There’s a hint of autumn in the air, which can mean only one thing – The Royal County of Berkshire Show is nearly here. The show represents a fantastic day out for all ages with lots going on to delight all members of the family.
This year’s show is being held over the weekend of 20 and 21 September at the fine Newbury Showground – easily accessible and well signposted for those arriving by car, East–West via the M4 and North–South via the A34. (You are advised to follow the AA signs rather than Sat Nav as the organisers put a special traffic management system in place to ensure you reach it by the best possible route and keep traffic flowing.)
The Newbury and District Agricultural Society held the first Newbury Show, as it was originally known, on 28 September 1909 at Enborne Gate Farm, establishing its new home at the showground in 1984. For over a century the show has provided locals and visitors alike with a wonderful spectacle. The show has grown and became a two-day event in 1976; it is recognised as one of the UK’s leading agricultural shows and welcomes around 65,000 visitors each year.
Many people come to The Royal County of Berkshire Show to enjoy events that link to its grass roots – the livestock. As well as admiring the animals and watching judging for a variety of categories, a grand parade of prize-winning cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, llamas and alpacas takes place on both days.
Horses are always a popular feature: whether you prefer watching elegant show jumpers in the BSJA International Showjumping Series Final or the majestic heavy horses in the National Heavy Horse Driving Championships, all are great entertainment. Or what about the farriers’ display, with farrier competitions for both apprentices and experts in horseshoe making and fitting? Equally entertaining, and often hilarious, is the on-stage sheep show where you can learn about the different sheep and be fascinated at the shearing skills of the team.
The Food Fayre is always a must, with lots of local producers selling their wares and many offering the chance to have a taste before you buy. Lots of people are fans of TV cookery shows, and now is your chance to see it happening live in the The Cookery Theatre. Several local chefs will be entertaining the crowds with their culinary skills, so make sure you check out the timetable of all the different goodies being conjured up so that you don’t miss out on any favourites.
The Craft Marquee gets bigger and better every year and is always full of fascinating exhibits – and it’s not too early to start putting something special aside as Christmas presents. All the tradestalls around the ground are a shopper’s paradise too; there is so much to see – from hats to cars, from furniture to wellies – definitely worth a wander around! And don’t eat before you arrive because there are food and drink stands aplenty.
Something especially exciting for thrill-seekers this year will be displays from the Honda Bolddog Lings motorcycle stunt team (seen on TV’s Britain’s Got Talent) who are topping the bill and will surely have everyone on the edge of their seats as their riders leap across 75 foot gaps and fly up to 35 feet in the air.
The adventurous will love the chance to have a go in the Sports Zone, with all sorts of different sports to try out. Or what about 4x4 Land Rover training, den building, or testing your ability on the assault course in the Army Zone?
For those who prefer something gentler, the Vintage Area will have displays of tractors and other farming machinery through the years, and a chance to see different farming tasks being carried out, such as bailing, log splitting and water pumping. And don’t miss out on the Flower Tent which always has the most wonderful displays of flowers, fruits and vegetables – it’s great fun to see who’s won what and read the judges’ comments.
A special ending to the day on both the Saturday and Sunday this year takes shape with a mass hot-air-balloon ascent – this promises to be a perfect, tranquil and beautiful finale to a full-on day!
You can save money by purchasing tickets for the show before 19 September – available on-line and from lots of different outlets in and around Newbury, including Newbury Visitor Information Centre, Newbury Building Society, Carter Jonas and Camp Hopson to name but a few in the town centre – but there lots more places too, including in the surrounding towns and villages. For details of all the outlets selling tickets, to buy them on-line or to find out more about the Royal County of Berkshire Show 2014, visit www.newburyshowground.co.uk.