A celebration of food, countryside and agriculture with something for everyone
The Great Yorkshire Show is an iconic three-day event and one of the biggest agricultural events in the English calendar. Every year, more than 130,000 visitors and over 8,500 animals converge on the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate to compete, socialise and celebrate.
The Show is a celebration of food, countryside and agriculture with something for everyone of every age. In the judging rings, thousands of animals will compete from cattle to sheep, pigs to pigeons and the Show finishes with one of the most prestigious show jumping classes in the country, the Cock O’The North competition.
From cutting edge farming equipment and machinery to displays from big name brands, this is the place where deals are done and the latest ranges are showcased.
While the show has farming at its heart, there’s also entertainment, shopping, live music and a professional fashion show, including a celebrity special.
Great Yorkshire Show History
When the Great Yorkshire Show was conceived in 1837, Queen Victoria was on the throne and Britain was in the grip of the Industrial Revolution. A group of agriculturalists, led by the third Earl Spencer, met in York to discuss the future of farming and decided to form the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.
It had five aims to improve and develop agriculture. The first was to run a major agricultural event which led to the first Yorkshire Show the following year in 1838.
In its early days, the Show, which gained the “Great” in 1843, was peripatetic, with various towns bidding to stage it. It was held annually until its cancellation in 1915 due to the First World War. It wasn’t held again until 1920 when it moved to various locations until war engulfed the country once again in 1940.
When the Show resumed in 1949, the Society’s thoughts turned to purchasing a permanent showground. A year later the last “roaming” show was held in Malton and the Great Yorkshire Show became the first in the UK to buy a permanent showground.
The 200-acre site overlooking Rudding Park, Harrogate was bought for £16,500 and in 1951 nearly 54,000 visitors attended the first Show at its new home which is where it remains to this today.
Over the years, the Showground has grown and developed. In 1992 after the sale of land to Sainsbury’s, it was decided to stay on the Harrogate site and an ambitious £10m re-development programme got underway.
To fund the aims of the YAS, first-class facilities were developed on the Showground which could be operated commercially. The first project was Pavilions of Harrogate which was built in 1996 and now hosts nearly 600 events a year. The Yorkshire Event Centre has had a recent £11m refurbishment and is now the biggest single event space in the North East. The onsite café and farm shop Fodder was built in 2009 and supports over 350 Yorkshire producers. Harrogate Caravan Park is attracting more and more holidaymakers since opening in 2014 and enjoyed a record-breaking season in 2018.
All profits generated by all the Showground businesses fund the work of the YAS. This includes organising the Great Yorkshire Show, Springtime Live and Countryside Live.