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Last updated on March 22nd, 2021
Created in 1822 and held annually in the Royal Highland Centre in Ingliston, the Royal Highland Show is Scotland’s largest farming and countryside event.
Review of The Royal Highland Show
The Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh has been celebrated as the biggest showcase of Scotland’s agriculture and countryside for well over a hundred years.
Originally devised in 1822 as a means to display livestock, the show has morphed over the intervening years into the premier event for farming in Scotland and now comprises a wide range of exhibitions, activities and shows.
Remarkably, the show celebrated its 175th year in 2015 which drew its biggest crowds to date when nearly 190,000 visitors were recorded entering the grounds to enjoy the mix of livestock (including those adorable Highland Cows), sporting events, Scottish-produced goods and traditional Scottish food.
Visitors to the show can enjoy the spectacle of competitions where sheep, goats, horses, ponies, donkeys and poultry are exhibited to be crowned best in class, while exciting competitive rural events like sheep shearing, show jumping, dog obedience trials, falconry and tug-of-war are also organised throughout the day.
As a family event The Royal Highland Show is probably one of the best in Scotland and you’ll find something for everyone at the enormous venue. Kids will love the animals, dads will love the machinery and mums will love the shopping – or maybe vice versa. But whatever you’re into, I’ll guarantee you’ll find it a great day out.
Things to do at The Royal Highland Show
There are always impressive exhibitions of agricultural machinery at the Royal Highland Show which are a favourite with dads and kids alike, while mums can go on a shopping spree at the smaller stalls in the 13th Avenue Arcade which sells everything from sporting goods and clothes to locally produced food and drink in a huge selection of brightly-coloured market stalls.
Also keeping visitors entertained are a variety of different bands and music groups, with traditional Scottish pipe and drums often playing alongside the massed ranks of military bands.
Other events to watch at the show include record-breaking attempts at pole climbing in the Forestry Arena, while the Countryside Arena showcases marquee displays of honey, livestock and outdoor pursuits.
The Forge is the place to watch competitors battle against each other in horseshoe making championships while Scotland’s Larder Live is a great venue to enjoy live demonstrations and tastings of Scottish produced delicacies.
If you’re arriving by car you might find the car parking charges a bit steep but like the entry tickets you can get a bit of a discount if you book in advance on the website (see below for details).
The Royal Highland Show is a really good day out and it’ll easily keep the entire family occupied for the day. It gets extremely busy though so take my advice and get there early.
- There’s an incredible amount to see and do at the Royal Highland Show and kids will love the animals and the big farm machinery.
- The food tents are absolutely delicious, if a little pricey.
- The show will easily keep the entire family entertained for a full day.
- Take a packed lunch and have a picnic to save money. Unfortunately, everything else is going to come at a cost. Expect to fork out around £100 for entrance tickets for an average family.
- The crowds are pretty hectic – get there early to avoid the car parking rush.
- Find more places to visit in Edinburgh with my handy Tourist Attractions Map, but don’t forget to first check my Weather Forecast Map.
Address and map
Car parking is available on-site and there are regular bus stops along Glasgow Road.
Tickets and opening times
Gates open: 7.30am
The Royal Highland Show runs on the 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd June 2109. You can choose to visit the show on any day you like as all tickets are single entry to any single show day.
Tickets and car parking can be purchased in advance or on the day.
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.
Visit Transport For Edinburgh for more information on Edinburgh’s Trams and buses or download the Transport for Edinburgh App. To help you find your way around the bus network more quickly you can get real-time information on the web and on your smartphone.
To find out when your bus is due go to:
Photos and video
More places to visit in Edinburgh
- Cramond Island – Edinburgh: Complete Visitor GuideSituated just over 3/4 of a mile into the Firth of Forth, Cramond Island is a tidal landmass located close the village of Cramond near Edinburgh.
- Edinburgh Butterfly and Insect World: Complete Visitor GuideEdinburgh Butterfly World is a fascinating tourist attraction on the southern outskirts of Edinburgh that showcases some rather incredible, beautiful, and very creepy-crawly insects and reptiles from across the globe.
- The Scotch Whisky Experience – Edinburgh: Complete Visitor GuideIf you’re embarking on a visit to Edinburgh then your trip won’t be complete without a visit to The Scotch Whisky Experience, located just a short walk from Edinburgh Castle Esplanade on the Royal Mile.
- The Royal Yacht Britannia – Edinburgh: Complete Visitor GuideThe Royal Yacht Britannia is the former royal yacht of HM Queen Elizabeth II which now takes pride of place at the Ocean Terminal shopping centre at Leith in Edinburgh. Over the course of her working life Britannia was the official residence of the Royal Family and sailed over one million miles around the world.
- The Scott Monument – Edinburgh: Complete Visitor GuideIn the centre of Princes Street gardens, not far from Waverley train station, stands one of the grandest man-made landmarks in Europe – the 200-foot tall Scott Monument.