Agricultural shows in the Lake District have been a familiar fixture on the summer calendar for as long as we can remember. Hardly surprising when you consider just how important agriculture is to the Cumbrian economy.
What started out as small shows which enabled farmers to showcase their livestock have developed to become big events, such as the Cartmel Show which will take place on Wednesday 2 August. Shows today still focus on livestock, but visitors can now enjoy entertainment, sports and competitions.
Nowadays, there are over one hundred and fifty agricultural shows across the UK each year, ranging from extravagant three-day events to smaller, village-based shows. We're lucky enough to have around twenty agricultural shows in the Lake District. Below we take a look at a few of our favourites (all taking place in August), so if you happen to be staying with us in August, why not pop along?
Apart from sticky toffee pudding, Cartmel is best-known for horse racing, so it will come as no surprise that horses are one of the main features at the Cartmel Show. There's showjumping, carriage driving and show classes for visitors to enjoy, as well as a host of other activities. There's wrestling (watching not taking part!), live food demonstrations and plenty of entertainment for children. In short, the Cartmel Show is a fabulous family day out.
Ambleside Sports, Rydal Park
After a two-year absence, the Lake District's oldest and most traditional sporting event will return to Rydal Park in Ambleside on Thursday 27 July.
The first event will be the Rydal Round, a tough nine mile fell race around one of Lakeland's best known walks known as the Fairfield Horseshoe. This is hard enough as a walk, let alone a run!
Among the other events are track cycling, running, Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, hound trails and children's sports. There will also be lots of craft stalls, fairground rides, side-shows, and refreshments across the site.
Tickets are available from the Ambleside Sports website.
Dating from 1868, Grasmere Sports has run every year except during the Firs and Second World War and more recently the Covid pandemic. Originally the annual Grasmere Sheep Fair, it's now a notable community event welcoming visitors and locals alike.
Nowadays, the event is one of the most popular events in the Lake District, a true celebration of Cumbrian tradition, with gruelling fell racing, sheepdog displays, terrier shows and traditional Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling. In fact, Grasmere Sports is widely recognised as the main event in the Cumbrian and Westmorland Wrestling calendar.
The event also welcomes back Dangerous Steve, a real crowd pleaser whose dynamic act is full of sensational stunts, including fire and chainsaw juggling.
Grasmere Sports will take place from 10.00am on Sunday 27 August on the Showfield in Grasmere. All events and races are entered on the day.
For more details, visit the Grasmere Sports website.
Rydal Sheepdog Trials and Hound Show
We'll complete our round up with the Rydal Sheepdog Trials and Hound Show, which takes place on Thursday 17 August in the beautiful Rydal Park. The show started in 1901 when a local landowner created a sheepdog trial competition, and these trials remain the main focus today, accompanied by a judging competition for hounds.
There is also the annual Shepherds Crooks and Sticks competition, as well as a number of trade stalls and refreshments.
Click here for more details.
The Lake District is a fabulous place to visit in the summer and these shows and fairs attract visitors from far and wide. These are just a few of our favourites, but if you're willing to travel the Cockermouth Show is a great day out (5 August), as is the Keswick Show (28 August) and the Ennerdale Show (30 August).
If you would like more information about any shows taking place during your stay, please do get in touch.