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Lifestyle, Country

Top Five Reasons Not to Miss the Royal Three Counties Show this June

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The Royal Three Counties Show, one of the UK’s largest celebrations of our glorious countryside and rural life, will return to Three Counties Showground in Malvern from 14 - 16 June 2024, and this year’s show promises a packed programme of exciting entertainment, thousands of animals, delicious food and drink, countryside shopping and lots of family fun. With so much going on over the three days, here are five top highlights to expect at this year’s show:

1. Celebrity and special guests

This year’s Royal Three Counties Show special guest line-up includes the beloved star of Amazon Prime Video’s Clarkson’s Farm, Kaleb Cooper. Young farmer Kaleb – who is no stranger to the Royal Three Counties Show - will chat about some of his favourite cider recipes on the Food & Drink Stage, in addition to sharing amusing stories and anecdotes about working on Diddly Squat Farm at the Future of Farming Theatre.

BBC Countryfile and The One Show presenter, Matt Baker MBE, will be participating in two Q&A sessions on Saturday 15 June at the Future of Farming theatre and also at the Food and Drink Theatre. Meanwhile, fellow BBC Countryfile presenter John Craven OBE will take part in a Q&A session followed by a book signing on the Sunday.

JB Gill – JLS band member, CBeebies presenter and farmer – will be sharing his thoughts and experience of farming at the Future of Farming Theatre on Sunday, followed by signings of his popular children’s book . Families can enjoy an engaging live reading of his book ‘Ace and the Animal Heroes’, followed by a chance to meet JB and get a signed copy of his book, at the Future of Farming Theatre. Foodies can enjoy a Q&A session with JB at the Food & Drink Theatre, alongside a live cooking demo from a talented chef.

Fans of Channel 4’s The Great British Bake Off won’t want to miss the chance to see 2023’s winner, Matty Edgell, put his skills into action as well as answering questions from the audience and signing copies of his latest book, on Friday 14 and Saturday 15 June. Meanwhile, fellow 2023 contestant, Sakunthala Chandrasekara (a.k.a Saku) will demonstrate her unique Sri Lankan cooking style creatively blended with regional influences from Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.

Royal Three Counties Show headline sponsor, global insurance intermediary group Howden, are also hosting a series of specialist guests in the Howden Marquee, with farming celebrities including podcaster Wallace Currie, content creator Will Roobottom, and the British Eventing Support Trust.

2. Truck loads of fun for families

The Royal Three Counties Show has been a popular day out for families for decades, and it’s easy to see why. Tickets for under 16s are free of charge, and each year there is a packed programme of entertainment to suit all ages.

The Adventure Avenue offers a range of unique family activities, including a new climbing wall sports activities including rugby, lacrosse and cricket and cooking workshops run by Ladies in Pigs (who specialise in the education and promotion of British food and farming). Children of all ages will be fascinated by the chance to explore Midlands Air Ambulance’s decommissioned helicopter pod. The British Army will be hosting a variety of engaging STEM activities, and the Royal Navy will be on hand to teach visitors how submarines ‘dive’.

At the Countryside Area, families can marvel at magnificent birds of prey, including hawks, owls and eagles, as they showcase their natural hunting prowess and aerial acrobatics in interactive displays provided by Hawkeye Falconry. The Family Gun Dog and Scurry area will feature speedy working gundogs putting training into action as they navigate jumps and obstacles to retrieve a ball in a thrilling, high-speed race against the clock.

The Bees and Honey Tent is the perfect place for curious kids to learn more about the vital role bees play in our ecosystem. There will be a variety of engaging activities to get involved with, including children’s competitions to create bee sculptures and collages, shoebox gardens, bee photography, and some delicious cookery competitions using honey. Little ones will also get the opportunity to see live bees working in a hive, while adults can try their hand at beeswax sculptures and candle-making.

At the new Smallholders’ Village, children can enjoy getting their hands dirty in the popular Potato Dig. They can also learn more about the importance of soil and the essential role worms play in creating healthy soil, enjoying a glimpse into a giant wormery. Adults can find out more about smallholdings, including growing your own veg and keeping small animals.

For families visiting with older children and teenagers, the high-octane entertainment provided by the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Arena – a highlight of the show – will feature high-speed axe and saw skills displayed by elite athletes in a truly unique, exhilarating competition.

3. Over 6,000 animals to see!

The Royal Three Counties Show has a reputation for being the largest livestock and equine show in England, featuring one of the country’s biggest exhibitions of cattle, sheep, pigs and goats, including rare and native breeds. This year’s show will feature over 6,000 animals and lots of opportunities to encounter these fascinating creatures.

The Grand Parade of Livestock, taking place daily in the Main Arena, remains a highlight of the show, particularly as it often includes multiple generations of farmers and handlers proudly showing their livestock. Watch as hundreds of animals are led around the arena, while commentators provide interesting information about the unique characteristics of each breed. For even more animal encounters, head over to the Farming Village (sponsored by Ballards LLP) where 120 breeds of animals will participate in nearly 900 classes to be crowned champion of champions. Visitors will also get the chance to see the country’s largest gathering of rare and minority breed livestock.

Meanwhile the action-packed Sheep Shearing Competitions are not one to miss, with a staggering 2,000 sheep expected to be expertly and efficiently shorn by both novices and more experienced shearers across the long weekend.

For those with a soft-spot for horses, the Royal Three Counties Show has a lot to offer. This year, a brand-new British Showjumping area, located in the Cotswold Ring, will offer a dramatic spectacle of showjumping classes to entertain visitors of all ages. This year’s Show will also feature a phenomenal 54 prestigious Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) qualifiers, giving visitors a first look at some of the best competitors in the country as they qualify in their classes. On Saturday, Italian equestrian and three-time Olympian, Vittoria Panizzon, will display her expertise and skill in masterclasses and course walks.

More equine skill will be on display on Saturday and Sunday as fast-paced ponies gallop around the Main Arena, when some of the top Prince Philip Cup Pony Club Mounted Games teams from across the country present historic cavalry techniques, in the form of relay races, with items such as cones, buckets, balls and flags to increase the intensity and demonstrate their skill.

At the Stable Yard, visitors have the opportunity to get up close and personal with our equine friends, as Worcester Riding School will host a variety of fun activities for families. Little ones will love watching the adorable mini spotted ponies, Rolo and Sprout, proudly show off their tricks in entertaining performances at the Countryside Area.

On Sunday, the Main Arena will host a new Racehorse to Riding Horse Parade. Visitors can observe magnificent racehorses-in-training and retired racehorses as they proudly parade around the ring, accompanied by commentary from trainers and ambassadors from the charity, Retraining of Racehorses (British Horseracing's official charity for the welfare of horses that have retired from racing), who will offer an insight into the full life the horses live both during and after their racing career.

4. Exhilarating live entertainment

The Royal Three Counties Show boasts a packed programme of exciting entertainment across the three days, including the return of the thrilling Bolddog Lings freestyle Motorcross stunt display team. Watch in awe as these highly skilled riders perform heart-stopping stunts up to 35ft in the air. The expert skill and bravery on display will leave visitors speechless.

The Red Devils – the British Army’s world-class parachute display team – will provide more exhilarating spectacles for visitors as they freefall from the sky at speeds of up to 120mph, creating remarkable canopy formations that will delight onlookers of all ages.

Tractor-mad little ones (and older visitors too!) will be delighted by the Machinery Demonstrations taking place in the Main Arena. A range of expert and celebrity guests (including Kaleb Cooper), will provide commentary on a range of impressive agricultural machinery.

On Saturday and Sunday, the fast-paced Scurry Driving spectacle will have visitors on the edge of their seats. Carriage drivers of all ages will carefully direct two ponies at full gallop through pairs of cones set out to form a twisting course.  Drivers and their ponies compete against each other to get the fastest time possible in small and large breed categories. For a more relaxed affair, the Heavy Horse Competitions will feature magnificent gentle giants competing in a variety of classes. Some of the winners of the Scurry Driving and Heavy Horse competitions may qualify to go to the prestigious Horse of the Year Show in October.

5. A chance to enjoy some delicious food and drink

The Food & Drink Festival is a gastronomic highlight of the Royal Three Counties Show. Home to the Food & Drink Theatre, where audiences can enjoy live cooking demos and Q&As from some of the UK’s best chefs alongside respected food specialists and the show’s special guests, which include BBC The One Show’s Matt Baker MBE, JLS band member JB Gill, star of Amazon Prime Video Clarkson’s Farm, Kaleb Cooper, and former Channel 4 The Great British Bake Off contestants, Matty Edgell and Sakunthala Chandrasekara (a.k.a Saku).

The new Indoor Food & Shopping Hall, located inside Severn Hall, will offer a broad range of epicurean delights, from award-winning aged rum to handmade confectionary, artisan cheese to exotic spices. The Boffy Arts Farmers Market (also located in Severn Hall) will feature an array of local and artisan produce, and is well worth a browse.

With over 30 different street food vendors due to feature at the show, visitors will be spoilt for choice after working up an appetite. For meat lovers, Hillbilly’s Street Kitchen, Roly Poly Eats and The Beefy Boys will all be serving up a mouth-watering array of expertly made burgers. Pizza fans can get their fix from Hidden Pizza and Kitchen Garden Pizza Company, meanwhile Mac Daddies will be serving up gourmet mac and cheese, including a vegan option. For tantalising flavours, Nawa Kitchen will be serving up Tibetan street food and Thainese will blend the vibrant flavours of Thai and Chinese cuisines. For those with a sweet tooth, head to Dale’s Handmade Brownies or Kelsmor Dairy for a tempting array of ice creams and milkshakes.

Sample some of the UK’s finest cider and perry (much of which is produced from the surrounding three counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire) at the Cider & Perry Festival.

The Old Bull – a new bar tent – will pitch up in pride of place next to the main arena, so visitors can enjoy a refreshing tipple from Westons Cider and Wye Vallery Brewery without missing any of the arena action, plus the chance to enjoy live music on Friday at Saturday until 7.30pm.

Advance day tickets to the Royal Three Counties Show cost £23 for adults and children under 16 are free. To book tickets, visit www.royalthreecounties.co.uk or call 01684 584 924.

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