The Royal Norfolk Show. It’s one of the biggest events in the Norfolk calendar. And yet – somehow – I’ve never been. Yep. That’s the truth: I’ve never been to the Royal Norfolk Show. Until now…
And blimey, what an introduction to a Norfolk institution?! This year’s Royal Norfolk Show was drenched in sunshine. There was food. And drink. There was livestock. There were tractors. There were hats. Oh, and did I mention food and drink?
Anyway, let’s start at the beginning.
My day began like many others’, I imagine. I sat watching the traffic news wondering when I should set off. And I’ll let you in on a secret: don’t go early. Someone I know had to set up a stand and arrived at 7. And sat in traffic. I, on the other hand, arrived with The Besties around 11.30. We sailed straight into the car park and into a space. Admittedly, I was basically parked in Suffolk, but we were there nonetheless.
I’ll let you in on a secret: don’t go early
Somewhat fortuitously we also entered via the Adnams Food & Drink Experience. What followed next was a three-hour tour of said Experience, trying out the best that Norfolk has to offer. A word of warning – at lunchtime it’s rammed.
After some hangry shuffling around other people and trying lots of samples, I got my mitts on a vegetarian sausage roll from Pye Baker of Norwich (dense, flavoursome and highly recommended). This was followed by a zingy fresh lemonade. Needless to say, I was one happy lady.
Royal Norfolk Show: Perfect people-watching
We sat on the grass outside with our picnics and watched the world go by and it’s truly fascinating. All sorts of people attend the Royal Norfolk Show. There are families on a day out; school trips; business people; and tourists.
We were particularly taken with the fine array of hats and fascinators on display on Wednesday. Lots of people get dressed up for the ‘Royal’ element of the show, which is rather lovely. Feeling inspired by this, I spent much of the afternoon trying on every single hat at the show. And trust me, there are a lot.
In between shopping and eating, we spent some time exploring the Horticulture Show. New for 2018, it featured hundreds of beautifully displayed plants and show gardens. I felt inspired to try to liven up my own garden when I got home.
Children and animals
I don’t know whether I should admit this, but I didn’t spend much time looking at the animals. The Besties and I took six-month-old Master M to see the sheep and the small animals and he was thrilled by the experience.
It’s a great opportunity for children to get hands-on and meet farm animals. Master M got up close to his first rabbit and saw chickens hatch, while the grown-ups in our party were particularly impressed by what are known as ‘fancy chickens’. And boy were they fancy.
Taking home the Royal Norfolk Show
Of course, it would have been rude to go home from the Royal Norfolk Show empty-handed. So I didn’t!
I came home with a bottle of almost floral Octagon black-pepper vodka from the Ely Gin Company, some crumbly, salty Blacks No. 1 extra mature cheddar and a bag of Guatemalan coffee beans. Oh, and maybe some more brownies. Thankfully Joules had run out of the jacket that I liked, otherwise I probably would have taken that home with me too.
After this year’s experience, I’m very much looking forward to 2019 – and all the food!