We went to one of the oldest agricultural shows in England last weekend and we had a blast. The Royal Bath & West Show takes place over four days in early June at a showground near Shepton Mallet in Somerset. It’s been held every year for over 150 years and it’s one of the best farming shows in the country.
It’s a wonderful day out for families. There’s a great atmosphere with live music and fantastic food. It’s a must for animal lovers of all ages as there are so many demonstrations, competitions and show jumping events. But there’s lots of other things to do from going on one of the fairground rides to riding on the steam train and watching rural crafts.
Here’s my guide to the best things to do with children at the show.
Learn more about animals on the farm
There are thousands of animals at the show from alpacas and cows to hens, horses and pigs. You can watch the animals being judged in the various competitions and take a look at the various breeds in their stalls. The parade of prize winning animals every afternoon is not to be missed.
Do a Family Trail around the showground
Children are given a really good Family Trail booklet at the entrance. The trail guides you around the showground and encourages kids to answer questions and collect stickers on their way around.
Go on a fairground ride
The traditional fairground rides were a big hit. We had the best views over the show on the gigantic ferris wheel and loved the merry-go-round and the helter skelter rides.
Ride on the miniature steam railway train
The Bath & West Railway takes passengers on a really picturesque half mile route around the lake and over the bridge.
Taste a prize-winning cheese
The show’s a great place for foodies of all ages. You can watch demonstrations of cider making – the British Cider Championships held here is the biggest cider competition in the world. You can also sample champion cheeses at the British Cheese Awards and try all sorts of gorgeous foods from strawberries to gourmet sausages.
Build a cannon in the Imagineering tent
Wannabe engineers can build a cannon or design and race a buggy in the Imagineering tent. Children can learn how to use tools and take part in lots of mechanical challenges and fun activities here.
Watch sheep being sheared
You can watch sheep shearing and cows being milked by hand. There’s a fantastic Sheep Show and you can see a farrier shoeing a horse and watch heavy horses pulling logs.
Listen to live music while you have a picnic
Watch some live music or morris dancers while you have your picnic. There are some lovely picnic spots at the show where you can enjoy some of the fantastic street food on sale – some of the best bacon and gourmet sausage butties we’ve had in a long time washed down with home-made lemonade.
Check out the oldest – and newest – vehicles at the show
We enjoyed looking at the some of the oldest farm machines – steam engines and vintage tractors. My two then had to be literally dragged away from the Jaguar stand where they were ecstatic about being allowed to sit in lots of the cars.
Eat candy floss, sweets and ice creams
Where better than a fairground to indulge in far too many sweet treats? We weren’t persuaded by the pear and cider fudge but had to have ice creams and candy floss.