Agricultural Shows in the Lake District

Herdwick Sheep

Agricultural shows have a long history in the UK. It is thought that the first show took place in Lancashire in 1768. Whilst early shows were a way of enabling farmers to showcase their livestock ready for market, they developed in the 19th century to become an important date on the rural social calendar. Although much of the focus still remained on the livestock, entertainment was added in the form of sports and competitions. As the shows grew bigger and more popular, traders soon realised that such events provided a captive audience, and market stalls became a feature.

Today there are over 150 agricultural shows across the UK each year. Some are extravagant three-day events complete with fairground rides and live music that draw in thousands of visitors. Others are quieter, often based in villages and smaller towns, with more traditional forms of entertainment.

Where to Find Agricultural Shows in the Lake District

Agriculture is a vital part of the Cumbrian economy, which is hardly surprising given the predominantly rural landscape. Farming is more than an industry here. For many people it is a way of life with many farmers still using traditional methods for managing their livestock, such as the hefting of Herdwick sheep. Consequently, agricultural shows play an important part in the Cumbrian economy, enabling farmers and traders to come together. As with shows elsewhere in the UK, these have also become important social events.

There are over 30 shows taking place each year in Cumbria and the Lake District of varying sizes. Whilst livestock judging is a key theme for almost all of these events, all of the shows listed here have something to attract wider audiences, whether it is market stalls, fairground rides, or sports competitions. Furthermore, most also have competitions in traditional Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling – a quirky sport that dates back to the Viking invasion of the UK.

Agricultural ShowLocationMonthWebsite2024
Country Fest, Crooklands Crooklands, LA7 June Website 1-2 June
Cumberland Show Dalston, CA4 June Website 8 June
Skelton Show Penrith, CA11 July Website 6 July
Penrith Show Penrith, CA10 July Website 20 July
Ulverston & North Lonsdale Show Ulverston, LA12 July Website 20 July
Coniston Country Fair Coniston, LA21 July Website 21 July
Ambleside Sports Ambleside, LA22 July Website 25 July
Westmorland Dales Festival Kirkby Stephen, CA17 July Website 27-28 July
Cartmel Show Cartmel, LA11 Aug Website 7 Aug
Cockermouth Show Cockermouth, CA13 Aug Website 3 Aug
Appleby Show Appleby, CA16 Aug Website 8 Aug
Dalston Show Dalston, CA5 Aug Website 10 Aug
Rydal Show Ambleside, LA22 Aug Website 15 Aug
Brough Agricultural Show Brough, CA17 Aug Website 15 Aug
Gosforth Show Gosforth, CA20 Aug Website 17 Aug
Rusland Show Rusland Valley, LA12 Aug Website 17 Aug
Lakeland Country Fair Torver, LA21 Aug Website 18 Aug
Hawkshead Show Hawkshead, LA22 Aug Website 20 Aug
Selside & Grayrigg Show Selside, LA8 Aug Website 22 Aug
Patterdale Dog Day Patterdale, CA11 Aug Website 24 Aug
Dufton Agricultural Show Dufton, CA16 Aug Website 31 Aug
Millom & Broughton Show Broughton, LA20 Aug Website 31 Aug
Grasmere Lakeland Sports & Show Grasmere, LA22 Aug Website 25 Aug
Kentmere Sheep Show Kentmere, LA8 Aug Website 25 Aug
Keswick Show Keswick CA12 Aug Website 26 Aug
Black Combe Country Fair Bootle, LA19 Aug Website 26 Aug
Ennerdale Show Kirkland, CA26 Aug Website 28 Aug
Hesket Newmarket Agricultural Show Dalston, CA5 Aug/Sept Website 31 Aug
Lowick Show Lowick, LA12 Sept Website 7 Sept
Loweswater Show Cockermouth, CA13 Sept Website 1 Sept
Westmorland County Show Crooklands, LA7 Sept Website 11-12 Sept
Eskdale Show Holmrook, CA19 Sept Website 28 Sept
Wasdale Head Show Wasdale Head, CA20 Oct Website 12 Oct
Buttermere Shepherd Meet & Show Cockermouth, CA13 Oct Website 27 Oct (TBC)

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Country Fest, Crooklands

Country fest is put on by the Westmorland County Agricultural Society in early June each year to celebrate rural life. This is the same society who puts on the Westmorland County Show later in the year in September. You can expect the usual agricultural and farming displays, along with craft & food marquees, and a dog show.

 

Cumberland Show

One of the biggest, and one of the oldest, the Cumberland County Show has taken place almost every year since the 1830s and draws thousands of visitors from across the county and beyond. Previously held at Carlisle Racecourse, the show moved to East Park in 2017. There is lots to see and do at this show for the whole family, with sheepdog trials, ferret displays, birds of prey displays, a petting zoo, craft and trading stalls, wrestling, vintage vehicle displays all packed into the showground – plus lots more!

 

Skelton Show

  • Location: Old Park, Hutton-in-the Forest, Nr Skelton, CA11 9TH
  • When: July
  • More Information: skeltonshow.com

For a small village show, this one certainly punches well above its weight, attracting around 10,000 visitors in recent years. Now held in the grounds of the beautiful estate of Hutton-In-The-Forest, the show originated in the small nearby village of Skelton in the late 1800s and has grown to become an important date on the agricultural show calendar. Along with traditional livestock judging competitions the show features live music, trade stands, a crafts tent, a bar, vintage vehicles, and of course, wrestling.

 

Penrith Show

  • Location: Brougham Hall Farm, Penrith, CA10 2DE
  • When: July
  • More Information: penrithshow.co.uk

The first Penrith Show took place in 1834. Since then, it’s gone from strength to strength, taking place every year on the fourth Saturday of each July. Around 10,000 people visit the show each year, and whilst the Penrith Agricultural Society is keen to keep the emphasis on agriculture, the show has lots to attract a wider audience. There are market stalls, vintage vehicles, show jumping, dry stone walling demonstrations and competitions, and even a rabbit show. Wrestling makes an appearance, and there’s a food hall and craft tent.

 

Ulverston and North Lonsdale Agricultural Show

This is a great event for the whole family, usually taking place during the first week of the school summer holidays. Along with more traditional aspects of agricultural shows, such as livestock judging the Ulverston and North Lonsdale show is packed with things to do. There are hands on experiences, such as a mini petting zoo, plus entire zone for entertaining children. Cookery demonstrations take place in the food hall where you will find a plethora of local goods to try and buy, and there’s live entertainment with comedy and music.

 

Coniston Country Fair

Overlooked by the Old Man of Coniston and situated on the shores of Coniston Water, the Coniston Show has a truly spectacular location. You will find everything you might expect at this traditional Lakeland show, including livestock competitions, sporting events, such as wrestling and falconry displays.

The show’s unique selling point is the six-mile fell-running race that takes participants up to the summit of the Old Man and back. There are bouncy castles, a children’s pet show, an egg throwing competition and much more for the little ones – plus plenty of trade stands to browse through.

 

Ambleside Sports

With a focus on traditional sports rather than livestock, Ambleside Sports is a quirky agricultural show that takes place on the last Thursday of every July. Competitions are held throughout the day in various disciplines, including hound trailing, fell running, Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, track racing and cycling.

Children are encouraged to enter, with categories for various ages and additional fun races for younger children. When not watching the racing, there is plenty to keep spectators entertained with a large trade area, fairground rides, a circus skills workshop, live music, a climbing wall, and the all important bar and food court.

 

Westmorland Dales Festival

The Westmorland Dales Festival normally takes place toward the end of July, celebrating landscape, heritage and people in and around Kirby Stephen and the Westmorland Dales. Events typically include guided walks, tours of the Westmorland Dales, craft & food markets, live music, entertainment for the family, and much more.

 

Cartmel Show

Cartmel is famous for horse-racing, so it’s unsurprising that horses are a predominate feature at the Cartmel Show with show jumping, carriage driving, and numerous classes for horse judging forming a significant part. In addition, there is livestock judging for other breeds of animal, a dog show, a mounted (on horseback) fancy dress parade, and, of course, wrestling. There is entertainment for children, food and craft stalls, and you could even learn a bit of dancing, weaving, or stone masonry!

 

Cockermouth Show

  • Location: The Fitz, Low Road, Cockermouth, CA13 0HH
  • When: July
  • More Information: cockermouthshow.co.uk

The Cockermouth Show takes place each year at the end of July, and has done so since 1849. It’s a popular event with locals and those from further afield, bringing thousands into the small west Cumbrian town. Livestock is on display, alongside farm vehicles both vintage and new. There are trade stands galore, show jumping, wrestling and you can even try riding a rodeo bull. There are fairground rides and bouncy castles for children, and plenty of food stands dotted around the showground.

 

Appleby Show

  • Location: Hanging Shaw Fields, Long Marton Road, Appleby, CA16 6JL
  • When: August
  • More Information: appleby-show.co.uk

The Appleby Show is held by the Appleby Agricultural Society and is usually on the second Saturday of August. Sheep, cattle, poultry, vintage machinery, dogs, children’s pets, produce, handicrafts and horticultural exhibitors are just some of the many things you’ll find at this classic country show.

 

Dalston Show

  • Location: Village Show Field, Dalston, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA5 7QB
  • When: August
  • More Information: dalstonshow.co.uk

The Dalston Show is a true agricultural show with horses, livestock, and sheep all competing in the Industrial categories. There are usually around 80 trade stands, as well, with plenty to eat and drink from local caterers and specialty bars. Additionally, there will be plenty of entertainment with events, such as ferret racing, falconry displays, gun dog demonstrations and displays from the famous Cumberland & Westmorland Wrestling.

 

Rydal Sheepdog Trials & Hound Show

  • Location: Rydal Park, Ambleside, LA22 0PL
  • When: August
  • More Information: rydalshow.co.uk

Smaller than many of the other agricultural shows, the Rydal Sheepdog and Hound Show takes a more traditional approach. The show started in 1901 when a local landowner created a sheepdog trial competition.

Today, sheepdog trials are the main focus of the Rydal Show, and are accompanied by a judging competition for hounds. The annual Shepherds Crooks and Sticks Competition is also held at the show, and there are a number of trade stalls to peruse. Hot food is available and there is a licensed bar.

 

Brough Agricultural Show

  • Location: Popping Lane, Kaber, Brough, CA17
  • When: August
  • More Information: broughshow.co.uk

The Brough Agricultural Show takes place each August in Brough, outside of Kirkby Stephen. This is another classic agricultural show that gives awards for livestock and horses, as well as horticultural awards and awards for photography, art and handicraft. You’ll be able to admire fell ponies, dale ponies, various dog breeds, with pony riding classes for kids and a driving obstacle course.

 

Gosforth Show

  • Location: Gosforth Showfield, Seascale, CA20 1HT
  • When: August
  • More Information: gosforthshow.co.uk

The first Gosforth show took place in 1876. This small village in West Cumbria sees hundreds of visitors return each year to this quirky event where you can see dancing and racing sheep. Along with livestock competitions, there are show jumping demonstrations, Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, sporting events for children, a tug-of-war battle, live music, and plenty of trade stands selling a variety of goods and food.

 

Rusland Show

  • Location: Whitestock Meadow, Rusland Valley, LA12 8LB
  • When: August
  • More Information: ruslandshow.org

The Rusland Show is located in the Rusland Valley, which is located in between Coniston Water & Windermere and is put on by the Rusland Horticultural Society. The show solely concentrates on home horticulture, flowers, vegetables, handicraft, painting, photography, etc, rather than the usual livestock judging. There are also fell races, craft & trade marquees, tug-of-war, as well as plenty of other activities to keep the whole family entertained.

 

Lakeland Country Fair

The Lakeland Country Fair takes place in Torver, near Coniston, overlooking the gorgeous Coniston fells, and includes a wide range of events and activities. The main event includes a Fell Pony display with various dog shows, wrestling, horn blowing, fell races for adults and juniors, and more. The show features ample trade stands, as well as a children's area with a bouncy castle and trampoline in addition to a bar for refreshments and a bbq.

 

Hawkshead Show

  • Location: Hawkshead Hall Farm, Hawkshead, LA22 0NN
  • When: August
  • More Information: hawksheadshow.co.uk

Not many people realise that Beatrix Potter, author of Peter Rabbit and other children’s fairy tales, was also an award winning sheep farmer. Potter spent many years living close to the quaint village of Hawkshead, and regularly entered the show’s judging competitions for her livestock. She often won and later would become a judge.

Today, the show still has an extensive selection of classes for livestock competitions, and there is plenty for members of the public to see. There are hound trails, show jumping, and dog displays. You will also find horticultural displays here, as well as local crafts, plus a good number of trade stalls.

 

Selside & Grayrigg Show

The Selside & Grayrigg Show is a small agricultural show that takes place each August with farmers showing off their livestock and competing in various Industrial classes. The show puts on various events throughout the day, including events, such as young farmers sheep & cattle classes, children’s races, a pet show, stick judging, and much more. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for information as and when it becomes available.

 

Patterdale Dog Day

  • Location: King George V Playing Field, Patterdale, CA11 0PJ
  • When: August
  • More Information: patterdaledogday.com

Patterdale Dog Day takes place on the Saturday August bank holiday weekend and centres around dogs with open sheep dog trial competitions. Other events include fell races with a race for children and a men-only cookery competition. The event normally has a craft tent, trade stands, kids trampolines, refreshments and a beer tent.

 

Dufton Agricultural Show

  • Location: Dufton Show Field, Dufton, CA16 6DA
  • When: August
  • More Information: duftonshow.co.uk

Dufton Agricultural Show, also known as 'The Fellside Royal', is an agricultural show that takes place toward the end of August on the Dufton Show Field. There are sheep & cattle displays, sheepdog trials, pony rides, vintage vehicles, horticulture, produce & handicraft, children's sports & competitions, such as a fancy dress competition, a fell race and much more.

 

Millom & Broughton Agricultural Show

The Millom & Broughton Agricultural Show is located near Broughton-in-Furness, which is marked on a map on the show's official website. The show includes livestock and industrial exhibits and judging, as well as Westmorland & Cumberland wrestling, vintage machinery, entertainment for children, as well as local crafts, trade and refreshment stands.

 

Grasmere Sports

  • Location: The Showfield, Stock Lane, Grasmere, LA22 9SL
  • When: August
  • More Information: grasmeresports.com

Different to most of the other agricultural shows that take place in Cumbria each year, the name of this event gives a good clue to its focus. Grasmere Sports primarily features sporting events, but still features many aspects that are found in elsewhere in agricultural shows, such as hound trails, and sheepdog demonstrations.

Livestock judging is largely absent, replaced instead with a selection of sporting activities such as track racing, tug-of-war, mountain bike racing, and fell running, with different categories for children and adults. The first Grasmere Sports took place over 150 years ago, when shepherds and farm workers attending the local sheep fair, attempted to demonstrate their skills through wrestling and running. Today it’s a popular event, and in addition to the sporting activities, there is live music and market stalls.

 

Kentmere Sheep Show

The Kentmere Sheep Show is normally held on the August Bank holiday Sunday. The show centres around sheep with awards given for various classes. The event normally starts around 1pm with children’s sports and a fun dog show taking place in the early afternoon. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for all the latest details and event information.

 

Keswick Show

  • Location: Pump Field, Braithwaite Old Bridge, Braithwaite, Keswick, CA12 5TD
  • When: August
  • More Information: keswickshow.co.uk

First held in 1860, the Keswick Show takes place every August bank holiday Monday. One popular draw of the show is the array of horses performing stunning tricks in the show-jumping arena. This is a large show with thousands of visitors each year, and there is plenty for the whole family to enjoy.

You will find livestock competitions, Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, sheepdog demonstrations, trade stands, a craft tent selling locally produced goods, and a huge children’s area with activities for all ages, all located on the edge of the pretty town.

 

Black Combe Country Fair

The picturesque Eskdale valley is the setting each August bank holiday Monday for the Black Combe Country Fair. This is a popular event, attracting a few thousand attendees each year. The fair originally started around 50 years ago as sheepdog trials, but grew to encompass other activities.

Today, the event has numerous classes for dog show awards, as well as dog racing, a vintage vehicle display, fell pony rides, and a fell race. There are activities for children, as well as a good number of trade stands, food stalls and a beer tent.

 

Ennerdale Show

  • Location: Kirkland Leaps, Kirkland, Frizington, CA26 3XZ
  • When: August
  • More Information: ennerdaleshow.co.uk

Now in its 110th year, the Ennerdale Show had an intriguing start, when at the end of the 19th century a very cold winter saw the Ennerdale lake completely freeze over. The cold snap meant that children at the local school struggled with a lack of heating, and a group of local farmers came together to try and raise money to support the school.

They came up with the idea of a flower show, which was a great hit, and repeated annually. Livestock competitions were later added, and the show has (with the exception of periods during the World Wars) continued each year since. All of the traditional Cumbrian show features are here, including livestock shows, wrestling, vintage vehicles, hound trails, children’s sports, and a fell race.

 

Hesket Newmarket Agricultural Show

The Hesket Newmarket Agricultural Show normally takes place on the first Saturday after the August Bank holiday Monday. Dogs, horses and sheep will be on display with local craft tents, terrier racing, Cumberland & Westmorland wrestling, tug-of-war, vintage vehicles, photography & art, and plenty more where that came from.

 

Lowick Show

The Lowick Show takes place each year on the first Saturday of September. The classic agricultural show displays livestock, horses, and home produce with categories and awards for each. You’ll also find a craft marquee featuring local crafts that you can purchase, as well as entertainment for the whole family.

 

Loweswater Show

  • Location: Lorton Valley, Cockermouth CA13 9UU
  • When: September
  • More Information: loweswatershow.com

The Loweswater Show typically takes place on the first Saturday of September. Attractions include hound trails, wrestling, carriage driving, morris dancers, sheep dog trials, and fell races. Classes include horses, dogs, sheep, goats, poultry, vintage vehicles, and things like baked goods, photography, flowers, etc.

 

Westmorland County Show

  • Location: Westmorland County Showground, Lane Farm, Crooklands, Nr Milnthorpe, LA7 7NH
  • When: September
  • More Information: westmorlandshow.co.uk

From humble beginnings in 1799, making it the oldest of Cumbria’s agricultural shows, the Westmorland Show has grown steadily over the years. It’s one of the most popular, reflected in the 30,000 people who visit the show annually, and in the national vote that saw it come near the top of the UK’s favourite agricultural shows.

Livestock in numerous categories are judged and paraded here, and there is show jumping, a hound parade, bird of prey displays and even working ferrets. Away from the animals, you will find a number of craft and shopping marquees, as well as a marquee dedicated to traditional crafts, such as yarn spinning. Of course, no Cumbrian agricultural show is complete without Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, and championship titles in the sport are awarded here.

 

Eskdale Show

  • Location: Near King George IV Inn, Holmrook, CA19 1TS
  • When: September
  • More Information: eskdaleshow.co.uk

Eskdale Show usually takes place at the end of September each year and is the premier agricultural show for Herdwick sheep. Other areas of interest include poultry, vintage exhibits, foxhounds, terriers, children’s races, fell races, Cumberland & Westmorland wrestling, puppy trails, with plenty of trade stands and craft tents.

 

Wasdale Head Show & Shepherd’s Meet

  • Location: Show Field, Wasdale Head, Seascale, CA20 1EX
  • When: October
  • More Information: wasdaleheadshow.co.uk

The Wasdale Head Show & Shepherd’s Meet is one of the more traditional agricultural shows. The name “Shepherd’s Meet” and date in mid-October reflects the tradition of shepherds getting together at the end of the main farming season to discuss their trade and to enjoy some social activities. Prizes are awarded to sheep and sheepdogs in various categories.

There is also a Shepherd’s Crook competition where intricately carved crooks are judged on their design. Anyone attending can enter the “Best Shepherd’s Boots” competition, and those with fine beards may like to enter the “Best Beard” contest. There are also trade stands, vintage vehicles and a craft barn.

 

Buttermere Shepherd Meet & Show

The Buttermere Shepherd Meet & Show is a small agricultural show that typically takes place on the last Sunday of October in the field adjoining Croft House Café. Fell races are organised by the Cumberland Fell Runners with the normal agricultural classes and awards for Herdwick sheep from local parishes and working shepherd’s dogs from all areas.