Countryfile Live is one of the only TV programmes that everyone in my house likes to watch. It is a programme that I have developed an appreciation for as I’ve matured and started to look for simple things to enjoy as a family.
I was totally unaware that Countryfile Live was branching into live events, when outdoor retailer Blacks invited me to attend the show as their guest for one day.
The show took place in the grounds of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. I’ve always wanted to visit Blenheim and this opportunity seemed like the perfect excuse to get the family together and make our way to the first ever Countryfile Live.
The car park was organised and easy to navigate with plenty of stewards on the ground. The parking fee was £5, and the steward collected the fee on the spot, but I was told you can buy this in advance online too.
There was a 10 minute walk from the parking through a charming residential street and it was rather cute to meet a few entrepreneurial residents that were selling refreshments from the front door and pavement for a much reduced fee than those inside.
I had come prepared with a picnic and bottles of water which I was able to take into the show grounds without any problems.
During the walk to the gates, I met a few stewards that were selling the official programme for £10. I didn’t see a free summary version of the programme on the day which was a shame as it was a huge event and it would have been nice to have some guidance without having to pay for a full programme.
I was not prepared for how large this event was. I spent the first 2.5 hours exploring a tenth of what I later discovered was just a small part of the event. From the moment I entered the grounds, I was drawn to the craft section that was a series of tents by hobbyists as well as professionals from ironmongers, roof layers, woodworkers, stick makers and more.
It was a very hot day and James and I found a little spot under a tree to enjoy our first bit of picnic. We then made our way to a farmers market which was packed with people and lots of other families with prams, or people who had brought their dog with them. This was probably the first proper family friendly event of this scale I have been too. Everyone I met was friendly and although we made our way slowly through the market, we did see a lot and tasted some amazing produce from British farmers.
I had a call from James’s dad who was still at the entrance area chatting to the woodworkers; he had been there for over three hours and was wondering where we were. We decided to meet at the picnic area and have some lunch that we brought with us. We enjoyed some pasta and then decided that we should buy something from the farmers market as a treat.
There was so much to choose from but it was easy to decide what we wanted. We went straight to the hog roast and found a place nearby to sit and enjoy one of the tastiest hot roasts in a while. I had my eyes on homemade ice cream next but there was no way I could eat anything else after having eaten half the hog roast.
We decided to walk to Blacks’ spot on the grounds to say hi and find out what they were doing. On our way, we detoured into a timber sport championship. I am a big fan of Strongest Man in The World competition and really enjoyed watching the lumberjack athletes on stage.
We next made our way towards some tractors and ended up at a farming in action section. There was everything from modern day tractors to a display of old machinery from the past 100 years!
James absolutely loved it and we took picture after picture of him on the various tractors before deciding to make our way towards the exit. As we were approaching the end of the show we thought it would be best to leave before it got too busy by the parking. I remember my last ever Reading Festival and being stuck in traffic and had a feeling this could end the same, so we made our way back.
On route, we decided to visit Adam’s farm, as someone we met mentioned that they had baby animals on display there and I really wanted James to see some animals before we left. We didn’t have much time left and I wished we had come earlier. James cried as we had to walk away from the farm and towards the exit that was getting busier as most attendees had a similar exit strategy to us.
The walk to parking felt so much longer for some reason and I was feeling a bit deflated that I had not visited the Blacks tent. They had kindly invited me to this event and I really wanted to take part in the activity they were running during the show. It was not meant to be this time, but I will be back for sure again next year.
This was one of my favourite outings this summer and I can’t recommend going highly enough, even though I still find the parking and programme fee off-putting (I think it should be included in the ticket price which is £30 for adults per day and £15 for children). Having said that, there are not many events like this that are family friendly and really enjoyable for everyone. Definitely well worth going to visit and potentially staying for a couple of days.
Did you know that Countryfile Live put on this event this year? Would you consider going next year?
Disclosure: I was gifted two ticket to this event, but not required to write this review. All opinions and experiences shared are mine.