The Game Fair 2018 will be bigger and better than ever this summer, with an array of special features and attractions lined up to celebrate its 60th anniversary. Europe’s largest outdoor countryside festival will take place at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire, where over 120,000 visitors will attend activities across the three days from Friday 27 July to Sunday 29 July.
Ragley Hall is approximately 1.5 hours (60 miles) from Oxford, making it a great day out for the family. Standard car parking is free, and premium parking (closer to the show entrances) is available to purchase in advance. There’s also a helipad – just in case. TIP: Use the AA signs rather than your Sat Nav.
The Game Fair 2018 promises something for everyone, and with so much to see and do, here are some of our favourites.
1. The Subaru Shooting Line
The Game Fair’s Shooting Line has become a staple feature of the show site for many years. As Europe’s Longest Shooting Line - a staggering 585 meters long – there will be plenty of room for the whole family to get involved with this historical country sport. The Shooting Line supports shooters of all disciplines and abilities - from novices looking to try something new over the weekend, to seasoned pros gathering top tips to advance their shot. And with a secure Gun Safe located on Gunmakers Row®, there’s never been a better excuse to bring your gun along and enjoy this age-old past-time!
Gundog Row is the hub for all with an interest in dogs, whether working or family. A wide range of information and products will be on offer, including dog food companies, kennels, welfare organisations, gundog training equipment and dog accessories alongside the competition pens and demo areas. Competitions and demonstrations in this area are extremely popular, daily attractions and include the International Team Championship and the Euro Challenge.
Falconry is a hugely popular part of The Game Fair, and this year the organisers are working with CJ’s Birds of Prey to launch the new Falconry Village at the event and to make falconry bigger and better than ever before. Whether you are an experienced falconer or simply want to see these majestic birds up close, this is an area not to be missed.
If you’re interested in seeing archery in action or if you would like to have-a-go to see if it this might be the sport for you, then a visit the Field Archery area is a must. You can talk about the sport and try your hand at a range of targets from Olympic style targets through to 3D animal targets at a range of distances. From the historic longbow and Mongolian horsebow, through to the recurve and compound bow types, there will be different styles to suit people with a wide range of abilities.
5. The Carter Jonas Game Fair Theatre
The Carter Jonas Game Fair Theatre – one of the most popular attractions during the weekend. Hosted by Charlie Jacoby from Fieldsports Channel, you can look forward to three days of furious debate, sparkling conversation and at least two examples of great shooting, live on stage. It’s free to come in, sit down and enjoy and we can guarantee you a lively mix of content that is both thought-provoking and enjoyable. Make your way to the heart of The Game Fair® to see what all the fuss is about.
6. International Farrier Competition
Held across all three days, the competition is open to a total of 48 farriers from around the world who will be split into two classes – apprentices and seniors. They will compete in front of renowned judges from the UK, USA, Spain and Italy. The Shoeing Lab Championships promises to be a spectacle as competitors aim to replicate a specimen shoe against the clock. After four eliminating heats, eight finalists will meet on Sunday to compete at actually shoeing a horse against the clock.
7. The James Martin Game Fayre Restaurant
Located at the heart of The Game Fair near the main arena, the 300-cover restaurant will be a relaxed deli-style experience with a menu created by celebrity chef, author and television presenter James Martin. The distinct and delicious ingredients of a sustainable countryside will inspire the menu, and James will be there, mingling with diners and sharing his passion for the great outdoors.
8. Ronnie Scott’s Evening
An evening of live music presented by Ronnie Scott’s - the legendary jazz venue in Soho, London. This intimate soirée will take place on Friday and Saturday night within The Game Fair Enclosure at Ragley Hall. The Ronnie Scott’s Evening ticket includes entertainment from Ronnie Scott’s, entry to The Game Fair after 5 pm, light supper created by celebrity chef James Martin featuring dishes such as Pheasant Curry and Kentucky Fried Rabbit, priority parking & cash bar.
This year angling is taking centre stage at The Game Fair, with a Fishing Village Set in stunning surroundings within the main show. The village will include two casting pools for demonstrations and there will be many opportunities to see the latest tackle, get some tips from the experts, watch the biggest names in the sport demonstrating their skills, or simply cast a line (and catch a fish) in a well-stocked lake.
10. The Field Kitchen Theatre
The Field Kitchen Theatre, sponsored by Alaska Seafood, brings together an astonishing line-up of chefs, ideas and recipes along with expert advice, techniques and stories that will inspire you. Featured Chefs are Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL, Jose Souto, Mike Robinson, Rachel Green, Juanita Hennessy, Richard Hunt, Alun Williams & Scott Rea.
To celebrate 60 years since the first Game Fair in 1958, visitors to Ragley Hall in July will enjoy the events first ever Museum! A showcase of the countryside’s paraphernalia from the 50’s and 60’s. You will be amazed at how tradition isn’t so traditional with products and exhibits from today’s well-known brands and some others now long gone.
Of course, The Game Fair 2018 also offers three days of retail therapy, with around 1000 exhibitors, from world famous gunmakers to clothing brands and gamekeeping supplies. There will also be many opportunities to relax and socialise over a pint or a cocktail in pop-up bars all around the showground.
All images courtesy of The Games Fair