This year, The Game Fair 2019 – Europe’s largest outdoor countryside festival – will take place from Friday 26 July to Sunday 28 July at Hatfield House – a grand Jacobean stately home and gardens in Hertfordshire – which is approximately 60 miles (a 1.5 hours drive) from Oxford City Centre, making it a great day out for the family. Over 120,000 visitors are expected to attend this annual gathering for people passionate about countryside pursuits and the Great British Countryside in all its glory..
The fair will open daily from 9:00 am and close at 7:30 pm on Friday and 6:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday. In-Show Parking with complimentary tea and coffee is available at £40 in an exclusive parking area situated within the show boundary. This must be purchased in advance when you book your tickets. Premium Parking is also available in advance, situated close to the show entrances and available at every carpark. This must also be purchased in advance when you book your tickets. Standard parking is free at The Game Fair.
The Game Fair 2019 will be bigger and better than ever this summer, with a line-up of special features and attractions, and promises of something for everyone. With so much to see and do, here are some of our favourites to look out for.
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 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. PS: If you’re bringing your cartridges – fibre wad only, please.
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 following the success of the 2018 event, the organisers are working with CJ’s Birds of Prey once again in the Falconry Village at the event to bring together the largest collection of birds of prey anywhere in the UK. 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. The sport is easy for everyone from children to senior citizens to take part in, and is accessible to people with a wide range of abilities. 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. 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.
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. Horses & Hounds
The Horses & Hounds Area and the dedicated ring are the perfect places to stop and discover everything about horses, from how to get started to chatting with fellow riders and picking up tips, while browsing stands that specialise in everything you could need for your horse. In particular, look out for the Terriers Parade every afternoon in the Mini Ring and the Side Saddle Display Team showing the art of side saddle riding – detailing the elegance, the mystery and the history.
7. Dine with James Martin in The Game Fair Enclosure
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. PS: There will also be numerous bars and catering areas around the site; not to mention the Totally Food area and Gin Makers Row. These areas will continue to satisfy the growing demand for ‘farm to fork’ food provenance.
8. Weber Grill Academy
Brush up on your barbecue skills as part of the sizzling offering for foodies being dished up by the festival of the great British countryside. Barbecue experts Weber, the new hosts of the Totally Food area this year, will be offering a limited number of visitors the chance to join a mini version of its ‘Grill Academy’. The hands-on educational sessions, limited to 20 people and held five times each day for half an hour, will pepper enthusiasts with enough hints and tips to produce the perfect barbecued meat. Places, costing £5 each, will be limited, with the proceeds going to The Game Fair’s nominated charity, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust.
This year angling is taking centre stage at The Game Fair, with a Fishing Village Set in stunning surroundings within the main show, located just off Gunmakers Row. 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, and ‘try before you buy’.
10. The Kitchen Theatre
The Kitchen Theatre brings together an astonishing line-up of well-known chefs and cookery experts together with ideas and recipes as well as expert advice, techniques and stories that will inspire you. Featured include Christopher Burt, Nigel Barden, Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL, Steve & Lynn Tricker, Jessica Noy, Esther Veerman, Juanita Hennessey, José Souto, Steve Lyons, Scott Rea.
12. Game Fair Gardens sponsored by Charles Stanley
This one-acre show garden within the grounds of Hatfield House estate and The Game Fair will be the largest show garden installation ever attempted – brought to life and designed by RHS Gold Medalists Capel Manor College to tell the story of the countryside, estates, country gardens, traditional practices and innovations.
Of course, The Game Fair 2019 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