As the days draw out and the temperatures start rising, the South West’s finest are preparing themselves for the beginning of show season. From the Devon County, Royal Cornwall, Royal Bath & West Show and the Dorset Steam Fair – the countryside comes alive for gathering of rural types to give a glimpse to the townsfolk of what goes on in the vast expanse of grass, trees and hedges. Many of the shows are ideal for a VW campervan trip with onsite camping where you can park up and chill for a couple of days as part of your camper adventure.
Devon County Show – 19th, 20th & 21st May.
Only a few weeks now until start of show season – the first of which is the Devon County Show on the outskirts of Exeter, just off the M5. As the show opens for the 121st time its packed with all sorts of action. The main arena has crowd pullers including; Shetland Pony Grand National through to the Bolddog Lings motocross stunt team and the grand livestock parade showcasing Devon’s finest and most coveted beasts vying to be Supreme Champion. Staying true to its farming routes, there will be a country pursuits area, a children’s farm supported by FarWise Devon and one for kids and big kids alike “have a go at tractor driving!” Surrounded by Devon’s rolling countryside, it doesn’t take long to find more attractions like: Crealy Adventure Park, Exmouth Beach or even go fossiling at Lyme Regis.
Royal Bath & West Show – 1st – 4th June.
In the heart of Somerset, The Royal Bath & West Show is a celebration of all that is rural life. This year sees food and drink playing a major part in the show with both the British Cheese Awards and the British Cider Awards being staged. The main ring action promises to be lively, with top class show jumping and the thrilling Inter Hunt relay taking place. The prize winning cattle will be paraded on most of the show days – possibly crowned off by The Big Pink Musical Drive, featuring some different uses for farm machinery – in aid of Breast Cancer charity. New for 2016 – is the music area with acts being sourced by Galstonbury Festival founder, Michael Eavis bring a festival feel to the show. If you’re still wondering what you’d find to do at the show, how about the art exhibition? In the calm of the Art Pavilion there will be 350 works on show, including paintings, sculpture and drawings – all will be considered by the panel of judges with prize money of over £1000 to be presented. There’s more to Somerset than Cider!
Royal Cornwall Show – 9th, 10th & 11th June.
Nestled in the scenic countryside near Wadebridge, the Cornwall show draws in the community from far and wide for 3 days of shows, music, entertainment and no doubt a little banter. With its deep farming routes the show has livestock judging, trade stands but also spreads itself across a wide range of popular pastimes. This year’s show has a packed programme of local music in the main arena and 2 more stages, hosting the Newquay Jazz Band, Cornwall College Acoustic sessions, Wadebridge Town Band through to The Boscastle Buoys with some well-known sea shanties. Across the showground in the main ring a few main of the main attractions are The RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team, Band of the Royal Marines and Devon & Cornwall Police Dogs Display Team. Take in the Royal Cornwall Show and the surrounding area with your campervan including Polzeath Beach, The Eden Project, Adrenalin Quarry and many more.
Dorset Steam Fair – 25th – 29th August
Now in its 48th year, the Dorset Steam Fair has grown to one of the biggest annual events in Dorset. The family orientated show with something for all of the family, runs over 5 days with onsite camping for those that want to park up a VW camper and experience the smell of coal burning in the steam engines, sample some of the local ciders on offer, check out the farming food tents and take advantage of a slower pace for a few days. The Fair takes over a large area of farmland at Blandford Forum, near Dorchester for the duration. Alongside the outstanding Steam Exhibitions and collections of vintage and classic vehicles which the show is renowned for, two of the highlights for 2016 are the World War II Centenary Display and several stunt display teams to wow the whole family. The WWII display is to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
So with the summer approaching and the sun making an appearance, its show time!