Your guide to Countryfile Live 2017: what's on and highlights not to miss

BBC Countryfile Live returns to Blenheim Palace 3-6 August for a spectacular family day out to celebrate the countryside. Hosted by the stars of Countryfile, here are some of the unmissable highlights for 2017...

15th June 2017
Village green

The Countryfile Theatre 

Countryfile Theatre

Join the Countryfile presenters for a spectacular family feel-good show, where you’ll get unprecedented access behind the scenes. There’ll be plenty of surprises along the way, from acrobats to animal antics. Matt, John, Adam, Ellie, Anita, Tom and Charlotte will take to the stage to share their passion for the nation’s favourite programme. Which places are closest to their hearts? What’s the most remarkable story they’ve ever heard? And what’s it like to be on screen week in, week out? The opportunity to book a seat is part of your ticket but seats are limited, so book early.

Eat and drink

food tasting

Choose from dishes and drinks from across Britain and around the world. Last year, the cider brews and street food were among the big hits. With hundreds of producers exhibiting their delicious food and drink ranges, the hardest decision will be what to choose. Plus, the Great British Ice Cream Parlour is back by popular demand. Britain’s finest ice cream producers will set up their inviting stalls to offer a mouth-watering choice of ice creams. Could you be tempted to try the gin and tonic sorbet or goat cheese ice cream? 

Farming in action

Matt Baker

A fascinating and interactive display of modern machinery takes you through a year on an arable farm, from ploughing and sowing to crop protection and harvesting. Witness a series of different crops – from wheat to potatoes – travel all the way from field to fork and gain a deeper understanding of where the foods that we buy in the supermarket come from. As well as the very latest machinery, you can enjoy a nostalgic look at tractors and other farm vehicles of yesteryear with the Thames Valley Vintage Machinery and the Ferguson Heritage Trust. 

Village Green 

Village green

The show’s Village Green will mirror the magic of Britain’s village and community traditions. Here you’ll find the bandstand, with brass and silver bands providing stirring accompaniment to the fun, while country dancing and Morris teams will demonstrate their skills. You can take part too, and it would be churlish to miss out on a May Pole dance… There will be plenty of traditional games to play, including a skittle alley, hoopla and even a croquet court. You might need a rest from all the action, so enjoy an afternoon tea with a huge choice of tempting cakes – or cool down with a delicious ice cream from the parlour. 

Passion for British livestock

Cow

Sponsored by the Real Muck Boot Company, this area features some of Britain’s most famous rare-breed livestock as part of Adam’s Farm, and the great man and other farmers will be on hand to answer your questions and show off the animals. The arena will stage talks and demonstrations including livestock judging, auctioneering and even pig agility! Learn how cattle are bred to produce milk and beef and see a live milking parlour, as well as cheese- and butter-making. The mini farm offers children the chance to handle some
smaller animals, such as rabbits and baby goats and pigs. 

Dog Arena

Dog

Former Blue Peter favourite Peter Purves returns to compere the dog arena, sponsored by Skinners, and will provide insight into a veritable carnival of canines. Watch dog agility teams perform extraordinary feats of doggy acrobatics. You and your dog can also take part in training sessions with expert dog behaviourist Adam Fehmi – even experienced dog owners will find his top tips useful. 

The Big Barn

Big barn

Go behind the scenes of some of your favourite BBC shows at the Big Barn, sponsored by Kuoni, which features interviews and discussions with the personalities and the producers. You will get the chance to talk to some very familiar faces and learn various fascinating trade secrets – expect a lot of laughter and even a few surprises.

Central Ring 

Dog and duck show

See astonishingly obedient gun dogs put through their paces in a range of scenarios and then laugh at the dog and duck-herding feature – where sheep dogs of all breeds attempt to round up a group of highly individual Indian runner ducks. The action takes to the air too, with falconry displays culminating in eagles and vultures flying together. And then come the truly thrilling competitive elements. Terrier racing sees a group of terriers chase a lure around the ring, jumping over hay bales along the way; and in the Lamb National, knitted versions of the Countryfile presenters sit atop live Herdwick sheep as they race around an exacting course. 

Wildlife Zone 

Countryfile Presenter

Naturalist and Countryfile presenter Ellie will be on hand at times each day to talk about her passion for nature and introduce some of the elements in this much-expanded section. Located on both sides of the lake and linked by a pontoon walkway, the Wildlife Zone will have an immersive wildlife garden with a trail full of discoveries for the family. Hear about conservation projects from experts, learn country skills such as scything and spinning, discover bee-keeping and be inspired to create a wildlife garden of your own. Go pond dipping, make nestboxes and join in a host of other wildlife-friendly projects. 

Craven Arms pub garden

Craven arms pub garden

The Craven Arms Pub Garden offers a traditional village pub feel in the heart of the show. This is the spot to unwind in the sun while trying out local craft ales or other refreshing drinks in a friendly atmosphere. You’ll be entertained by songs and performances from artists on the BBC Introducing Stage, while children can enjoy dodgems and other games. Tractor Ted will be making a welcome reappearance and the hilarious dancing sheep show is sure to be another highlight. 

The Waterside

water area

Learn coarse fishing skills with the Angling Trust and try to catch a fish yourself. Or take to the water in canoes and kayaks. There will also be demos of coracle building and even races using these ancient craft. 

National Trust Theatre

presenter

Hosted by Countryfile’s Tom Heap and Charlotte Smith (also of Radio 4’s Farming Today) this will feature talks with some of the top names associated with the countryside. Book a place for an audience with the stars or take part in debates about some of the biggest rural issues facing the UK today. 

READER DISCOUNT

Countryfile Live 2017 will take place 3-6 August at Bleinheim Palace and we are offering BBC Countryfile Magazine readers the chance to enjoy a 20% discount off the ticket price. Simply, visit: countryfilelive.com/CFM and use the code CFM 

For more information about the show and to book your ticket visit: countryfilelive.com

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