can microslice an onion in seconds. I was a little disappointed at the food stands which seemed predominantly focussed on fast food (and actually found the smell of the burger stand as you went up the escalator really offputting.
I was really thrilled to find the Cola-Red stand – I love the 1950s look and I’ve been considering getting a small table and chairs for my kitchen. It was great to see them in ‘real life’ without having to travel to Amersham, where they have a showroom. Their products are beautifully made in the US by traditional manufacturing methods so everything has a real weight to it.
Is it worth going this year? Well, it may never be the same again – an exhibition somewhere other than Earls Court just won’t work in the same way. So, yes I think so.
You can book tickets online or by phone for £10-£12, and also organise some food at the same time. It costs a little more on the door so it’s worth getting things set up before you go!