Virtual Reality: the best online things to do this week (18-24 May 2020)

Mhairi Mann

19 May 2020

In the week that should have been Chelsea Flower Show, enjoy an abundance of digital offerings from Monty Don and friends

19 May 2020 | Mhairi Mann

RHS Virtual Chelsea

This week, throngs of Panama hats and floral prints would ordinarily descend upon Sloane Square for Chelsea Flower Show and Chelsea in Bloom. The physical event has sadly been called off this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but you can still immerse yourself in bountiful blooms via RHS Virtual Chelsea. The world's largest flower show has gone digital, allowing you to explore award-winning gardens and nurseries across the world from the comfort of your home. Look out for daily lunchtime Q&A sessions with gardening experts; floristry masterclasses with hosts including Larry Walshe and Nikki Tibbles and child-friendly activities with The School Gardening Club. Alan Titchmarsh and Monty Don will be fixtures throughout the week, and you can also share pictures of your own garden online, using the hashtag #mychelseagarden.

Courtesy of @the_rhs

The Dorchester Afternoon Tea home delivery

The Dorchester hotel in Mayfair has launched a special Afternoon Tea home delivery service in partnership with RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The elegant wicker hamper includes finger sandwiches, fresh scones, dainty pastries and a 375ml bottle of Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label Brut NV. 100% of proceeds from the sale of teas this week will be donated to The Royal Horticultural Society, the world's leading garden charity.

The afternoon tea offering will continue throughout June, alongside 'Make it Yourself' hampers from The Grill at The Dorchester. These will include all of the ingredients you need to rustle up signature dishes from the hotel restaurant, including beef wellington and lobster thermidor tart. A percentage of the proceeds from sales will be donated to Manorfield Primary School in Tower Hamlets. To read more about how The Dorchester and other luxury hotels in London are assisting during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

The Afternoon Tea hamper costs £60 per person (minimum two people); Delivery is available within a 4.5-mile radius of The Dorchester or for collection from Parcafé at The Dorchester. All orders must be placed at least 24 hours in advance,

The Dorchester afternoon tea delivery

Listen to Eddie Redmayne reading Harry Potter

You can now listen to Eddie Redmayne's dulcet tones as he reads to you about witchcraft and wizardry, in a new series of 'Harry Potter At Home' recordings. Alongside Redmayne, the new line-up enlists David Beckham, Daniel Radcliffe, Stephen Fry and Dakota Fanning to recite chapters from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, which was the first novel in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, released in 2001. The audio recordings, which are being uploaded throughout May and June, are available to listen to on Spotify and on the Harry Potter At Home website. 

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London Shell Co. Seashore to Front Door delivery boxes

Enjoy fresh fish direct your door this bank holiday weekend. Seafood restaurant London Shell Co., which is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, has launched two delectable delivery boxes. Each one comes packed with fresh seafood, including monkfish kebabs, king prawns, hot smoked salmon and mackerel, as well as a bottle of The Grand Duchess English sparkling wine. The boxes change weekly, and NHS workers can enjoy a 20% discount. For more of London's best gourmet deliveries, click here.

From £45,

London Shell Co. delivery box

Staying In cookbook, photographed by Issy Croker 

A new charitable e-cookbook brings together more than 30 recipes from London's best-loved chefs and food writers, including Melissa Hemsley, Gizzi Erskine, Georgina Hayden, Laura Jackson and Tart London. Recipes, including slow cooks, salads, joyful bakes and cocktails, are accompanied by step-by-step illustrations, beautifully captured by photographer Issy Croker. 100% of the book's proceeds will be donated to the Chefs in Schools emergency appeal fund, to provide support to vulnerable children and their families, with lunch boxes to replace free school meals. 

 The e-cookbook is available to download via a ‘pay what you can’ (minimum £5) donation over on; #StayingInTheBook.