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The Royal Highland Show: Best Summer Festival

Events — By Christina Maria Paschyn on June 6, 2011 at 9:06 am

Edinburgh is renowned for its summer festival season. Each year thousands of tourists flock to the capital of Scotland for the city’s various performing arts festivals, including the hilarious Fringe Festival and the exquisite Edinburgh International Festival. But while these events are worth the trip, they mostly involve just sitting around watching others get their groove on.

The Royal Highland Show, on the other hand, is a gem of a festival that many tourists don’t know about; moreover it’s one that actively encourages public participation! At the Royal Highland show, from June 23-26th, you’ll get the chance to celebrate all the best Scotland has to offer in food, farming and rural life through the festival’s many zany games, workshops, concerts and animal displays. From falconry demonstrations to ceilidh dancing to cooking classes, this 171-year-old festival is an utterly fun educational experience, perfect for families with young kids. So get off your seats and get ready to get your hands dirty at Scotland’s largest outdoor festival!

The Royal Highland Show: A breath of country life

For hands-on entertainment, visit the country sports and rural skills stands, where you can try your luck at fly fishing, falcon taming, coracle building and wood turning. Get trained in the art of wildlife photography, or for a more odd-ball experience, why not take  a class in bagpipe making?

If you’d rather laugh until your sides split, head to the Quack Commandos showcase, where a highly-trained border collie will shepherd adorable ducklings over an obstacle course!

Lots of games to join: jump in for a spot of tug of war!

The Royal Highland Show is a haven for foodies; every year the festival offers cooking classes and demonstrations from some of Scotland’s most celebrated chefs. This year the show welcomes, among others, Lady Claire Macdonald, an award-winning chef and author of several bestselling cookbooks.

From haggis to souffles, who knows what you’ll learn to make, but the results are guaranteed to be delicious. If you’d rather not spend the day in front of a hot stove, stroll by the drink and food stands instead for special tastings and samples. Bring a grocery bag – the country’s main supermarkets will be there to give away food produced by local farmers.

Channel your inner chef

As for the kiddies, they will be blown away by the Highland Hall – the mecca of all petting zoos. It will feature some 1500 sheep, 1000 cattle, nearly 3000 horses, 100 or so goats, and more than 500 kinds of birds. And at the Discovery Zone, your tots can milk a cow and learn how to make their own ice cream.

If you’d rather see them break a sweat, watch the daredevil antics of the Scottish cycling stunt team as they perform magnificent feats of balance. They’ll even let your kids have a go – if you can muster the courage to let them try!

For something truly out of the ordinary, let your kids “walk on water” – they can climb into a giant hamster ball and walk across a nearby loch. As you can imagine, this is one of the more popular activities of the day, so stop by it first.

You know you were always jealous of your hamster!

But wait, there’s more! Throughout the festival’s four short days there will be live music (including a performance by Super Trooper, Scotland’s best Abba tribute band), Celtic dancing, and lots and lots of shopping (from food to clothing and even highland art). So buy your tickets now, this is an event not to be missed. You’ll never feel more Scottish in your life!

Earlybird tickets cost £22. Children 15 or under get in free! For more information, visit The Royal Highland Show website.

[Image Credits: All courtesy of The Royal Highland Show]

Tags: "Edinburgh country life", "Edinburgh outdoor festival", "Edinburgh Royal Highland Show Walk on Water", "Edinburgh Royal Highland Show", "Edinburgh rural", "Edinburgh Super Trooper", "Quack Commandos", "RHS Hamster ball, "Royal Highland Show 2011", Lady Claire Macdonald
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