Annual showcase of ‘best of British’ farming set to open for three days of agricultural excellence

The curtain is set to rise on three days of agricultural and countryside excellence when the 158th Great Yorkshire Show opens its gates tomorrow (Tuesday). More than 130,000 visitors are expected to flock to England’s premier agricultural show, which runs from Tuesday 12 - Thursday 14 July and takes place at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate.

NB: Images available to download at bottom of release (please see full captions below)

Caption for photo 1 & 2: ‘Betty’, a two-week old Gloucester Old Spot piglet came face-to-face with her chocolate counterpart as preparations for the opening of the England’s premier agricultural show continued apace. For the first time, visitors to the 158th Great Yorkshire Show will be able to enjoy tours of the pig lines organised by Driffield-based sisters and pig farmers Kate Moore and Vicky Scott. The first people signing up to the tours, being held on Wednesday at 11am and 2pm, and Thursday at 11am, will received chocolate Gloucester Old Spot pigs made by Bettys craft bakery in Harrogate. Visitors can sign up for the tours at the British Pig Centre on the showground. Two-week-old Betty is owned by 19-year-old Sarah Whitley of Summerbridge, Harrogate, who will be showing Gloucester Old Spots during the three days of the Great Yorkshire Show.

Caption for photo 3: Clydesdales Wull and Wallace met models preparing for the four-times daily fashion shows at the Skipton Building Society Fashion Pavilion at the Great Yorkshire Show.  Five floral dresses created by University of Huddersfield students have been shortlisted in a competition organised by one of the sponsors of the Great Yorkshire Show, Zoflora. The overall winner will be announced on the catwalk tomorrow. Model Kirsten Varley of Halifax, West Yorkshire, is pictured wearing an outfit inspired by the Yorkshire countryside, including a foxglove headpiece with a dress incorporating ideas of flowing water and green gardens, designed by Anne-Marie Stanworth, 20, and Kirsty Wise, 22. The horses travelled to the Great Yorkshire Show from Rothesay, on the Isle of Bute.

The rural extravaganza includes a mix of competitive classes for the country’s finest animals, more than 1,300 businesses selling everything from jacuzzis to tractors and packed programmes of entertainment.

It will be particularly special for the Show Director, Charles Mills, who for the first time is at the helm of the event, having been a cattle steward for many years. One of his roles will be to show the Defra Secretary of State, Liz Truss, around the event. Ms Truss has accepted an invitation to attend on the second day (Wednesday), and will see the best of British farming as well as meeting industry figures and the public.

“What a wonderful event the Great Yorkshire Show is, and I’m so proud to be the show director,“ said Charles. ”It will be a hectic three days because there is just so much to see and do. Whether you’re a farmer and showing livestock or wanting to know about the implications of Brexit, a fan of fashion or of food, or just enjoy a great day out, it’s the place to be.”

This year will see the newly-opened £11.5m exhibition hall, the size of three-and-a-half Olympic swimming pools, transformed into a virtual food emporium. The hall is the setting for a new food theatre, the Great Yorkshire Cheese and Dairy Show and the field to fork exhibition, Journey of Food.

Some 8,000 animals, from sheep to Shires, will be competing for the championship prizes and, with 2,000 entries in the show jumping and equine classes, the Great Yorkshire Show remains a top draw for competitors from across the UK. One of the highlights of the three days is the prestigious Ripon Select Foods Cock O’ The North Trophy, with a total prize fund of £24,000. Also in the Main Ring, the cattle parade, with superb British livestock, is one of the most impressive sights at any event.

Elsewhere the showcase of agricultural and country life will play host to a wide range of well-known celebrities, including BBC weatherman, Alex Deakin, celebrity chef Rosemary Shrager, BBC gardening expert Carol Klein and former gardener to HRH The Queen, Jim Buttress, and members of the cast from ITV’s Emmerdale.

There’s always standing-room only at the Skipton Building Society Fashion Pavilion, which hosts four-times-daily runway shows featuring clothing from iconic British brand Cordings of Piccadilly, menswear from Yorkshire tailors Brook Taverner including the iconic Great Yorkshire Show jacket, and garments created by students from Yorkshire colleges.

Around the showground, visitors will be able to watch in the new Garden Show area as each day students from York’s Askham Bryan College create a garden from scratch in just 45 minutes – before taking it down and doing it all over again a couple of hours later!

And for the first time, visitors are being given the chance to learn more about the different breeds of pigs and how they are cared for on British farms. On Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, sisters Kate Moore and Vicky Scott, who run a pig enterprise at Driffield, will be explaining the characteristics of the various breed of pigs at the event and also the different farming methods.

The Great Yorkshire Show is open daily from 7.30am to 7.30pm and until 6.30pm on Thursday.

  • Tickets are available on the gates.
  • Parking is free and extensive.
  • Dogs are not allowed on the showground. Be kind to your dog and leave it at home
  • For the latest information see


11 July 2016

Media contacts at the Great Yorkshire Show Press Office:

Judy Thompson, PR Manager, 01423 546215 or

Caroline Cook, Assistant Press Officer, 01423 546225 or

Penny Bell, PR Assistant, 01423 546104 or


About Us

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society was formed in 1837 and is a charity dedicated to supporting the farming industry and rural life. Best known for staging the annual Great Yorkshire Show, England's Premier Agricultural event and Countryside Live, it's sister event. The value of the support it provides to regional farming and countryside initiatives has risen year on year to nearly £1m. The 2016 Great Yorkshire Show runs from Tuesday 12 – Thursday 14 July and Countryside Live is on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 October 2016. Both take place at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, North Yorkshire and are flagship events for agriculture and rural life. The Society plays a key role in supporting rural life, through grants, sponsorships and has a very active education department which runs a wide range of activities aimed at increasing the knowledge of young people and their teachers about the important role farmers play in producing our food and caring for the landscape. An important date on the annual calendar is the annual Countryside Days event when thousands of primary school children use the showground as a resource for learning. In June 2009, the Society also opened its Regional Agricultural Centre at the showground which will be a focus for excellence for the industry, as well as the new home of the Society. Yorkshire Event Centre Limited (YEC) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Society and all YEC’s profits go to fund its charitable work. Who's Who in the Yorkshire Agricultural SocietyChairman: Simon TheakstonPresident: Sarah YorkPresident Elect: Lord MiddletonChief Executive: Nigel Pulling