After last year’s cancellation, The Game Fair, of which tens of thousands of shooting and country enthusiasts are immeasurably fond of, is returning and is set to be bigger and better than ever this summer and we can’t wait!
Returning to familiar territory, Europe’s largest outdoor countryside festival will be held at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire. Around 120,000 visitors are expected to be there across three days from Friday 23 July to Sunday 25 July.
Having become a stalwart date in the diary for so many since it’s inception in 1958, The Game Fair is not only a celebration of the countryside and our way of life but also the ultimate country social event. With friends coming together for a good-ol’ chinwag over a G&T or pint from all across the country, let alone the invaluable business meetings held in perhaps the most apt of settings, The Game Fair has become a celebration us rural folk simply cannot live without.
With last year’s cancellation being noticeably felt across the country for visitors and exhibitors, the return of The Game Fair this summer cannot come soon enough! So, here are just some of the things to look forward to at Ragley Hall this July…
Things to see and do at The Game Fair:
Shop until you drop… hopefully into one of the many pubs onsite!
For three days every year, The Game Fair becomes one of the biggest rural retail areas in the UK with nearly 1,000 stands – and 230 new brands exhibiting for the first time. All of the biggest country brands we know and love will be in residence. Expect exciting new product launches and unbeatable show-only deals. As ever, this is the ultimate place to discover new, small and independent retailers who will be offering their unique, artisan products too. One of my favourite things about these events is finding new start-ups to obsess over!
Gundogs to swoon over!
Attracting more four-legged friends than Crufts, The Game Fair is the biggest event in the calendar for gundog lovers. You can have-a-go with your own four-legged friend in the scurry, pick-up and scramble events, so it is just as important a day out for your dog as it is for you! Over the course of the weekend there’s a jam-packed programme of events from the long-established Home International Competition to the HPR Home International and the Gundog Working Test Challenge, both new for 2021. The latter is aimed at amateurs and will award £2,000 to the two overall winners.
A staycation with a bang!
With holidays to far flung places uncertain, there’s never been a better time (or excuse) to enjoy a staycation. Turn your visit to The Game Fair into a full-blown mini break by camping or even glamping for the weekend. Visitors are welcome to bring their own tent or bring along a caravan, motorhome or horsebox to one of the new 10×10 pitches. If that wasn’t enough…canvas bell tents are available either unfurnished, basically furnished or outright luxurious. For an enhanced camping experience, consider the baby tipi package that includes a proper double bed and carpet. Open for five nights, the campsite has all the necessary facilities including toilets, showers, an on-site shop as well as catering concessions and a bar. There is very limited availability left so, book soon!
The Totally Game Area
Yet another new and exciting addition for 2021, The Totally Game Area focuses on educating people about eating and cooking with game. Visitors can buy tokens (£3 each) and redeem them for a huge variety of tasters (one token per taster). Hosted by the British Game Alliance, 16 small producers including Exmoor Game, Taste of Game, and Wild & Game will be there offering everything from venison burgers and pheasant or rabbit goujons to pigeon kebabs and partridge tacos. Aimed at taking the mystery out of game, visitors can learn how to kill, skin, prepare and cook it.
The wide array of family-friendly features and attractions ensuring that there is something for everyone. The hugely popular shooting line returns of course, with the event boasting the most comprehensive outdoor shooting exhibition held anywhere in the UK.
The Shooting Line
Whether you are an expert shot or a complete novice, the Shooting Line welcomes people of all abilities. Run by shooting ground and sporting agency, E.J. Churchill, visitors have the opportunity to take part in a mid-summer shoot out with competitions, have-a-go stands and demonstrations.
As always, BASC will be on hand providing one-to-one lessons for 30 minutes and a shorter ‘Shooting Experience’ for newcomers that lasts 10 minutes. There will also be the opportunity for visitors to test lead-free sustainable shotgun cartridges from brands like Eley, BioAmmo and Joker. The CPSA will be offering visitors have-a-go clay shooting at 10 targets with an instructor. Designed for all abilities, there is no minimum age but you do need to be at least one metre tall.
The Fishing Village
Whether you’re a seasoned angler or someone who has only recently taken up the sport, there’s plenty for you to enjoy in the new look Fishing Village. You will be able to pick up expert tips on the specially made Casting Pool, with demonstrations from the likes of Charles Jardine, Hywel Morgan and his teenage daughter Tanya. A dedicated fishing theatre – dubbed the Landing Stage – will play host to talks from the likes of Marina Gibson, author Henry Giles and David Lyons from fishing and mental health charity Tackling Minds, plus many more.
There is literally so so much to see and do at The Game Fair, that if we listed everything this article would go on forever! All that is left to say, for now, is that this is a celebration of the countryside and the lifestyle that you seriously don’t want to miss. So, clear your diary and book your tickets!
Need to know info:
Where: Ragley Hall, Warwickshire B49 5NJ
When: Friday 23 July to Sunday 25 July (8am to 6pm; to 7:30pm on the Friday. Stands and attractions open from 9am)
Ticket prices: Adult: £29 in advance for one day (gate price £35).
Family (2 adults and up to 3 children): £69 in advance (gate price £80) for one day.
Children (8-16): £10 in advance for one day.
SPECIAL: BASC Members can register for complimentary tickets AND book reduced rate guest tickets and packages!