Herts County Show 2011 Review and Tips

Today we went to the Hertfordshire County Show for the first time ever, so I thought I’d pop you guys a quick post incase you are thinking of going tomorrow or monday (or even another year!), especially if you’ve never been before like us.

So here are my tips:

Make sure: Go early!  We got there 10.30, but our friends aiming for 11 got stuck on the M25.  Get a map, and have a vague plan of what you want to do in your head and the schedules.  We could have done better on this!  When the kids go through a blip, just keep going, you will find something amazing to do around the corner, it’s just that stuff is hidden away a bit.

What if it rains: with our current showery weather I was worried, but really it’s absolutely fine.  There are plenty of shopping tents, a jazz tent where you can eat, and the horticultural tent was pretty empty.  Plus the stand people weren’t shirty at all when we sheltered for a bit in their tent.

Clothes: It wasn’t really muddy, but could easily be, so wellies are a good plan.  Plus waterproofs.  But the on/off showery weather that we are having wasn’t a problem, there were plenty of places to hide and we didn’t get soaked.  Spare clothes for the kids in the car is probably a good plan though, just incase (you can re-enter the show).  Plus it was windy, so several layers is a good plan.  To be honest, the big northern hubby is a big fan of ruck sacks, but I hate them, because it’s so hard to find stuff.  A typical rectangular baby bag on the pram is easier, with maybe another bag for other stuff.  If you have more than one kid and are potentially likely to split up, have two bags!

Food: A couple of ham rolls, sausage rolls, fruit shoots/apple juice, water, and biscuits was perfect.  There are a few burger vans etc, but not much choice.  Not lots of queues though which was good.  Bring picnic blanket just in case.  We bought a bag of fudge for a quick sugar rush in the main shopping tent, which was gorgeous.  The donuts, are HEAVY on the tummy, I don’t recommend them.

Things Easy to miss: The air ambulance guys near the entrance, the police horse (same place), the campervans (kids love them!).  But BEST OF ALL was the ladies in the horticultural tent from hertfordshire gardens trust, who made a recyclable pot with Curly Headed Boy and planted a pea seed in it, and then sprayed him with water; fabulous!

Stuff to buy: There are tonnes of scarves (from £5-£50) and jewelry, so don’t buy the first you see! I fell for a gorgeous necklace (been looking for something Little Dimples safe for a bit) from Rainbow Accessories, and would say that if you are a bit on the tree hugging side, this was the best in terms of quality of stone and strength of necklace (see the craft tent).  If you are looking for waterproof dungarees and coats for your little ones, I bought some in the main shopping tent (I’m a big fan of waterproof over trousers, so that we can go to the park any time, even when it’s just rained and everything is wet).  I also got a CD of music where they sing Little Dimples name, which I so know she is going to adore from Silver Balloon (craft tent).  In the main shopping tent I managed to do something I’ve been meaning to do for ages, which is get a necklace with Little Dimples and Curly Headed Boy’s finger prints on hearts, and cufflinks for the big northern hairy one from Small Print; they were lovely with the kids, and I’m really chuffed that I’ve got it done at last.

Dealing with kids wanting stuff: We have a deal in our house, that who gets something rotates around, and it was definitely Mummy’s turn this time!  However, what we pre-negotiated was that Curly Headed boy could get one thing.  It’s not too huge a place, so it was OK for him to wander passed a few stands and eventually go back and pick what he wanted.  Little Dimples loves cows (because she can moo, every other animal quacks at the moment), so a cute little dress with a cow on it was a big find for her.

If you fancy a pamper, there is a massage cushion stall in the craft tent (£50 off at the show, but still a hefty £150), and in the corner near the burger vans was a place where the fishes eat your feet.  Curly Headed Boy was worried that I might end up footless, so I can’t tell you what it’s like, plus we were shattered by then.

Shows: Because we are already big fans of the sheep show and dog and duck trials at Willows farm, I can recommend them, but we didn’t go and watch them today.  We hit the 11.15 circus which was simple and great.  The clown/juggler was a site for all Mummy’s eyes, and the trapeze artist was brilliant.  Even better was staying after for the tuition bit; Little Dimples tried to learn to juggle (she’s 15 months) and Curly Headed Boy got to go on the trapeze, wow.  Best of all for me though were the devils horsemen, especially when the group came on.  Little Dimples thought it was brilliant, and what’s not to love about a pile of hot guys, doing tricks on the top of gorgeous horses.

So if you are still thinking about going, I’d definitely recommend it.  We had a lovely day, and I’m now totally set on my plan to try more festivals this year.

*** I didn’t really get sponsored for this post, but the CD guy did give me £2 off, and the Smallprint people were so lovely, that they took a ‘vote for the MummyWhisperer in the MADs poster‘ for me.

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