Review of 'Countryfile Live 2019'

https://www.countryfilelive.com/

Well, this is four years in a row now we have made the trip to Blenheim Palace to see Countryfile Live. It has to be one of the largest country shows in the country. So, is it still worth it? Well, yes and no.

Logistics

For a show such as Countryfile Live you have to plan the trip well in advance. Not only is it the tickets you will need to have purchased but transport will also need to be arranged. Blenheim Palace is not exactly in the middle of any city. Though buses to the site were offered from nearby train stations many people drive to the show so parking passes are required (parking is in several…large…adjacent fields).

Breakfast with James Tanner cooking

We always tend to arrive early having heard of the traffic problems the first year the show was on. The gates opened at 9:30 but we arrived shortly after 8. It is a 10 minute (or so…depending on where you end up parking) walk from the car park to the entrance which is opened at 8:30 to allow people into the front section of the show which has a few displays and, more importantly for those of us that were up early, coffee and food.

Sections

The show is divided in a number of main sections. A map is certainly required (they are for sale everywhere on site but we made due with one on the phone which was more than adequate). There were a few changes this year with, regrettably, the loss of the “Farming in Action” area. The “Village Fun Fair” appears to have been a bit expanded with many more old-style rides for the young.

The Farmyard

Pig Show

Probably our favourite part of the show.

Horse with Mel

In previous years known as “Adam's Farm” here you are able to get close up to various farm animals (yes, petting galore) as well as visit various exhibits and see periodic animal shows.

Sheep

Pigs

Wildlife Zone

A section where you can try out various outdoor sports including kayaking and fishing.

Path to Wildlife Zone

Various nature groups are well represented here (the National Trust, the Wildlife Trust, etc) so this is a good place to learn a bit more about what they are and what they do.

Village Green

An attempt to recreate an old-fashioned village green complete with bandstand. Entertainment such as Morris Dancing…

Shopping Village

The same stalls you will have seen if you have ever been to the show before. It seems many people come here to shop but, to be honest, I can do that anywhere, we were here for the animals and countryside. Yes, the prices are often quite good but most of the time it is filled with people who would not be out of place in an infomercial.

Crowds

Food Market

Dining Area

Mostly fast food stalls but occasionally something new and interesting is on offer. Prices are, as you might expect, quite high and the food can be pretty average. Worth looking around for something better…there was a lot of food on offer throughout the show as well as the now traditional “Craven Arms” pub named after one of the presenters of the television show.

Craven Arms Sign

Shows

Dog Handling Show

There were several event areas: “The Mane Arena”, “Quilter Cheviot Theatre”, “The Dog Lover's Arena”, “National Trust Theatre”, “The Big Barn”, and “Countryfile Main Stage”. Daily schedules for each of these could be found on giant billboards throughout the site. We downloaded a schedule on the phone and used this to see whether there was anything we HAD to see…on our visit, the final day of the show, there was only one talk we wanted to see, Charlie Boorman but, unfortunately, he cancelled at the last minute.

Main Stage

In recent years the events on the main stage are now much more low-key than the big productions of the early years of the show. No longer do you need (free) tickets but just show up to see the presenters informally talking about themselves and answers questions from the audience.

Youth Pony Show

The main horse arena was much smaller this year instead focusing on smaller pony's and donkeys, featuring youth groups and similar. There were no big show horses seen in previous versions of the show.

Dog Show

Still lots of opportunities to see dog and other small animal displays including obedience demonstrations, obstacle courses, etc.

Conclusions

Manual Wood Turning

The show does appear to be repeating itself though there is still enough to see for us to continue coming, skipping over the bits we have previously visited and concentrating on what interests such as the animals and food. It helps to have a look at the schedule in advance and prepare yourself to make the most out of your day…it is a very big show. At this we did leave SLIGHTLY earlier than show close at 5:30…but only by 30 minutes.

Crowds - Art

In 2020 the show is no longer to be held at Blenheim and there is now also a second show in the north of England at Castle Howard a few weeks after the show here at Blenheim Palace surely making this THE biggest show of it's kind in the UK.

If you haven't visited, I am sure you will find it worth going. There is something here for everyone.

Rating:

Review Date: 2019-08-04



Blenheim Palace

Location: Woodstock (England)

Address: Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire OX20 1PP ENGLAND

Public Transport: NRLOGO Oxford Parkway NRLOGO Bicester

Telephone: +44 (0) 1993 810530

URL: http://www.blenheimpalace.com/

blenhem2.jpg Ancestral home of the Duke of Marlborough and famously the childhood home of Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace is a beautiful stately home in the Oxfordshire countryside (see my Oxfordshire page) surrounded by wonderful parkland and a scenic lake.

Though you can take public transport the easiest way to get here is by car (parking facilities available) or by tourist coach. The house is definitely the highlight but the grounds certainly deserve a lot of your time as well as the formal gardens around the house.

See my information page here.