The Shrewsbury Flower Show is a very well known annual event in Shropshire and yet, an event that having lived in Shropshire for 30 years, I have never attended. At the recent Shrewsbury Food Festival, I started chatting to a gentleman on the Shrewsbury Flower Show stand (attracted by their rather lovely promotional tote bags!) and he suggested I came along. I mentioned that I had two small children and that I presumed that this would be something that wouldn’t hold their attention. I was immediately informed that I was very wrong – the gauntlet had been thrown down, the challenge was on!
The Shrewsbury Flower Show takes place in August and takes up the Quarry Park in Shrewsbury for a Friday and Saturday each year. Parking in town is always a little at a premium so we took the first opportunity we could and ended up parking in a Church Car Park just before the English Bridge (£4.00 for the day seemed really reasonable and the money went towards the up-keep of the church!). We quickly loaded up the pram and after being directed by the helpful car-park volunteers, started the 15 min walk along the Town Walls towards the Park.
On arrival, we made sure we looked at the programme and following our experience at the National Forest Adventure Farm, planned our day to make sure that we didn’t miss out on anything.
We decided to start with the Children’s Area and although this didn’t seem to be marked on the map (a typo we presume as it was listed in the programme!) we followed our noses down the main avenue and were pointed in the direction of the Children’s Area by a very kind gentleman on stilts!
The children’s area, though rather condensed, is a hive of (generally free) activities which are aimed at children of all ages. There are various workshops throughout the day, along with some animals to get ‘hands on’ with, a craft tent, bouncy castle, circus skills, a climbing wall and opportunity to experience archery. There is also a little stage set up with a constant stream of performers to entertain your little ones. However, we had spotted the horse jumps being set up in the arena on our way in and so made our way back to a good vantage point so my pony mad daughter could watch the show jumping over a picnic lunch.
All fueled up and with a sneaky glass of something sparkly to celebrate Grandma’s 70th, we made our way back to the Children’s Area and quickly settled in to do a spot of planting. The children were supported through potting up their own flower and vegetable before labeling up the pots to take home later. Both my children loved getting hands on and dirty and after we had stopped the toddler eating the compost (you would think he would lose interest after the first mouthful!) and ably assisted by Grandad (a keen gardener and therefore in his element!) the children proudly showed off their finished products.
The next activity, while Grandparents were on toddler duty, was a spot of soap carving. If you are after a cheap, therapeutic activity for a group of little ones then look no more. Provided with some examples and templates to start us off, the children carefully scrapped away at the soap with clay tools to create their own mini-masterpieces. I had a quick chat with the Children’s Coordinator for the festival during this activity who told me about her quest to make sure that the Children’s Area provided as many free, interactive activities as possible, mindful that parents have already paid to get into the show. I would say she is certainly on her way to achieving this goal as there is enough in this small area of the show to entertain you for a good few hours.
Quite by chance, on the way to the toilets we came across a couple of surprises…a procession of beautiful horses from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment Musical Ride, followed by the discovery of a steam train! We quickly delivered news of this discovery to the rest of the party and made our way down to take part in our free trip on a steam train. I was amazed at the time, effort and energy that had gone into making sure that there was an opportunity for visitors to experience a short ride on a real steam team (all be it a slightly miniature version!) and loved the fact that a set of rails had been laid on the path for the occasion!
Following our mini-adventure, we went back to the Arena to watch a comedy car show (which my daughter was engrossed in!) and got slightly wet when Dingle Fingle decided to soak the audience with a rather well aimed hose-pipe!
By this time our little ones were ready for home and so there was no chance of staying for the evening entertainment and promised fireworks. We had heard these were worth waiting up for but with little ones in tow this is something we will have to aim for in a few years time.
So was it worth a visit? Certainly, there was so much for the children to do we didn’t actually make it round any of the flower marquees and displays! There is plenty to fill a day and with the promise of evening entertainment, the value of the tickets immediately goes up.
So, Shrewsbury Flower Show, you accepted the challenge and in future I will most certainly view the festival as a family event. We look forward to seeing what you have planned for the coming years!
Why not PIN this for Next Year!