The Game Fair at Blenheim Palace
The Game Fair at Blenheim Palace

Welcome back to Blenheim

In just over a week, The Game Fair returns to Blenheim Palace for the first time in ten years and as a BASC member, you can claim complimentary entry.

The Game Fair comes back to Blenheim Palace

The beautiful landscapes created by Capability Brown at Blenheim Palace are the perfect setting for this year’s Game Fair, which celebrates its 66th year in 2024. It’s an event keenly awaited by country and field sports fans and allows landowners, farmers and rural professionals a valuable opportunity to network, listen to debates in the Carter Jonas Theatre and discover the latest land technologies. It is a showcase for the whole sector and ministers, government officials and experts will doubtless be in attendance.

Managing director of The Game Fair, James Gower says: “The Game Fair is the largest festival of the countryside in the whole of Europe, where visitors can enjoy a host of food, drink and shopping options, as well as many country sports and outdoor activities. The purchases made at the show and following it are in the millions and so many areas of the rural and local economy benefit.” Around 800 trade stands representing country fashion, food, sporting equipment and land management technology will be trading, with a huge number of expected visitors.

The Game Fair 2024

All things shooting at The Game Fair

Gunmakers Holland & Holland have exhibited at The Game Fair since 1958 and head of marketing Mike Jones said: “We continue to support the event as it is a focal point in the summer calendar for many field sports enthusiasts. For Holland & Holland it provides us with a platform to engage with the wider shooting community while flying the flag for British craftsmanship and shooting excellence.”

As ever, Gunmakers’ Row (sponsored by Pulsar) will be a popular destination, with aisles and aisles of new and second-hand shotguns, rifles and airguns on offer. There will also be optics from the leading manufacturers so stalkers can spend hours investigating new kit to enhance their opportunities when controlling the ever-growing UK deer population

Meanwhile, the myriad clothing and accessories retailers will give visitors plenty of opportunities to make additions to their shooting apparel and kitbags. From tweed breeks and waistcoats to pigeon decoys and camouflage netting, there will be something for everyone at Blenheim.

Visitors can also meet professional gunmakers in Gunmakers’ Court and learn about the years of learning which pave the way to the highest level of craftsmanship. On The Shooting Line, attendees can try out clay shooting and enter shooting competitions, including the CPSA Champion of Champions, Ladies High Gun, Best Junior Shot, Student Hot Shot, Daily Top Shot and the Colts Challenge.

World champion trick shooter, Raniero Testa, will be entertaining everyone in the main arena, just one of many events scheduled for the central demonstration area of The Game Fair.

The Game Fair 2024 family event

Famous faces at The Game Fair

The popular VIP Enclosure, sponsored by Investec Wealth & Investment (UK), offers a superb view of events in the main arena. VIP ticket holders will enjoy food prepared under the experienced eye of TV celebrity chef James Martin, a regular attendee who returns this year. Merlin, barman from TV’s First Dates, will oversee the bar in the VIP Enclosure and will be creating two special cocktail recipes, inspired by The Game Fair.

Sunday will bring Dick and Angel Strawbridge, stars of TV’s Escape to The Chateau. In addition to catering in the enclosure, Dick will also showcase his culinary skills with a game cookery demonstration within the BASC Wild Food Theatre.

Actor and countryman Vinnie Jones will be presenting a hand-carved stick in The Game Fair Theatre; the stick will have been auctioned in aid of The Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust.

A family event

As ever, The Game Fair is a great day out for families, with something for all ages to enjoy, and dogs play a major part in the whole event. With the best of the best competing in the international competitions in the gundog arena, there is an opportunity to see how the leading trainers and handlers go about their work with elite working lines. Visitors can also view different working breeds, including some of the rarer gundogs, get advice on feeding and enjoy the ever-popular hound parade.

In the Fishing Village visitors can learn to cast a fly or get advice on improving technique. This year, one of The Game Fair’s chosen charities is Tackling Minds, a pioneering non-profit organisation which uses fishing as therapy to support mental health.

The Shetland Pony Grand National is always a source of excitement and amusement, with the doughty riders and mounts racing to the finish. Elsewhere, ferreting displays, the Craft Village, archery and so much more make it a great day out for all the family.

There’s so much to see that one day really isn’t enough, so visitors are encouraged to make a weekend of it and go camping. Campers can sleep in tents, caravans, mobile homes or horse boxes. Family areas are set aside and, if a little more luxury is called for, then there is glamping, too.

Go to The Game Fair’s website to find out what else is on. The itinerary is packed full!