Sometimes you make the decision to visit somewhere and it turns out to be the most random event you’ve ever been to. Most recent visit somewhere like this was to Lamport Hall near Northampton for their Festival of Country Life.
A decision was a toss up between visiting there, a place I’ve never heard of before, or going to the larger Country Show at Highclere Castle. But N had disappeared early that morning onto the farm, and wouldn’t be seen for a while, so I didn’t want to travel further and for longer, and get caught up in too many crowds. So Lamport Hall it was.
The hall itself looks beautiful but only opens in the afternoons on certain days and we knew we wouldn’t be hanging around that long. Maybe a possibility for another day out for myself without N. We arrived just after opening and there was a short queue for tickets, although parking wasn’t a problem. It wasn’t too expensive to get in and then we were left to our own devices to find our way around.
And this is where it became a little bit minimal. There was no map, no signs, no pointing where you needed to go, no schedule. Or if there was we totally missed it.
When we walked in we entered a beautiful courtyard with flowers for sale, the tea room, and in each stable box different crafts people and charities selling their wares. Including a man dressed up in a Roman centurion outfit collecting for charity – I’m not sure quite what the roman outfit was about.
We continued walking through because N didn’t want to look at any of these and arrived next to the Museum of Rural Life area. This is quite interesting in the old farm buildings, with old machinery and steam engines running. There’s plenty to learn about here but N as normal, went zooming by. I guess for him it’s more of the same as we have been to quite a few farming places recently.
Then there were a few stalls selling what looked a bit like junk. And that seemed to be it. I was a little confused because we paid for an agricultural show and rural festival, and it was a bit like a jumble sale. We continued walking in the hope we might find things other than a few tents with people sitting outside.
Once we found the county rally field it was more like a show that we expected. Although more a bit random. There was no order to anything it seemed, we just wondered in different directions in the hope that we might find things that we should or could be looking at. We found chainsaw people sitting relaxing but I presume they were people to watch once they got going. We found a lot of caravans which looked like they belonged to people working at the show who’d stayed overnight, but actually turned out to be part of the with awning displays in the windows. Very 70s style.
Luckily we found the archery guy in the corner of the top field, way out of the way of anyone else. I dread to think how much, or how little money, he made given the location and lack of a map or signage, but N had a go and did pretty well.
We spotted 2 fairground rides but they were too young for N. And behind them a jeep track. Think like the go-karts they have at shows, but like US military jeeps. N loved it, and for £5 he got a good length of time on them going round the track.
Everywhere you went there were steam engines either on display or driving past. We also spotted a row of lorries and recovery vehicles parked up, and a group of army vehicles. There were plenty of vintage tractors on display including in the showing ring when we walked past. The MC was interviewing various tractor about their vehicles. There was a real range of makes and ages.
One thing I found quite interesting, with the dairy stand we could see what it looked like milking a dairy cow before all the modern facilities. There was also a blacksmith presumably showing what he did but he was taking a break when we walk past.
We also found a display of an old threshing machine and tractor going round the field. We’ve seen this kind of display before at Countryfile live so N wasn’t that interested. I only the other hand find it really relaxing watching vintage vehicles at work.
The rest of the show was a little non-existent. If you’re interested in steam engines there was a lot to see, and obviously plenty of vintage tractors. But if you’re looking for great shopping opportunities you would have been disappointed once you are actually in the show field. Around the stables and courtyard of Lamport Hall, there were more artists and crafts people selling their wares, but in the actual show area itself it was a bit disappointing. There wasn’t really anything for children either.
We decided on a pizza for lunch from one of the stands. We were able to choose half and half toppings as N always wants pepperoni and I was looking forward to ham and pineapple. For £8 for a pizza to share it was a lot better value than buying two burgers for about 12 quid. The pizza was delicious and then you enjoyed watching it being prepped and cooked in the pizza oven. As the weather was a bit drizzly on and off while we were there it did mean not many people were sitting down to eat so there were plenty of tables for us to choose from. That’s not always the case at many rural shows where often you find yourself sitting on the floor in a random spot.
Obviously a day out can’t go by without stopping for an ice cream at this time of year. If you’ve had a busy day, an ice cream makes everything seem so much better and relaxed.
For £20 for the two of us it wasn’t a bad day out just a little odd the way the show had been set up and run. Or maybe we’re just used to much bigger and more organised shows.
While we saw lots of bitty areas of different agricultural equipment, it mainly seemed to be steam engines and other vintage vehicles. It would have been nice to see a map of the different areas, and a schedule of what was going on in the ring. We walked past a couple of times, but it just seemed to be the vintage tractors in there the whole time we were there.
Have you been to any slightly odd days out recently?