By Craig Neil
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Table of Contents
The Royal Highland Show is Scotland’s largest farming and countryside event. The show was founded in 1822 and is held annually at the Royal Highland Centre in Ingliston, Edinburgh.
What started as a simple gathering for farmers to trade cattle has now become one of the country’s top events, attracting up to 200,000 visitors each year.
The RHS has something for everyone, whether it’s viewing the impressive collections of farm machinery, watching exciting equestrian and forestry competitions, or sampling the very best foods from across the farms of Scotland.
|Address:||Royal Highland Centre,
|Opening Hours:||4 days across the last weekend in June.
7 am to 6/8 pm. For exact timings see https://www.royalhighlandshow.org/visitors/faqs/
|Admission Price:||Adult day single ticket £27.50 plus booking fee.
Children under 16 go free with a paying adult (max 2 children per adult).
|Parking:||On-site car park.
£15 for one day, £20 for two days and £25 for four days.
|Contact:||0131 335 6200
|Facilities:||Shops, cafes, food stalls, toilets, picnic areas, water refill stations, partial disabled access, bike rack, baby changing|
1: Food is one of the main attractions at the RHS and there’s a huge amount of free samples being dished out throughout the day. In addition, there are delicious food stalls across the site serving everything from chips to artisan venison sausages. The diet can wait!
2: There’s an incredible amount of things to see and do at the RHS and especially so if you have children in tow. Dads will love the farm machinery displays and mums will love the shopping halls – or maybe vice versa. Whatever your family likes to do, they’ll find something of interest at this event.
1: Due to the number of events, it’s quite easy to lose track of what’s currently happening and which events are coming up. My advice is to visit the RHS website and download the timetable before leaving home.
2: Be aware the roads heading to Ingliston aren’t really set up for a massive increase in traffic so long queues are unavoidable.
Unfortunately, you can’t even beat the queues by leaving early on Thursday and Friday due to Edinburgh’s commuters. This is one instance where taking the bus will likely be the fastest option.
3: As enjoyable as the RHS is, the crowds are horrific. For every event you’ll have to get there a good 30 minutes in advance in order to get to the front, the toilets are pretty ropey by the end of the day, and the free food sample tents are so popular they’re jam-packed all day.
It’s a great event, but perhaps not so great if you hate crowds.
The Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh has been celebrated as the biggest showcase of Scotland’s agriculture and countryside for a remarkable two hundred years.
Originally founded in 1822 as a means to display livestock, the show has morphed over the intervening years into the premier event for Scottish farming and now comprises a wide range of exhibitions, activities and shows.
The RHS celebrated its 200th year in 2022 with record numbers of ticket sales that exceeded the previous high of 2015 when 190,000 visitors were recorded entering the grounds.
These crowds flock to the RHS to view Scotland’s largest collection of livestock (including those adorable Highland Cows), exciting sporting events, Scottish-produced homeware and gifts, and traditional Scottish food.
The show is staged over four days in June, with each day having a slightly different timetable of events alongside a number of core activities.
The site is split into a number of different areas, each of which is themed around different aspects of farming.
These include Scotland’s Larder (a must-visit for foodies), a forestry arena with axe throwing and pole climbing competitions, show jumping, a countryside arena with demonstrations of traditional rural skills, a home and gifts hall, and much more.
Many more events such as sheep shearing, show jumping, dog obedience trials and falconry are also staged across the site.
As a family event, The Royal Highland Show is probably one of the best in Scotland and it’s one of the few where every member of the family is guaranteed to find something to keep them occupied, no matter their age.
Kids will love the animals, dads will love the machinery and mums will love the shopping – or maybe vice versa. Whatever you’re into, you’re guaranteed to have a great day out.
Summing up exactly what there is to do at the Royal Highland Show is nigh-on impossible as there’s so much happening, but there are a few staples that draw visitors back year after year.
The first is the livestock competitions which see competitors showcase their finest animals in front of panels of expert judges.
Classes include beef and dairy cattle, sheep and heavy horses, but the largest crowds tend to gather around the adorable Highland cows and the powerful Clydesdale horses.
Judging is carried out in dedicated enclosures while a parade of winners takes place each day in the main grandstand, with both events drawing some of the largest crowds of the entire show.
Elsewhere there are equine show jumping events, sheep shearing events, mountain bike displays, chainsaw woodcarving, and bird of prey demonstrations, to name but a few.
If you’re a foodie you’ll be in heaven at the RHS as there are a huge number of artisan craft stalls, many of which are continually handing out free samples throughout the day.
These include some of the largest supermarkets in the UK such as Aldi and Lidl who actively support and promote local producers.
A wander around one of their tents means you’ll inevitably walk out with an assortment of cheeses, biscuits, ice cream, and maybe a tipple or two of gin and whisky (which is worth bearing in mind if you’re debating on travelling by car or bus).
Another popular area is the Home and Gift Hall which showcases top products made in every region of Scotland, as well as some from further afield. Whether it’s a pair of wellies or a hand-made dining table, you’ll probably find what you’re looking for at the Royal Highland Show.
Also keeping visitors entertained is a great selection of live music, marquee displays of beekeeping, live cooking presentations with some of the best chefs from across the UK, horse-shoeing and shoe-making competitions, and goat and poultry marquees.
There’s a lot to see and do which justifies the rather pricey £30-ish per adult ticket price, but to be fair children under 16 are allowed to enter for free so in truth, it’s actually great value for money.
One thing to be aware of is the car park is somewhat overpriced at £15 per vehicle for the day, and while Lothian Buses provide services to Ingliston from the city centre they’ve increased the ticket price to £7.50 from the standard day ticket price of £4.50.
Finally, if you’re interested in the Royal Highland Show but are unable to make it on a particular day, you might be interested in viewing the RHS TV Live website which has live streams of events from across the show – the only (as far as I’m aware) event that offers this facility in Scotland.
Discover more things to do in Edinburgh with: The Best Places to Visit in Edinburgh – Ultimate Visitor Guide.
Tourist map of Scotland
Car parking is available at the site and there are regular bus stops along Glasgow Road.
Travelling by bus and tram in Edinburgh:
Edinburgh has a world-leading bus and tram network thanks to the services provided by Lothian buses, with cheap public transport available on clean, well-maintained vehicles.
The bus network extends right through Edinburgh and out to the surrounding areas, while the trams provide a fast mode of transport from over 14km from the airport into the city centre.
There are dedicated bus services (numbers 97 and 98) for the Royal Highland Show which depart from Edinburgh Park Station and George Street.
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Explore this area with a detailed paper map from Ordnance Survey:
Edinburgh – 350 Explorer.
Falkirk & Linlithgow – 65 Landranger.
OS Explorer Maps: Best for walking, mountain biking, and finding footpaths. 1:25,000 scale (4cm = 1km in real world). Buy OS Explorer maps direct from Ordnance Survey.
OS Landranger Maps: Best for road cycling, touring by car, and finding attractions. 1:50 000 scale (2 cm = 1 km in real world). Buy OS Landranger maps direct from Ordnance Survey.
Frequently asked questions
Where is the Royal Highland Show?
The Royal Highland Show is staged annually in June at the Royal Highland Centre in Ingliston, Edinburgh.
Address: Ingliston, Edinburgh, EH28 8NB.
Directions map: Google Maps
When was the first Royal Highland Show?
The first Royal Highland Show was held in 1822 at Canongate, Edinburgh, which is now the site of the Scottish Parliament.
What channel is the Highland Show on?
The Royal Highland Show is televised on BBC Scotland. There is also a live stream on the official website.
What visitor facilities are there at the Royal Highland Show?
The Royal Highland Show has car parking, bus stops, food and drink stalls, public toilets and shops. Visit the official website for updated information on available facilities.