AS Scotland’s foremost agricultural mecca, the Royal Highland Show is a firm favourite with farmers, foodies and lovers of the outdoors. In its 174th year, coinciding with this year’s Commonwealth Games and Homecoming, the rural extravaganza will be bigger than ever. If you want to navigate this vast four-day event, then look no further than this guide
19-22 June, Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston
RHS 2014 tickets: adults £25.00, concession £20.00, children 15 or under go free
Show Dance tickets: £15-20
Food and drink
The RHS’ food and drink section, always one of its most popular attractions, is not just somewhere to stuff your face or fill your larder with some of Scotland’s finest and freshest produce. Over the show’s four days, a Cookery Theatre will present more than 30 demonstrations, led by food critic Wendie Barrie.
Cows, sheep, pigs, goats and other livestock are the RHS’ most visible attraction - more than 5,000 will be at the showground. Other events to entice the nippers include the The Ben Potter Eagle & Vulture Display Team, the Totally Terriers Event Display Team and Mordor Gun Dogs, all in the RHS’ Countryside Area. Centre stage in the prestige stakes goes to the horses: the RHS hosts the largest equestrian show in Scotland, with with classes for light and heavy horses, private driving, heavy horse turnouts, harness and grooming, as well as show-jumping. More than 3,000 horses and around 2,200 riders are expected to compete over the four days.
Event organisers go to considerable lengths to accommodate children at the RHS, and for good reason: 30,000 are expected to arrive this month. A dedicated children’s area, the Discovery Centre, will host a number of interactive sessions involving cooking, baking, arts and crafts, food tasting and even science experiments designed to teach children about agriculture, among other activities.
As with the food and drink section of the show, the RHS aims to provide a high street experience that reflects the best Scotland has to offer. Gardening tools and gardening tools are the sort of things you’d expect to find at the RHS, but you’ll also discover high-end fashion brands, textiles, and homeware, affording visitors a well-rounded shopping experience.
Farmers are central to the RHS, so it’s little wonder that they are catered for handsomely. Ingliston is a giant hub of agricultural trade over four days, showcasing cutting-edge farming technologies and services, and is a dedicated centre for rural businesses to exchange information, products and ideas. The RHS’ Motor Zone and Forestry Arena are also aimed squarely at rural workers, but they can be enjoyed equally by anyone with an interest in cars and, er, chainsaws respectively. A renewable energy exhibit is also available to farmers looking to cut costs.
The RHS promises a diverse programme of music, inviting ceilidh musicians, pipe and drum bands and jazz ensembles to play over the four day duration of the show. More leftfield entertainment comes in the shape of the MacRobert Theatre’s sheep-shearing championship, set in a purpose-built facility.
Meanwhile, fitness freaks and masochists can try the assault course assembled by the Royal Regiment of Scotland in the Countryside Area.