We were very excited to be asked along to BBC County File Live as we had been thinking about attending this year but having never been before we weren’t sure what to expect. I’ve had a few of you asking questions about what it was like so wanted to write a blog post to let you know what we thought of our day out there.
Described as “This Summers Best Day Out” Countryfile Live is situated in the beautiful grounds of Blenheim Palace and is a huge celebration of everything from the British countryside in collaboration with the National Trust. There’s so much to see and do and plenty of shopping stands to so be prepared to walk a lot as it’s all very spread out.
As I don’t have a car Coops and I always travel via public transport and to get to Blenheim Palace it took 3 buses totaling 2 and a quarter hours but was very straightforward. Due to the bus times we were there at about 9:00am and the show doesn’t open until 9:30 but they had an area at the front of the show which opens from 8:30 where you could grab some food, drink or pop to the loo if needed before you can actually enter the site. The Car park opens from 7:30 so you can get there super early to avoided getting stuck in any traffic. As my bus was coming in there was a little build up on the roads already so I would recommend getting in early.
As you first walk in you’ll be greeted by so many amazing smells as most of the food stands are situated in that first zone. I would definitely recommend getting a map to help you navigate the show as we didn’t have one at first and were wondering a little aimlessly / letting Coops lead the way.
Obviously we made a beeline straight to the dog shopping area which is mostly right in the middle of the main shopping area. Right in the middle is the Dog Lovers Area which has a daily timetable which includes displays of tricks, agility and skill, Working Gundogs and Sheepdogs. Scruffts are also having one of their heats there for their crossbreed competition. Visitors can enter their dogs to take part to with heats split across the Saturday and Sunday with 6 classes. When i walked past at one point they were also letting visitors have a go at agility which looked like good fun.
In terms of actual dog shopping there was, Ruff & Tumble, Cotswold Raw, Collared Creatures, Butternut Box, Tails, James Wellbeloved, Paul O’gradys Food, True Instinct, Drontal, Orijen/Acana and Wilkos had a dog stand to. There was also a toy stand, a Dog Bed stand and a few more stands which I just cant remember. The Big Tick & Flea project were there to so definitely worth popping by if you want and advice.
Mare sure to pop by the Famous Five garden to see if your Dog could be the next Timmy, you may even win a little something for your efforts. Coops was so excited to get a rosette he couldn’t even keep his eyes open for the camera. There was a few more competitions we came across such as Welly Wanging over at the Joules stand and Blacks have a dog prediction on whether we’ll have a hard or soft Brexit where you could win a dog harness.
We made our way down to the Wildlife Zone which is situated all around the lake where if you fancy you can have a go at Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddle Boarding or even learn to Cast a fly. If I hadn’t been on my own I definitely would have had a go canoeing with Coops. There’s so much to learn about butterflies, how to keep hedgehogs safe, how to make your garden friendly for bumblebees and talks from experts. The National Trust are there with their Outdoor activities for Children “50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4” where you can explore a woodland playground. In terms of things for the kids there seemed to be a good variety and of course up closer to the entrance was Adams Farm where he had an assortment of rare breeds and an Animal Petting Barn where children can get up and close to chicks, rabbits and kid goats. There were also some rides near the entrance so again great for the kids or young at heart adults.
There really is something for all the family at Country File, we saw so many displays in the different arenas such as Equine displays, Morris dancing, Biking, Agility and there’s so many different talks and live music you can watch on the different stages. There’s the BBC Introducing Stage for Music, The National Trust Farmyard Cookery Theater, The Countryfile Kitchen Theatre, The Big Barn where you can learn from the experts from some of your favorite BBC TV and Radio programs, The Quilter Cheviot Theatre and of course the Countryfile Experience which is a new addition to the event where you can get up close and personal with your favorite TV Presenters and get a real interactive glimpse behind the scenes.
We had an amazing day out and it’s safe to say you could really spend the whole day there if not two days to make sure you get the full experience as I know there was more we could have and would have liked to have seen. It was hot and is forecast to be warm over the next three days so please make sure you take lots of water for yourself and you dog. Not to mention if you are taking your dog with you please make sure you take a cooling jacket with you for them as I didn’t see anywhere to buy one. There were a few paddling pools scattered about and plenty of shade so make sure you give your dogs time out to cool down. There’s a Thames Water Tap Bar to top up your water bottles with their tap water for free so you can make sure you and your dogs can stay hydrated. However please use caution when thinking about taking your dog and if it is going to be to hot for them please leave them at home where they’ll be cooler.
One of my most Exciting discoveries was that Salcombe Dairy had a couple of stands selling their Ice Cream. I spent a lot of my childhood school holidays down there and have longed to go back so being able to taste their ice cream again was just so amazing. I highly recommend trying some if you see them. Honeycomb is my childhood favorite but I got Cooper a tub of Vanilla to cool him down a little.
I’d love to see your photos from your time at Countryfile Live if you go. I’m looking forward to next year and exploring even more.
Fi & Coops xXx