There are plenty of farming events that take place annually with some of the larger occasions not to be missed. Here we take a look at some of the biggest and best events of the farming calendar from horse trials through to shows both here in the UK and abroad.
Devon County Show
Devon County Show is held in May every year with the next scheduled show taking place in 2016. The Devon County Show is a popular event in the farming calendar with around one hundred thousand visitors passing through the gates every year. The Westpoint Showground is located one mile from Junction 30 of the M5 on the A3052 Exeter to Sidmouth Road. There is free Wi-Fi available all around the ground, plenty of parking space, food outlets and picnic areas. Trades people wishing to book a stand for the 2016 show may do so in the autumn.
What's On at The Show?
The Devon County Show has something for everyone whether you hail from a rural background or not. There are plenty of farming related show stands displaying farming machinery, while when it comes to food and drink visitors are spoiled for choice. Naturally one of the main features of the show is the livestock with animals such as alpacas, sheep, cows, pigs, cavies, hens and horses in evidence, while floral displays, gardens and handicrafts are located in the huge marquee in the centre of the show ground.
Entertainment is one of the great attractions of the show too with gymkhana displays and competitions, army displays, tractor rides, vintage cars and steam engines adding to the excitement. Young farmers and juniors also get involved in many of the competitions, while in 2015 there was even a "Spring Sausage Competition". The Devon Farm of the Year Award is highly contested every year, while this year the show was opened by HRH Princess Anne.
It's no wonder that the Devon County Show is one of the most popular in this area as the range of attractions, animals and entertainment improves year on year. Those who are interested in joining the Devon County Agricultural Association will enjoy many perks when it comes to visiting the Devon County Show. Membership details are available at the show website.
- Devon County Show
- West Point
- Clyst St Mary
- EX5 1DJ
- Tele 01392 446 000
Great Yorkshire Show
The next Great Yorkshire Show, organised by Yorkshire Agricultural Society, will be held from Tuesday 12th to Thursday 14th July 2016 and is considered to be the biggest and best agricultural show in Yorkshire. The show ground is located in Harrogate North Yorkshire and offers so many attractions, entertainment, plants and animals in a beautiful rural setting that it is no surprise that the show has thousands of visitors every year. When the sun shines it's even more fun but even if the weather isn’t kind there is so much to see and do at the Great Yorkshire Show that you probably won't even notice!
What's On at The Show?
Firstly let's mention the Hospitality Suite where visitors can book a table for the day to enjoy all that the show has to offer in ambient surroundings. The price of £135.00 + VAT includes, entrance price, parking, morning coffee, buffet lunch and wine, afternoon tea, grandstand tickets and a free souvenir programme. Booking a place in the suite is great when celebrating a special occasion such as an important birthday or anniversary. Of course not everyone can afford the hospitality suite or wishes to spend their day here so what else does the Great Yorkshire Show have to offer us visitors?
Livestock plays a prominent role at the show with cattle, goat, pigs and sheep rings along with a riding ring and show jumping proving popular year on year. Animals are entered into competitions with prizes for the best animals in their various classes. Most of the animals can be stroked too which is great for the kids and some animals not only show but enter races too! Sheep shearing is a firm favourite with visitors too with the competition fierce between the entrants. It really is an amazing sight if you have not experienced sheep shearing in the past.
Horticulture and Food
Plants and garden produce also feature heavily, while both the fashion and art pavilions prove really popular. Most of the shows events run over all three days but there are variations therefore it is best to check for up to date information at the website. There are plenty of food and produce stalls with many selling off their wares at very reasonable prices. Food competitions include the Supreme Dairy Product which was won in 2015 by a gentleman who produces delicious ice cream. This competition includes four classes which are ice cream, cheese, yogurt and milk.
Demonstrations and displays are a highlight of the show and will keep the little ones enthralled, while there are also plenty of competitions for adults and children alike to enter. Food demonstrations certainly draw in the crowds too in the Game Cookery Theatre. Famous chefs show us mere mortals how it's done with Rosemary Shrager doing just that this year. The show also featured a Black Smithing Beginners Taster Session this year for the first time, while the Shetland Pony Grand National was also new.
In 2015 the show was opened by HRH Prince Charles. Traders who wish to register for the Great Yorkshire Show 2016 may do so now at the website, while sponsorship opportunities are also offered to companies who wish to back the show.
- The Great Yorkshire Show
- Great Yorkshire Showground
- HG2 8NZ
The Vale of Glamorgan Agricultural Show
The Vale of Glamorgan Agricultural Show is held annually in August at Fonmon Castle in the Vale of Glamorgan and is open all day from eight in the morning until eight in the evening. This show is one of the most successful agricultural shows in Wales attracting over twenty thousand visitors making it the largest one day event in the area. The Vale of Glamorgan Agricultural Society has been on the go for over two hundred and fifty years with the actual show established and held in this location since the early nineteen nineties.
What's On at the Show?
There's certainly plenty to see and do at the show as there are over two hundred trade stands sited on the field to peruse, while the variety of produce exhibited is locally grown and is incredible.
The Food Hall
The Food Hall is very popular with visitors having over thirty stalls packed with delicious goodies. Cooked food is also available to buy from six different stalls with seating provided for those who wish to sit and eat their purchases. Those who wish to set up a stall in the food hall must contact the organisers. The name and address is provided at the website.
A shopping mall is included in the attractions where traders may display their produce.
Craft Fair and Horticulture
The Craft Fair is very popular with visitors. Home grown produce is in abundance, while the horticultural side of things is a real crowd pleaser.
Naturally kids love to see the animals on show and there are plenty to see here with the new poultry show featuring for the first time in 2015. The dog show is a main event along with cows and sheep that compete for best of breed. Horses classes are held for most of the day then all the animals that have excelled in their class take part in a final procession around the ring together.
From the east leave the M4 at Junction 33 toward Cardiff West and from the west leave the M4 at Junction 35 toward Pencoed. The show is held at Fonmon Castle. The postcode for sat-navs is CF62 3ZN.
- Fonmon Castle
- Vale of Glamorgan
- CF62 3ZN
Dorset County Show
The Dorset County Show will be held this year on the 5th and 6th of September at the Dorchester Show Ground that is located just one mile from the centre of the town. The show is now in its one hundred and seventy fifth year and is one of the most popular shows pulling in thousands of visitors over its two day event. The show is run by people who love farming and have an interest in farming for the future. The Dorset County show is a great day out for all the family with plenty to see and do for all age groups.
What's On at the Show?
As with all agricultural shows there are plenty of amazing animals to see with many taking part in competitions. Chickens, pigs, goats, sheep and even massive bulls can be seen along with horses, rabbits, dogs, alpacas, birds of prey and Guinea pigs.
Gardening and Horticulture
Many of us love to view the beautiful floral displays and amazing vegetables on show in the tents around the ground. Dorset County Show boasts a horticulture marquee, a floral pavilion and trade stands overflowing with produce.
Visitors can watch craft demonstrations such as thatch makers or blacksmiths at the show. It's really interesting watching the skill of these talented people, while there are also plenty of stalls selling everything from jewellery to clothing and candles.
Events at the Show
There is so much to see and do at the Devon County Show that it is hard to choose what to see first. Visitors may sit in a covered grandstand to watch show jumping, carriages or even vintage tractors which seem to be a real crowd puller at the show. Take a seat in the countryside ring and watch the sheep dog display or the hound parade, while the Lake ring offers ferret racing, gun dog displays and terrier racing. Further events you may wish to see include
- Live cookery demonstrations
- Sheep Shearing
- Cattle Competitions
- Fishing Demos
- Goat Showing
There is also usually a fun fair in attendance offering all the usual rides and attractions.
Naturally there are many food outlets all around the show ground along with three food courts to choose from. There are two food halls boasting over sixty stands and three public bars. Private members' dining is also offered. Please see the website for further details.
- Dorchester Agricultural Society
- Agriculture House
- Acland Road
- DT1 1EF
- Tele 01305 264249
The Balmoral Show
The Balmoral Show takes place annually in Balmoral Park, Lisburn, Northern Ireland with the 2015 show having been yet again a resounding success. The show for 2016 is already in the planning stages with hundreds of exciting features for all the family to enjoy. The show takes place over three days, while a shuttle service runs from Lisburn Train Station to the showground throughout the three day period.
What's On At The Show?
Animals at the agricultural show are always a huge draw for visitors and the Balmoral Show is no exception as a wide range of livestock can be seen here. Horses, ponies, ducks, poultry, beef and dairy cattle, goats, pigs, sheep and rabbits are just some of the amazing animals on show that may be viewed up close and personal by visitors, while many win the best in their class when competing in their section.
Another huge draw is the fabulous children's farm where kids can hold or pet the animals and also help to feed them too. The farm houses some more unusual species too such as snakes and tarantulas, while on a lighter note kids can have their faces painted or opt to have a glitter tattoo!
Show jumping isn't just for the horsey set as competition at the Balmoral Show brings in many visitors who love to watch the live show jumping. National and international riders take part offering visitors the opportunity to see some talented riders in action.
Tractors and Fun Fair
Here is your opportunity to view some fabulous vintage tractors along with more up to date machinery, while the yearly fun fair offers tons of fun for both young and old.
Further attractions of the Balmoral Show include
- Riding for the disabled
- South American Music
- Activity Zone
- Garden Village
- Sheep shearing
- Hundreds of stalls and eateries
The showground has plenty of parking although it doesn't come free.
- Balmoral Show
- Balmoral Park
- Maze Long Kesh
- BT27 5RF
Royal Highland Show
The Royal Highland Show is one of the largest agricultural shows in the UK as is offers a huge platform for the promotion of all things rural including farming matters and the food we produce. With over five thousand exhibition participants and over two thousand animals on show the Royal Highland Show really is a show not to be missed!
What's On at The Show?
It would probably be easier to mention the types of horses, sheep and cattle you won't see at the show than the ones you can but just look at this list!
- Shetland Ponies
- Highland Ponies
- Dozens of Species of Sheep
- Dozens of Species of Cattle
- Many types of Horses
Competition between the breeds of animal is taken very seriously with winning a champion's award here something dreams are made of!
Show Jumping and Blacksmith Demonstrations
This section is very popular as it features some sixteen classes with many famous riders participating as the rewards come with great prestige as well as being generous financially. Along with the show jumping there are farrier competitions and horse shoeing demonstrations and competitions too.
The Show Dance is where visitors can join in the fun until the early hours with dancing, singing and maybe a drink or two available. Tickets to the show dance cost £10.00 per person when bought online.
We would expect dairy produce to feature heavily and it does at the Royal Highland Show. Honey tasting sessions take place in the tent, while there are competitions (Gold Silver and Bronze) for cheese, ice cream, honey and butter, with large companies and small independent producers entering the fray together.
- Royal Highland Show
- Royal Highland Centre
- EH28 8NB
Bucks County Show
The Bucks County Show takes place at Weedon Park on the A413 just outside Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. This one day annual show offers a whole host of entertainment for all the family making it one of the most popular shows in the country with thousands of visitors attending every year. Car parking is free of charge.
What's On at The Show?
Animal lovers will have a ball at the Bucks County show as there is any number of fabulous breeds of cattle, sheep (don't miss the unique sheep show) horses, goats and much more. There is also a great show jumping event show casing some famous riders and their amazing horses.
Why not pop along to see the working dogs, hunting hounds, stick making, hedge laying, thatching and farrier demonstrations.
Trade Stands and Food Hall
There are literally hundreds of interesting stalls to look around at the show along with delicious food stuffs and craft stands.
Those who love all things vintage will be pleased to learn that there is a display of vintage tractors on show at the ground every year. There are plenty of owners handy to answer any questions that may arise, while this display attracts the crowds every year without fail.
Home and Garden Display
This tent offers something for everyone and includes bakery items, wines, preserves, photography, flowers, fruit and vegetables. Children's classes are also held in the tent with more information available at the website.
Marching Band and Stunt Riders
The 2015 show features the Royal Artillery Band who will be performing twice at the show. The Bold Dog Lings Stunt Team will also be performing twice in 2015. This show is exhilarating to say the least and is a very popular feature at the show year on year. Visitors may remember watching the stunt bike team on the Britain's Got Talent Show.
Children's Cooking Demonstration
Local school children take part in this cooking demo encouraging others to learn how to cook, while making cooking fun. Kids just love this demo presented by Henri Le Worm who is voiced by Simon Pegg.
- Bucks County Show
- Weedon Park
The show office address is as follows
- The Old Barn
- Wingbury Courtyard Business Village
- Leighton Road
- HP22 4LW
- Tele 01296 680400
RHS Chelsea Flower Show
The Chelsea Flower Show is one of the biggest horticultural events of the year with visitors flocking to the show in their thousands. The event is held every year in the grounds of the Royal Chelsea Hospital and exhibitors gain publicity from TV, Radio and documentary makers who descend on the show every year. Even her majesty the queen pays the show a visit to look around the many wonderful themed creations produced by the contributors. The next Chelsea Flower Show will take place in May 2016, runs for a week and is organised by the Royal Horticultural Society. Tickets will be available from November 2015 with discounted tickets available for RHS members.
What's On at The Show?
Most of the contributors to the show hope to win an award of some kind, while there are many categories to enter including
- Best Show Garden
- People's Choice Show Garden
- People's Choice Fresh Garden
- Best Fresh Garden
- Best Artisan Garden
- People's Choice Best artisan Garden
Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded along with silver gilt medals, while further categories also include Young Chelsea Florist of the Year and The Great Pavilion Awards.
Whether you love gardening or not you cannot fail to be inspired and delighted by the many fabulous gardens that are created especially for the show. All the gardens have a theme and are titled accordingly. One such exhibit in 2015 was The Hidden Beauty of Kranji with Esmond and Uniseal. This garden was inspired by Kranji a suburb of Singapore and showcased tropical plants, orchids, coconuts, palms and ferns transporting the visitor to exotic climbs.
Hidden Beauty of Kranji Garden
Food and Drink
There are plenty of choices when it comes to eating and drinking at the show with food from sandwiches through to three course meals available. The show boasts a restaurant and champagne lounge, indoor food courts and outside catering plus picnic areas so something for all tastes really.
- Chelsea Flower Show
- Royal Hospital Road
- SW3 4SR
The Royal Horticultural Society Headquarters is as follows
- 80 Vincent Square
- SW1P 2PE
- Tele 020 3176 5800
The British Pig and Poultry Fair
The next British Pig and Poultry Fair will take place on the 10th and 11th May 2016 in Stoneleigh Park Warwickshire. This show is the only dedicated pig and poultry industry event therefore is very important in their calendar, while the show takes place every two years. Those who are wishing to grow their business in this area will find the show a must visit as the event showcases the latest equipment and services, while it’s a great place to do some networking and get to know who is in the know too.
What's On at The Fair?
The show has over three hundred exhibitors and there is plenty of advice and new ideas to be found here. Many of the major industries and producers concerned with pig and poultry farming exhibit at the show and a comprehensive list of who's who is available at the website. Topics covered by the exhibitors include
- Animal Health
- Feed and Nutrition
- Breeding and Genetics
- Farming Energy
- Housing and Ventilation
- Handling Equipment
- Packing and processing
- Business Management and Training
Entry to the fair is free as well as free parking too. Free Wi-Fi and unloading is provided for exhibitors and booking your place is facilitated at the website. Stoneleigh Park is located on the B4113, while the postcode for sat nav use is CV8 2LG.
Field Farm Tours
Field Farm Tours are a dedicated travel company that specialises in the agricultural industry. A list of accommodation is available from the Field Farm Tours website. Further accommodation is offered at Stoneleigh Park Lodge which is a four star guest house located within the shows grounds.
Stonleigh Park Room
- British Pig and Poultry Fair
- Stoneleigh Park
- CV8 2LG