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Take a Trip: Country Shows in 2019

Image © Great Yorkshire Show via Facebook

From cheese judging to duck racing, motorcycle displays to fashion shows; a country show is a day out for all of the family

A country show is the summer day out you didn’t know your family needed. Perfect for city dwellers to get back to nature, the events offer livestock shows and competitions, as well as farm fresh produce that’s available to eat and take home. You’ll also find loads to see and do, including motorbike displays, fashion shows, petting zoos and birds of prey. Here’s our recommendations for the best country shows in 2019. 

Image credit: Great Yorkshire Show via Facebook
Great Yorkshire Show, 9-11 July 
Great Yorkshire Showground, Railway Road, Harrogate, HG2 8NZ
As the largest agricultural show in England, the Great Yorkshire Show is a pilgrimage for farmers and country folk. It’s also hosted in the North Yorkshire town of Harrogate, a wonderful tourist spot for those looking to visit the north of England. The show has been in existence since the late 1800s, and this year they celebrate their 161st show. The three-day show sees around 130,000 humans and 8,500 animals pass through the town and showcases the best of good old Northern farming. The competition side of the show will see sheep, pigs, cows, goats, pigeons, poultry and loads more competing to be best in show, as well as dog competitions and equestrian displays. Food is a big deal here, and cheese and dairy produce are also pitted against each other in competition, as well as a huge food tent with live cooking shows and endless options for purchasing food. Amongst many other shows and displays, you can catch a motorcycle display, a daily performance from Lizzie Jones and a variety of fashion shows! Plenty of events and stalls are also catered to budding young farmers, ideal for families with a herd of kids. 

Image credit: The National Country Show Live via Facebook 
The National Country Show Live, 21-22 September 
Rylands Park, Chelmsford, CM2 8FS 
This Essex country show takes place in September, making it a fairly late country show. It is, however, just off the A12 and therefore extremely accessible, making it a hot spot for London and city-based families. Whilst this year’s line-up is still avidly anticipated, a look at the events of 2018 will give you an idea of what to expect from Chelmsford’s country celebration. Not only will you find British farmyard animals here in September, but you’ll also have the chance to meet a whole host of exotic animals. Last year this included pythons, skunks, mongooses and an armadillo, as well as a huge selection of birds of prey. Get hands on with the on-site petting zoo, and with your family dogs more than welcome you’ll find a Fun Dog Zone with obedience classes! Country produce will be plentiful with food and drink stalls, street food areas and goods to take home. You can also browse a range of arts and crafts which makes for wonderfully unique gifts. To top it all off, the show is opened each year by a celebrity (last year it was broadcaster Ben Fogle), so keep an eye out for this year’s hot guest spot! 

Image credit: Kent County Show via Facebook
Kent County Show, 5-7 July 
Kent Showground, Detling, Maidstone, ME14 3JF
This yearly county show is a true celebration of rural British life, taking place in the ‘Garden of England’ county, Kent. The three-day event in the heart of the summer is the ideal weekend to come and see something new whilst celebrating the booming farming industry. This year is the 90th anniversary of the county, and with over 400 exhibitions and 300 competitions, you’ll find endless stuff to see and do. Livestock shows and competitions will see your county’s most impressive cows, sheep and pigs flaunt their stuff, and you can catch impressive equine shows and classes. Gardening and floristry are a big deal here, and competitions offer prize money judged by an RHS member. Not into animals or flowers? The show has an impressive display of vintage vehicles (including tractors, motorcycles, buses and steam engines), and the popular UK pole climbing championship (this is exactly what it says on the tin). Amongst all of this you’ll also find plenty of farmers markets, food stalls and local produce to buy and enjoy! 

Image credit: Brecon County Show​​​​​​​ via Facebook 
Brecon County Show, 3 August 
The Showground, Watton, Brecon LD3 7PL
Always on the first Saturday in August, this one-day Brecon County Show is a popular part of Welsh countryside culture, and an extremely entertaining day for adults and kids alike. With a focus on cows, sheep, horses, goats and poultry, the show offers both classes, presentations and competitions! Much like the Kent County Show, this event showcases vintage and modern machinery and vehicles. They also have over 200 trade stalls, a food hall and a generously sized beer tent! Kids will be enthralled by the FMX motocross display, and no doubt will want one or two rides on at the onsite fairground. This show is the most reasonably priced on our guide, and a family ticket costs only £25 (2 adults & 2 children).