If you’ve never seen a tractor run before, then you’re missing a treat. Especially if you’ve got young children, I definitely recommend you want to find one locally and make the effort to add it to your calendar or part of your Christmas traditions. After all, tractors and fairy lights, make for great entertainment. Not all tractor runs are in the Christmas run up, those are generally the ones we’ve seen though.
Why you should visit an agricultural show
What is a tractor run?
A tractor run is where a large number of farmers converge in one area, and drive around an agreed route through towns, countryside and more, generally for charity. Christmas tractor runs have the tractors decorated with lights. Usually the aim is to raise money for charity. They range from small events, through to huge ones all over the UK. So there’s bound to be one somewhere near you.
After the route is finished, all the tractors head back to the starting congregation point. This is quite often open to the public afterwards, so they can get up close to the tractors. Sometimes organisers also run raffles and sell food at the end gathering for extra fundraising.
Where to find out about local tractor runs?
The best place is Facebook, or any other local networking group online like Next Door or local newspapers. They tend to be annual events, so keep a watch out for them, or ask a friendly farmer if you know one. Ours is run by an agricultural contractor, but many others are organised by Young Farmers Clubs (YFC).
They’re not just held in rural areas – many will visit town routes as well as around villages.
Where can you watch one?
Routes and schedules are usually put online a week or so in advance, so sign up to any newsletters, or look out for the events on Facebook.
To watch one, you’ll just need to find a suitable place en route. Bear in mind they can be busy, and you’ll need to park (if you’re driving to the location) out of the way, and find a safe place to stand. We’ve stood at the gates of a recreation ground, on a path through a village several times, and this year we decided to try going into town as the timings worked better for us. We also have a smaller one held locally that drives past our farm, so we can stand in the driveway and watch out for farmers we know. Larger villages and towns will get extremely busy, so either arrive there early to mark your viewing spot, or head somewhere quieter.
If you’re with young children, make sure you’re somewhere with a large path, or slightly back from the road. Tractors are large vehicles and can come quite close to the edge of the road. Keep an eye on your kids!
What do you need to watch a tractor run?
A donation. Tractor runs are usually fundraising events, and you should see people coming round with donation buckets. I always feel guilty because it looks like I don’t pay, but I prefer to donate online then I can gift aid the donation and the charity gets more money. It will depend on how your local organisation runs it.
Waterproofs, warm clothes, hat, gloves. You’ll be standing around for a while, in all sorts of weather, so dress up warm, especially if you’ve got young children with you or it’s an evening tractor run. If you’re going to the end point to see the tractors, wear wellies or other suitable shoes, as this could be on a field or in a muddy yard.
Drinks. We took hot chocolate in a flask for N this year which he liked, and we saw quite a few families sharing round hot drinks to their younger children as well.
If you want to check out what it’s like at a tractor run, you can check out some of my photos from our local Christmas one this year. Each year, the decorations get more over the top, and its great to see everyone taking part. The Banbury tractor run has been running for quite a few years. We try to go and watch it, and spot anyone we know who’s driving in it. There’s also a couple of photos from one that goes past our farm in May.
These places have also done tractor runs this year, some are new, some have been running for a few years. So keep an eye out in your local area next year for any around you.
Tractor runs around the UK
- Liverpool – Festive Farmers Christmas Convoy, organised by OllyBlogs on Youtube, in aid of Alder Hey.
- Turton YFC Charity Christmas tractor run
- Notts YFC Santa tractor run
- Louth Charity Christmas tractor run
- Lutterworth, Leicestershire – Archers Festive Tractor run
- Banbury – RC Bakers Tractor Run
- Weald of Kent YFC tractor run
- Hertfordshire YFC Farmers on Christmas lights tour
- Anstey YFC annual tractor run – around Exmoor.
- Tewkesbury YFC Christmas run
- Penybont YFC After Dark tractor run
- Welshpool Illuminated Tractor run – next year’s date is set for 10 December 2023.
- Pontfaen YFC Illuminated Tractor and 4×4 Run – this year’s route as an example
- Neath & District YFC Illuminate tractor run
- Frome Young Farmers Club – December (day time)
- Norfolk Boxing Day Tractor Rally – vintage tractors, daytime convoy.
- Orkney – usually around September time
- Welsh National Tractor Road Run (WNTRR) – June
Read more about other more unusual Christmas activities to do with your children.
Tractor Dates 4 U Facebook page tends to have lots of dates included, although largely Welsh focused.
Let me know if there’s an annual tractor run near you that I’ve missed.