Schools' Bug Hotel Competition Factsheet

RHS Chatsworth Flower Show 2017

The bug hotels will aid in increasing the awareness of biodiversity and gardening for wildlife within schools and local communities in support of RHS Campaigns: RHS Greening Grey Britain, RHS Campaign for School Gardening, Wild about Gardens and Perfect for Pollinators.

Before completing your application pack, please read through this document. It explains:

  • What happens next
  • Key contacts
  • Theme
  • Regulations
  • Staging
  • Prizes
  • Visiting the show

What happens next

Applications must be received no later than 24 March 2017. Your completed application along with a colour photograph or drawing of your bug hotel will then be reviewed. If your design has been accepted, you will be contacted in April 2017 by email confirming your acceptance into the show.

The class (up to 20 children and 4 adults) involved in making the bug hotel will have the opportunity to come to the show on Tuesday 6 June to stage the bug hotel in the show ground. When the bug hotel has been set up the rest of the day can be spent looking around the show. Tuesday 6 June is press/preview day and the show will be relatively free of people, so it will be a wonderful opportunity to look around without the crowds.  

The bug hotels will be on display for the whole of show week. During this time visitors to the show will be able to vote for their favourite. Votes will be counted at 12 noon on Sunday 11 June and the winning bug hotel will be announced on the RHS website and by email to all participants. Prizes are available for the three most popular.

After the show the bug hotels will be available for collection on Monday 12 June.

Key contacts

Shows Department general telephone: 020 3176 5800

Garden development and enquiries:
Show Manager: Jenny Jenner
020 7821 3128

Deputy Show Manager: Liz Patterson
0207 821 3198

Applications, contracts, contact details, wristbands and passes:
Exhibitor Services Coordinator: Anna Skibniewski-Ball
020 7821 3362

Technical details, operations and health and safety:
Operations Manager: Amy Foster
020 7821 3665

Press Office:
020 7821 3043

Marketing Office: 
020 7821 3036

Accounts Office:
01483 479743
01483 212399

Shows Health & Safety:
020 7821 3087

Show identity

The first RHS Chatsworth Flower Show celebrates ‘Design Revolutionaries’ and takes this as its overarching theme.

Through the ages Chatsworth has attracted revolutionary thinkers who have made their mark. William Talman, Joseph Paxton and ‘Capability’ Brown are among those who shaped the house, gardens and landscape as we know them today. Contemporary designers and architects such as Dan Pearson, Thomas Heatherwick and Tom Stuart-Smith carry on the movement, keeping Chatsworth relevant and continuing the association with today’s design revolutionaries.  

As well as celebrating creative and inspiring people who have shaped our gardening design history, the theme will showcase key trends and look to the future of gardening and garden design, providing a platform for the dreamers and innovators of tomorrow.  Please keep this in mind when developing your application and consider how your design will support and strengthen the Design Revolutionaries theme.


Celebrating Inspiring Architecture: Past, Present and Future

Help us to mark this historic occasion by creating large bug hotels inspired by ‘Inspiring architecture; past, present and future’ celebrating ‘Design Revolutionaries’.


  • Entries are welcomed from all primary/secondary schools and Conservation/Wildlife Clubs (up to age 15 or year 10) from the following counties of England (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Yorkshire, West Midlands), who are registered with the RHS Campaign for School Gardening.
  • If you are not already registered, it is easy and free. Click here to register.
  • No charge is made for entering the competition.
  • You will need to return a signed attendance letter and complete a risk assessment by May 2017.  
  • Only one entry per school is permitted. (If your school consists of both primary and secondary education, an entry from each age range category will be permitted).

Bug hotel

  • Every bug hotel must include elements of plant material which can be a mixture of dried or living. Minimum requirements are that at least 10% of the Bug Hotel is planted. This could be in the form of a green roof or within the structure to make the bugs feel cosy and at home.
  • Bug hotels should be well made and made from scratch. You are encouraged to use recycled materials but it is important that the hotels are substantial and able to withstand all weather conditions.
  • The minimum base size is the size of a standard pallet 1200mm x 1000m x 150mm with a maximum height of 1.5m. There should be no loose or easily detachable parts.
  • Imitation plant material should not be used.
  • You may use props to accessories or enhance your hotel.
  • Bug hotels must follow the theme ‘Celebrating inspiring architecture; past, present and future’.
  • Your entry may be a single bug hotel or a group.


  • Each school is responsible for bringing their bug hotel to the show on Sunday 4 June or Monday 5 June pm. These should be in modular parts to make it easier to transport and fit together onsite. A maximum of 2 adults only will be permitted to access site to stage the main part of the Bug Hotel.
  • One wooden palette 1200x1000x150mm will be provided for each school and cable ties for fixing will also be provided to guarantee a firm foundation. Please take this into account when designing your bug hotel.
  • Schools are advised to bring any additional fixings such as nails to help secure their bug hotel. If in any doubt please contact the show team for advice.
  • The staging area is a distance from the car park. We will therefore allow vehicle access where possible to drop off exhibits on the Sunday or Monday. Final dressing may be added by the school on the morning of press/preview day. Schools should still however, consider how they will move their exhibit to the staging area if vehicular access is restricted. Please let us know if you foresee any problems.

Risk assessments

After acceptance into the show each school will be required to submit a risk assessment to the RHS regarding the schools visit. The RHS will provide guidelines and an example risk assessment with the attendance confirmation. Passes to access the show will only be issued once the risk assessment has been received.

Collecting your bug hotel

Bug Hotels will be available for collection on Monday 12 June between the hours of 13:00 – 18:00. Please confirm with the show team what time you expect to arrive.


All schools will receive a certificate of participation.

Prizes are available for the three most popular bug hotel as voted for by the visitors to the show. The prizes will be as follows:

  • 1st prize - £200 Garden Centre Vouchers and a certificate
  • 2nd prize - £125 Garden Centre Vouchers and a certificate
  • 3rd prize - £50 Garden Centre Vouchers and a certificate

Visiting the show

  • A maximum of 20 school children and 4 teachers’ passes will be provided for each school to access the show on the press/preview day Tuesday 6 June.
  • On receipt of the schools confirmation of attendance and risk assessment, press/preview day passes for adults and wristbands for children will be posted. Before arriving at the show schools must ensure that the child’s name and a mobile telephone number for a supervisor is written onto each wristband.
  • If friends and family would also like to come to the show then tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 0844 338 7505.

Chatsworth Education Team

The education team at Chatsworth deliver a range of activities across the house, garden and farmyard. These visits can be either self-guided or facilitated by staff.  As part of the outdoor learning programme the Chatsworth education team have introduced a new session this year called Living Sculptures that will give you some ideas and techniques that may be useful if you are entering the RHS Bug Hotel competition. The Chatsworth team would love to welcome you and your group to Chatsworth. To find out more please visit or email for further details to

Ready to apply? Go back to the competition page.

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