The Royal Highland Show is an annual event held by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland. It’s now on its 179th year and for 4 days every June (this year from 20 – 23 June), there is a showcase of Scotland’s best livestock, machinery, and produce. There are also many competitions, displays, and exhibitions to enjoy.
This past weekend was our first time visiting and we were really excited to see what the day brought us. If you’ve never been before and are considering visiting in the future, read on for what you can expect at the show!
An Extortionate Entry Fee
If you’re looking up the entry fee for the first time, you might just be blown off your feet, like we were! The cost for this year’s show was £24.00 per adult (16+) if purchasing advance discount tickets online or £29.00 per adult on the day! Tickets are valid only for one show date. Children 15 and under do go free with a paying adult, but upon first glance at the fee, we were gobsmacked.
Upon reflection now that we’ve been to the show, the high entry fee can be justified. It is a massive event and you can easily spend an entire day there, as we did, and just barely see everything.
As you can expect, at a special event that offers a wide variety of food, prices can be a bit inflated. Save some money while there by packing your own lunch. The only thing you’re not allowed to bring in is alcohol.
Tons of Traffic if Driving
If you plan to drive to the Royal Highland Show, go early! Extremely early. Like as-soon-as-it-opens early. Do note that parking costs £8.00 if purchasing advance discount tickets online or £10.00 on the day. We opted to drive there instead of taking the special bus service as it would’ve been more expensive. (We currently drive a hybrid vehicle.)
We initially planned to go to the show on Saturday, but didn’t get out of bed early enough. Traffic was so backed up by mid-morning that we decided to go instead on Sunday to not lose out on that expensive entry fee! The show opened at 07:00 every day, so we got there for 08:00 on Sunday and it was then a breeze to get there.
The show takes place at the Royal Highland Centre (Ingliston, Newbridge EH28 8NB), which is pretty much right next to Edinburgh Airport. Therefore, when the show is on, there’s also congestion from everyone trying to get to and from the airport.
As mentioned above, there is a special bus service that Lothian Buses has while the Royal Highland Show takes place. The #98 bus service runs from George Street to the Royal Highland Centre and the cost is £6.00 per adult for a return ticket. Children go free with a paying adult.
A Wide Array of Animals, Exhibitions, and More to See
As the Royal Highland Show is essentially a show about farming and agriculture, you can expect a wide variety of animals. There are horse jumping competitions as well as sheep shearing competitions, among others.
There are also sections where you can visit different kinds of cows, sheep, and horses. Smaller animals like various birds are present as well.
The Grand Parade takes place each day, which is a display of the best livestock. The horses come out first, and then the cows. It was a bit odd to see cows being led around – we suspect they weren’t too happy – but the Highland calves were sure cute!
Another section is dedicated to everything wood-related. There are pole climbing competitions and you can also see incredible artists do chainsaw carving.
A big building is dedicated to Scotland’s Larder Live!, which is an array of stalls featuring everything from alcohol to fudge and ice cream to cheese and everything in between. Many stalls offer free samples and when we popped our heads in for a second time towards the end of the day, we found that a pastry stall was selling all of their pastries for only £1.00 each (normally £10.00 for 3 items)!
And what’s farming and agriculture without machinery? A huge section of the show features brand spanking new machinery of all shapes and sizes.
This doesn’t even cover everything that was present at the show. Now you can maybe start to see why the entry fee is so high. Overall, we felt that the Royal Highland Show was very well-managed, with plenty of toilets, rubbish and recycling bins, and even water refill stations provided by Scottish Water.
Would we visit again next year? Likely not, but if you’ve never been before, we can highly recommend going once so that you can experience it for yourself!
What looks like the most interesting part of the Royal Highland Show to you? If you’ve been before, what was your favourite part? Let us know in the comments!