Rupert Cox: It's Bath and West time
PUBLISHED: 16:18 21 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:18 21 May 2018
Jeremy Long / JCL PHOTOGRAPHY
This month our columnist looks forward to the biggest event of the year in Somerset
It is hard to believe that another Royal Bath & West Show is just around the corner with its wonderful celebration of Great British agriculture, entertainment and food and drink. The gates open on May 30 for a fabulous four days of fun.
Without the Glastonbury Festival in 2018, the Bath & West is the largest event hosted in Somerset this year and we are very proud of our commitment to the county that stretches back to 1965 when the show was first staged on or own Showground at Shepton Mallet.
For the century or so prior to this, the show was peripatetic. While the first in 1852 was hosted in Taunton it travelled the width of the country through a triangle between Truro, Taunton, Tewksbury and Twickenham – with a handful of sojourns across the channel to South Wales.
My son now lives in very urban Croydon and it is hard to believe that the show, under the guise of the Bath & West and Southern Counties Show, was hosted there in 1901.
So back to 2018. The Royal Bath & West Show remains a regional show of national significance. Livestock and horses from all over the country descend on the 240 acre Showground to compete for biggest and best, while the British Cheese Awards and British Cider Championships exude excellence from the heart of Somerset’s heritage.
In recent years we have been keen to provide some top quality entertainment for the whole family during half-term week. The youngsters love Farming for the Family and Imagineering, while the not-so-young reminisce with the vintage vehicles and steam engines. Country skills are demonstrated – horse shoeing, sheep shearing, hedge laying, flower arranging and horticulture where we encourage our visitors to not just spectate, but participate.
Food and fun fill the air at the Bath & West. Live music in the Pilton Tent and the Bandstand; street theatre throughout the show; and of course the wonderful labyrinth of regional food and drink on virtually every street corner and in the huge Food Hall that will be filled to the rafters with the very best food offerings in the region.
And finally, don’t mention it too loudly, but we have more than 600 trade stands to suit every interest, style and pocket. We are not a shopping centre, but we know Somerset people like to shop!
If you are new to Somerset, the Royal Bath & West Show is a must-see event and if you have lived in Somerset for many years and haven’t been to see us for a while, then come back – you will be pleasantly surprised.
Check out the Royal Bath & West Show website from where you can buy tickets and download our brand new App.
Rupert Cox is the CEO of the Royal Bath and West Society. For more from Rupert, follow him on Twitter! @rupert_rbw