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Tips on Visiting Shows

Here's my tips if your thinking of visitng a show, horse trial or other outdoor event

The trick is to be prepared...

Order tickets in advance. You sometimes get sent a free show magazine and can save money on ticket prices.

Book your accommodation. At some of the bigger shows, you need to do this at least a year in advance. The same for restaurants. If you going in a group, caravanning or camping on site can be a fun alternative.

British weather. Check the weather report in the morning. Bring waterproofs, wellies, hat, sunblock, sunglasses, umbrella, layers. You can usually leave what you don't need in the car during the day.

Food. There is often a terrific selection of British made produce available. This is part of the experience of visiting a show and it would be a shame to miss out. Sometimes, your only options are between the burger bar and hot dogs. If you are bringing kids, I would recommend a healthy snack picnic as backup. They get something good to eat and you save money. Always bring a bottle of water.

Shopping. Most shops are independent British businesses. You won't find them on the high street and they work extremely hard to bring you a variety of quality goods. Take pleasure in getting to know who these people are and what they do. It's ok to taste/try things on, ask about a website, walk away and think about what you would like to buy over lunch. Some shops offer a "buy now, pick up later" service.

Haggling. All products should be clearly priced. It is down to the shop keeper to offer or negotiate any discount. Asking for "your best price" when purchasing one item is insulting and demoralising to that individual trying to run a small business in a very difficult climate. If you wouldn't do it in Waitrose, why would you do it to them?

British Weather 2. The larger craft marquees are a great place to shelter from bad weather. Please remember to take off your rucksack and shake your umbrella outside. This will prevent accidents happening whilst moving amongst the stands inside.

Young children. There are thousands of people at these shows, so if you think that there is a chance that your child might get "mislaid", put a sticker on them with your mobile number. I've seen it done and it works brilliantly. There are always plenty of security staff on hand, with radios, to help you.

Dogs. Most shows welcome well behaved dogs (check before you go). I've even managed to bring my own to a few. You need water, a bowl, poo bags, dog coat for small dogs in cold weather. Boy dogs can be mischievous, especially near marquees, so keep an eye on them. Damage to someone's goods could cost you a lot of money. For the youngsters, it's a great way to socialise your dog. It can be overwhelming and exhausting for the older ones. Sometimes there is a dog creche available for a couple of hours. If you think your dog won't enjoy it, leave it at home. Never leave your dog in the car.

Last word. Enjoy it. If you think your friends would like it, bring them along too!