BBC Countryfile Live 2017
About this time last year I broke my leg and then wasn’t able to attend BBC Countryfile Live the following day. I was gutted. It promised to be such a great day out. I was really excited to be invited to attend this year – and I took extra care in the days running up to the event so as to not suffer from another broken bone!
BBC Countryfile Live is held at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. This year it is running from 3rd to 6th August. The event is all about having lots of countryside fun, bringing together the elements that everyone enjoys about the countryside – wildlife, farming, outdoor pursuits and food.
I had heard that there were issues with traffic around the event last year. However, we had no problems at all during our visit on the Saturday. The signage around the event started some distance away. It was very clear and before we knew it we were heading into a car park. This was the Bladon Entrance, rather than the Main Entrance. It felt very slick and well-organised. The BBC Countryfile Live event started at 9.30am, but car parks were open from 7.30am. We arrived by 9am and found there was some distance from the car park to the event entrance. There were tractors pulling trailers, shuttling visitors to the event entrance. At this time the queues were quite long so we opted for the ten minute walk instead.
Once at the gates, there were very little in the way of queues, and it took about five minutes by the time we were through the bag check area and into BBC Countryfile Live. The event was still not open by this point, but there were plenty of food, drink and exhibitor stalls on the periphery which kept us entertained until we went in.
What We Loved
Crafts and Activities
There were plenty of things at the event to occupy the kids. We hadn’t been in the event for more than a few minutes when a lady spinning caught their eye. She let the girls have a go, showing them how to spin wool into thread. When they had finished, she gave them the length that they had spun to take away with them. We were also quite taken with the National Trust who were there to help children achieve the “50 things to do before you are 11 and 3/4”. In both cases the volunteers and demonstrators were helpful, friendly and really patient with the girls.
This is what the girls were most looking forward to. They were able to see lots of farmyard animals in the Livestock Tents. Emily liked getting the chance to get close to animals such as cows and horses, whereas I was smitten by some cute piglets.
As good as seeing the farm animals was, it was the animal shows that the girls were really taken with. The Dog Agility Arena was popular with visitors. We were particularly impressed with the brave dogs jumping through blazing rings.
The girls favourite part of the show was probably the Equine Arena. Here we watched teams on horseback compete against each other. The horses and riders raced against each other, whilst performing various fetes of skill and agility.
We had decided not to bother taking a picnic with us, and instead buy food at the event. We were really impressed with the choice of food available. There was a vast array of different types of food to suit all tastes. Although most of these were in one particular area, there were plenty of other stalls dotted around the event site to grab a bite to eat, an ice cream or a hot drink. I was also able to indulge in a G&T, so obviously I was happy!
We did have a fantastic day, and would definitely return next year. However, here are a few things to bear in mind should you be thinking about attending yourself.
BBC Countryfile Live pride themselves on being a very dog-friendly event. All dogs (other than those in the Agility Arena) were on leads and we saw no issues with them. However, Freyja is scared of dogs and there were A LOT of them. She felt very nervous walking around the event and didn’t enjoy the event as much as she would have done had there been fewer dogs.
The event was HUGE. Which was great in that there was plenty to do and something for everyone. However, having spent 6 hours here, it felt there was still a lot that we hadn’t done. We didn’t attend any of the theatre shows (which are included in the entry price) and missed out on parts of the show. Although we could have stayed for longer, the distance we had walked around the show and the sheer amount to take in meant the girls were definitely ready to leave when we went. In retrospect, I would like to have had at least another day at the show in order to appreciate it more.
So, there is very little you can actually do about the weather, but if you have bought your tickets in advance to save yourself a bit of money, you have got to make the best of whatever the weather is like. The previous two days had been dry and sunny, and although our day started similarly we then had thunderstorms and heavy rain. It didn’t ruin the day as we were sheltered in the craft tent. We were stuck in here for the duration due to the sheer number of people who then sought refuge here too. Following the rain, the ground was very muddy – I was glad we had got our wellies on in anticipation! It is definitely worth ensuring that you have appropriate footwear!
Spending Extra Money
In addition to the ticket price, you also have to pay for parking. However, once you are in the event, the majority of the entertainment is included in the ticket price. It is worth noting that there are a lot of trade stands there and with rides of the Vintage Funfair costing extra, it would be easy for all of these costs to mount up.
Disclaimer: We were provided with a Family ticket to the event in exchange for a review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.