I was a ‘newbie’ to the Great Yorkshire Show last summer, and I really didn’t know WHAT to expect!
Having visited and/or worked at numerous county shows – Ryedale, Westmorland and Driffield – I thought I knew what I was in for … I couldn’t have been more wrong!
One thing that worries many of us travelling to such huge events is the traffic. Given I’d have to get to my local railway station, catch two trains followed by up to two bus transfers, it was much easier to go by car.
I am an early riser anyway, so the 5.00am start was fine by me, and I arrived nice and early, avoiding those legendary queues. An early start is worth considering if you can do it. So I parked in a grass field behind some trees (along with thousands of other cars) and walked to ‘Gold Gate’, the entrance nearest where I’d parked my motor.
Following this 15 min walk from car to gate (hint: if you can, take everything with you to avoid a long walk back to your vehicle) I then ‘saw’ the Great Yorkshire Show … nothing prepared me for the vastness of it; to say it was huge is an understatement!
After being somewhat brusquely treated by those ‘on the door’ (c’mon ladies, it was early in the morning and I did have my ticket to hand), the first job was getting hold of a cup of Yorkshire tea and some breakfast.
It’s fair to say that food at these events isn’t always cheap. Lots of people bring their own food, but if, like me, it’s a rare day out, then there’s loads of places open early selling bacon and sausage butties, coffee, tea and other items.
There was nothing nicer than having freshly cooked breakfast, a strong tea with the summer sky above you!
It’s then a case of wandering round, making sure you know a) where your ‘gate’ is for getting back to your car, b) where the loos are and c) where there’s some seating to have a rest. Goodness knows how many exhibitors attended – hundreds and hundreds – and with the early morning sun shining, it was a great time to get my bearings. As the day progressed, however, it got more difficult to do this because of the crowds. But then people are usually in a good mood and you just have to relax and take it easy.
As the morning crept on, the food hall is a must. This is in the exhibition centre and attracts scores of food producers, from fresh popcorn creators to some of the best olive oils around.
To be honest, I was more fascinated with visiting the livestock areas, pretending I knew exactly what a Suffolk Cross looked like…
However, being a Yorkshire lass, there is something in my blood that get’s all of a dither when I see a magnificent ewe, bull or horse, and of these there are plenty.
This year promises to be just the same, if not better. There will be cattle, sheep, pigs and goats along with equine, agricultural machinery, show ring excitement and more. You can quite easily while away a few hours wandering around, or sitting by the show ring and watch birds of prey, equine events, prize-winning pigs and other events, with a brass band playing in the background. The time comes, though, when you have to start thinking about when to start the journey home. And as accommodation books up well in advance, getting home is matter of patience and…patience.
I waited till 7pm to depart. Even then, there were queues, but very well organised, good-natured ones.
Hats off to the transport guys, as once you’re clear of the entrances to the showground, it’s fairly easy going.
This show is, like many, steeped in tradition, with bowler hats, tweed jackets and rosettes galore, and the overall mood is one of true Yorkshire pride.
The highlights of last year’s show for me were seeing a giant Clanger (come on, I am a child of the 1970s!) and the fabulous livestock. The show also had Royal visitors in the form of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall.
Having been to many shows, the Great Yorkshire Show is aptly named – be sure to attend 12th, 13th or 14th July 2016 to experience it for yourself!
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