We went to the Ripley Show, which is a countryside show/fair held in the grounds of Ripley Castle, Harrogate. It cost £8 per adult and free for toddlers. There are various price points for various ages, young and old. Car parking is free, plentiful and well organised.
The first thing I should point out is that most, if not all, transactions were in cash so don’t rely on the plastic!
Ripley Show is split into 2 sections either side of the lake. The fair side was more “toddler friendly” as the animals were smaller and you could get up close to them. At the heart of the show is the judging of various animals, crafts and other activities. As such, it isn’t a traditional “farm” day out. However, this only adds to the experience of seeing how animals adapt and react to different scenarios.
Speaking of animals on the far side, there were pigs and sheep, along with ferret racing and exhibition
Perhaps the highlight was the sheep shearing show which was highly entertaining and well worth staying for. For the little ones, you are best getting to the front as the crowds do flock to it. However, because of the outdoor nature of the show, there will always be space.
On the near side of the lake are stalls (numerous and diverse), a cow tent which is exactly how it sounds as well, as well as 4 show rings where the horses seemingly were. There was also a show jumping ground and a dog activity track and there was plenty of activities to watch for the little ones. In some of the tents were some of the entries into the vegetables and crafts competition:
As Ripley Show is an outdoor event, if it is raining, you are in trouble and so an advance check on the weather is needed! I didn’t see any baby changing facilities so if you need to, take a towel to act as a changing mat! We took a pram because of the size of the grounds and it is difficult for the little ones to walk the large distances. However, some of the terrain is difficult simply because the fields are seemingly used for farming the rest of the year, so it is good exercise! You can also bring dogs (on a lead) so that adds to the atmosphere as well!
Ripley Show is (apparently) a scaled down version of the Yorkshire Show. However, that is a complement as it is excellent value for money and it has everything that you want/expect form such an event. While not marketed for young families specifically, it is pretty much ideal if your little ones are into animals. If not, and they don’t like the Great Outdoors, it won’t be for you!
We have put Ripley Show on our list to visit again next year, so long as the weather is good!!
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