Welcome to the Royal Highland Show!
A celebration of the best in food, farming and rural life, the Royal Highland Show returns to Ingliston for its 176th Show in 2016, bustling with a variety of entertainment and activities for all the family.
You can enjoy a feast in Scotland’s Larder Live!, meet potential business partners, get to grips with some of the country’s most up to date agricultural technology, enjoy time out in the new shopping and craft tents and, of course, enjoy the main event – the showing of some of the UK’s finest livestock.
It’s a fun day out for all the family where kids can get involved too. Meet the animals, sit on a tractor and enjoy lots of fun and educational activities across the show ground thanks to the Royal Highland Education Trust. To learn more about the show, take a look at the questions and answers below!
How would you describe the Royal Highland Show to someone who’s never been?
Although it is primarily an agricultural event – and one of the best of its kind in Europe – the Royal Highland Show really does have something to interest people of all ages, backgrounds and tastes. The four-day event brings together the aspects of Scottish food, farming and rural life. So from cheese tastings and cookery talks to animal competitions and machinery exhibitions and even musical entertainment, the Royal Highland Show provides an all round overview of the very best Scotland has to offer.
What’s the story behind the Royal Highland Show?
The Royal Highland Show is one of Scotland’s largest and most enduring events and celebrates its 176th Show in 2016. This iconic display of the best in farming, food and rural life takes place over four days every June on the 280-acre site of the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston. The Show was originally held in 1822 at Edinburgh’s Canongate before moving around towns and cities of Scotland. The move to the now permanent location, just one mile from Edinburgh Airport, has allowed the Show to grow into the success it is today, welcoming in excess of 180,000 visitors last year.
Could you tell us about some of this year’s highlights?
As you can imagine, the big draw at the Royal Highland is the animals. The finest examples of pedigree cows, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys – even poultry – are on display at the event, judged by the some of the most experienced professionals in the industry. Imagine it as the World Cup of agriculture and, like the World Cup, competitors take winning extremely seriously! A first prize at the Royal Highland, or a ‘red ticket’ as it is known to the pros, is the most highly regarded accolade in livestock exhibiting.
It isn’t just about taking home first prize and putting the trophy on your mantelpiece. A win at the Royal Highland is good for business. Many exhibitors describe the event as a ‘shop window’, with winning exhibitors fetching a premium price for their champions and their offspring.
One of the best things about the Show for visitors is that they can go round the pens and meet the animals, even pet the calves, which is something everyone from kids to adults will enjoy.
What’s on for children at the show?
Every year The Royal Highland Show welcomes over 35,000 school children to the show, through its education charity, The Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET). The Children’s Education Centre will feature free hands-on educational activities, such as science experiments, cooking and seafood tastings, all run by RHET staff, volunteers and a variety of activity providers from some of the best educational teams in Scotland. Other exhibitors popular with the little ones are The Scottish Beekeepers Association, where kids can get hands on making beeswax candles, and the Poultry Tent to get up close to some interesting creatures!
The best part – children aged 15 and under get into the Show free when accompanied by an adult!
What kind of food can a hungry visitor look forward to?
Here is something not a lot of people know – the food & drink section at the Royal Highland Show equates to the largest food and drink event in Scotland, so there is plenty for peckish visitors to choose from. Over 115 producers, offering everything from botanical Gin from Fochabers to artisan cheese from Orkney, will feature as part of ‘Scotland’s Larder Live!’ inside the Lowland Hall. There is also a delicious range of food-to-go on offer at this year’s Show, so you can pick up everything from burritos to buffalo burgers whilst making your way around the show ground.
Any exciting newcomers or novelties this year that we should know about?
Believe it or not, a lot of people visit the Royal Highland Show for the shopping. There are hundreds of trade stands, over 1,100 to be exact, selling everything from Hunter wellies to handmade soap. In 2016, the Show will introduce a refreshed shopping experience in the form of the 13th Avenue Shopping Arcade. The Avenue will offer a luxury shopping experience featuring fine furniture, jewellery and clothing. The shopping destination will also boast a Prosecco bar where you can rest your tired feet after some retail therapy.
If you’re visiting the Royal Highland Show from out of town and want to spend some time exploring Edinburgh city as well then take a look at our blog post “How to Spend One Day in Edinburgh”.