Country life at Royal Norfolk Show

Simon ParkinThe Royal Norfolk Show is the biggest event of the year attracting tens of thousands to its unique mix of countryside pursuits, spectacular displays, cream teas and fashions. SIMON PARKIN previews it.Simon Parkin

The Royal Norfolk Show is the biggest event of the year attracting tens of thousands to its unique mix of countryside pursuits, spectacular displays, cream teas and fashions. SIMON PARKIN previews it.

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It's Norfolk's biggest day out of the year. Tens of thousands of people will flock to the outskirts of Norwich next week to enjoy the colour and excitement of the 102nd Royal Norfolk Show.

Animals, tractors, performances and mouth-dropping displays will once again thrill visitors throughout the day, attracting residents from across the city, county and beyond.

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The show is the largest two-day agricultural show in the country, and a highlight on the county calendar. And as usual there's more than enough to interest everyone; from the latest farm machinery, and livestock to sampling some of Norfolk's finest produce.

Highlights in the main ring this year include the Bolddog Lings Freestyle Team who will amaze the crowds with their extreme motorcycle trick riding, with riders jumping gaps of over 75ft and reach heights of over 35 ft in the air, which gives the riders enough "air time" to perform an array of death defying tricks.

Dropping in once again will be the nine-man RAF Falcons Freefall Parachute Team. While he ever popular RAF Halton Pipes and Drums will be joined for the first time this year by the Band of The Royal Logistic Corps, an amalgamation of the Bands of The Royal Corps of Transport and The Royal Army Ordnance Corps, that consists of 35 musicians.

Major show jumping events will include the International Stairway Grand Prix and, as always, it is expected that big-name riders will attend.

You cannot come to the Norfolk show without checking out the livestock - it's why it was created in the first place after all. Marvel at the literally dozens of different classes of cattle, sheep and pigs done up in their show best. They may look the same to us townies, but that doesn't mean you cannot enjoy it.

The small livestock shows are also again expected to be hugely popular after record entries of poultry, rabbits and cavies were inspected by breed judges last year.

The popular countryside area will have displays, demonstrations and have-a-go sessions throughout the two days including Mid Norfolk Gun Dogs and Norfolk Fly Fishers. While the Woodland Craft area continues to grow, featuring displays by craftsmen and women in everything from basket making to clog, stick and cider makers.

The food hall and cookery theatre is bigger and better than ever and will include cookery demonstrations from Norfolk's television chefs Galton Blackiston and Chris Coubrough as well as over 80 food related stands and a fabulous caf� area.

The Flower and Garden Show, organised by the Norfolk & Norwich Horticultural Society, always attracts a large number of visitors and will again feature flower arranging competitions, courtyard gardens, plant cr�che and its own caf�.

The courtyard gardens will provide a colourful avenue leading to the entrance to the trade tent where you will be able to admire the work of some of Norfolk's finest landscape gardeners.

Music will also feature strongly at the bandstand on the main concourse area, where participants will include the Wymondham Area Schools Brass Band, the Royal British Legion Salute and the Langley Dixie Band. Winston the Singing Farmer will be performing at 4.40pm on the Wednesday and twice on the Thursday.

This year also sees an improved children's activity area, including a Vintage Fairground with helter skelter, ferris wheel and galloping horses.

t The Royal Norfolk Show, Norfolk Showground, June 30 and July 1. Gates open at 8am. Tickets on the gate �19 (�17 cons), �7 children (5-16), under-5s free, family ticket (two adults and up to three children) �53. More details: 01603 748931,


1 - Children will love the Village Green and Children's Activity Area. The Army will be laying on a mini assault course and there is a new Vintage Fairground.

2 - Head to the Small Livestock marquees early before the rush to see rabbits, guinea pigs, poultry and watch the judges judging the egg competition.

3 - The Food Hall for all the tempting treats on offer, while in the Food Hall watch top chefs including Masterchef finalist Dr Tim Kinnaird.

4 - The Flower & Garden Show is free-entry for the first time this year and includes fantastic displays of flowers, floral arrangements, vegetables and garden designs.

5 - Don't miss Stand No 233 (near the Grand Ring) where you can find out all about the Evening News and EDP, plus on-stage interviews and try your hand at reporting in our editorial 'hub'.

6 - Have a ride around the 4 x 4 track with an experienced driver in the Countryside area.

7 - Two-wheeled thrills from the Bolddog Lings Freestyle Team.

8 - Admire the gentle giants of the horse world and watch the Pair of Heavy Horse Turnouts in the Grand Ring on Wednesday at 2.20pm or the Teams of Three or Four at 11.15am on Wednesday

9 - The Times they are a-Changin' machinery display in the Grand Ring at 1.55pm on Wednesday or 2.50pm on Thursday.

10 New performers in the Grand Ring this year, the Band of the Royal Logistic Corps, who will be supported by the RAF Halton Pipes and Drums.

11 - Visit the Countryside area to watch some of the demonstrations in the ring such as Axe Racing, Terrier Racing, Drug Dogs and lots more.

12 - The John Lewis stand is ideal for fashion lovers. Meet the EDP Norfolk magazine team, see makeovers, fashion and beauty shows and a menswear workshop.

13 - Learn with laughter at the hugely-entertaining Sheep Show. Make sure you stay to see the dancing sheep!

14 - The Norwich City Football Club stand is a must for Canaries fans. Meet some of the Canaries promotion heroes.

15 -And don't miss the end-of-show finale in the Grand Ring on Thursday with the massed bands and parade of standards of the RBL.