Royal Norfolk Show preview

A boy with a cow at the Royal Norfolk Show 2013.

A boy with a cow at the Royal Norfolk Show 2013. - Credit: Archant

The Royal Norfolk Show is the county's biggest event of the year attracting tens of thousands to its unique mix of agriculture, countryside pursuits, spectacular displays, cream teas and fashions.

A girl with a sheep at the Royal Norfolk Show 2013.

A girl with a sheep at the Royal Norfolk Show 2013. - Credit: Archant

It's Norfolk's biggest day out of the year. Tens of thousands of people will flock to the Norfolk Showground on the outskirts of Norwich next week to enjoy the colour and excitement of the 105th Royal Norfolk Show.

Animals, tractors, performances and mouth-dropping displays will once again thrill visitors throughout the day, attracting residents from across the city, county and beyond.

The show is the largest two-day agricultural show in the country, and a highlight on the county calendar. And as usual there's more than enough to interest everyone; from the latest farm machinery, and livestock to sampling some of Norfolk's finest produce.

Both days will see a packed programme in the Grand Ring. Once gain one of the highlights will be the RAF Falcons Freefall Parachute Team, perform their impressive red, white and blue spectacle at this year's show landing in on both show days.

New in the this year will be the Bolddog Lings Freestyle Team, who you may have seen on this year's Britain's Got Talent, who will this year amaze the crowds at the Royal Norfolk Show with their gravity defiant Freestyle Motocross show. The nationally acclaimed team has the largest, most high tech landing ramp in the world and has been ridden by the world's best freestyle professionals including World number one Nate Adams, and World record holder, Robbie Madison the current day Evil Knievel. The landing ramp has also been used on the world renowned Crusty Demons Tour and was recently used on the Top Gear Live Tour.

The ever popular Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas are also back. From Shorncliffe near Folkestone, the world famous Gurkha band will be performing in the Grand Ring on both days.

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Elsewhere there will also be a new small animals area. From cattle to pigs, ducks to goats, rabbits to guinea pigs, at Knot Farm (named after the famous Stafford Family who once owned Costessey Hall) you can see and learn about some of Norfolk's best loved farm animals, all in one area.

The farm will include cattle, sheep, pigs and goats as well as fascinating ducks, rabbits and guinea pigs. Heavy Horses will also play a part in the area and visitors will be able to enjoy demonstrations and talks relevant to the breeds as well as have fun being able to see up close some of Norfolk's best loved farm animals and pets.

There will be a fun and informative Discovery Zone featuring a variety of interactive activities from careers trails, discovery trails and science trails to sports zones, food demonstrations and much, much more.

The YO.LK is once again at the show with Savage Skills, the UK's leading freestyle mountain bike stunt team who will have displays at 10am, midday, 2pm and 4pm each day - plus you can also have a go on a trials bike in between displays and be mentored by the Savage Skills team.

Other family friendly have-a-go sports activities will include Norwich City Football Club, combat paintball and childrens' rides and entertainment, including new for this year the Star Flyer, a high-flying chair-o-planes ride giving you fantastic views right across the showground.

The Vintage Fair will be operating both days of the show with everything from a helter skelter and gallopers to the big wheel and a chair swing.

Heavy horses, light horses, racehorses, showjumpers and ponies, the Royal Norfolk Show has a long and prestigious heritage of exhibition equine classes. An action packed showjumping calendar will include the Speedi-beet 'Horse of the Year Show' Grade C qualifier, the Horse & Hound Foxhunter and the International Stairway Grand Prix. There will be a record 27 'Horse of the Year Show' qualifiers – including three new qualifiers for the Ridden Purebred Arabs.

The Waldburgh Shires Heavy Horse Musical Drive is a chance to watch 12 pairs of heavy horses and drays perform to music in the Grand Ring. While new for 2014 is the Retrained Racehorse Jump Challenge on the Thursday and the two wheeled heavy horse cart class, plus 'Donkey in Hand' classes.

You cannot come to the Norfolk show without checking out the livestock — it's why it was created in the first place after all. Marvel at the literally dozens of different classes of cattle, sheep and pigs done up in their show best. They may look the same to us townies, but that doesn't mean you cannot enjoy it.

The grand parade of cattle and shire horses is always quite a spectacle. From beef and dairy cattle, gloucester old spots and large blacks to some of the rarest animals in the world.

Take a seat in the grandstand and watch some of the finest animals in the land on parade or take a walk through the cattle sheds and chat to the farmers. And don't forget to watch one of the many Young Handlers Competitions which run at the show.

Highlights also include the Colman Mustard Interbreed Beef Competition; the Young Handler Competitions and the Lewis Sheep Rings.

The small livestock shows are also again expected to be hugely popular after record entries of poultry, rabbits and cavies were inspected by breed judges last year.

In the popular Countryside Arena will be the Welsh Axeman displaying their strength, endurance, speed and agility against each other whilst displaying their forestry skills all against the clock. The ever favourable and entertaining Sheep Show will also be present again to give visitors the chance to see the sheep dancing; while there will also be dog and duck displays, Parelli Horsemanship, hounds and raptors.

The vintage farm machinery displays will this year concentrate on machinery available in 1954 will be displayed together with a vintage harvesting demonstration. This will give the visitor the opportunity to remember 'Days and Ways Gone By' with vehicles powered by steam and other means following on from the days of the horse.

Leading the line-up at the Cookery Theatre this year will be popular TV chef and author James Martin, who will host three shows a day cooking a selection of mouth-watering recipes including cod and monkfish vodka tonic batter, mackerel en croute and basil and summer fruit pudding with clotted cream.

The theatre will have a rolling programme of 13 all-action demonstrations over the two-days of the show hosted by acclaimed local chef and food writer Mary Kemp. Those cooking up a storm will include Galton Blackiston, chef patron of Michelen-starred Morston Hall; Richard Hughes from The Lavender House in Brundall; head chef at Morston Hall Richard Bainbridge; pastry chef and owner of Macarons & More Tim Kinnaird; Chris Coubrough, owner of The Crown Hotel in Wells and the Ship Hotel in Brancaster; and Vanessa Scott, director of Strattons Hotel in Swaffham.

As ever there will be live music of all styles. This year there will be over 10 different bands playing at the Royal Norfolk Show bandstand during the two days, starting at 9.15am, including on Wednesday the Wymondham College Jazz Orchestra, the Norwich School Senior Concert Band, Broadland Brass and in the evening The Joe Ringer Band; while on Thursday bands include Norwich High School, Notre Dame High School Wind Band and the Top Brass.

New for this year will be a variety of street entertainers across at the show and the colourful and spectacular Norwich Samba Band will be performing around the showground on the Thursday.

The Flower and Garden Show always attracts a large number of visitors and will again feature masses of colourful blooms, demonstrations and advice, flower arranging competitions, courtyard gardens, plant crèche and its own café.

The show is, of course, as much about fashion as it is farming and family. And there will again be plenty for fashion fans; displaying lively catwalk shows.

And if you fancy a rest while you soak up thre atmosphere, make sure you head to the ever popular EDP/Evening News tea tent at stand 211, where readers can get a free cup of tea or coffee with vouchers we will be running in the paper from Monday to Thursday. And there will be fun with our 'face in the hole' photo board. Tweet your pictures using hastag #BigEDP or #BigEN and we'll use the best ones in our show supplements.

• The Royal Norfolk Show, Norfolk Showground, June 20-30. Gates open at 8am. Tickets in advance £19 (£17 cons), £7 children (5-16), under-5s free, family ticket (two adults and up to three children) £50.

• Tickets on the gate £24 (£22 cons), £10 children, under-5s free, family ticket (two adults and up to three children) £70. Groups of 25 or more 10% discount. Booking and more details: 01603 748931,

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