Crufts, the world’s largest dog show, will be on at the NEC Birmingham from 8-11th March 2012 . Here are some top tips for a perfect day out at Crufts.
1. It’s a long day so make sure that you’ve arranged some doggy day care. You can only bring your furry friend with you if you have been invited by the Kennel Club to take part in the show.
2. Avoid queues and save a few pounds by ordering your entrance tickets on-line at www.crufts.org.uk and printing them off at home. Adult day tickets are £14 in advance and £17 on the day.
3. Parking is expensive at the NEC (£8 per day for cars) so car share with some friends for extra company and to minimise costs. Just make sure that there is enough boot space for all that shopping!
4. There’s much more to Crufts than just the pedigree dog show. We really enjoy watching the Agility, Flyball, Heelwork to Music and various other doggy displays that are on throughout the day.
5. Plan your day before you arrive by printing off the schedules for the various show rings from the Crufts website and decide what you really want to see and when. Allow plenty of time to walk from the car park and through the many Halls. On Saturday and Sunday afternoon be prepared to queue to get into the main arena.
6. There are plenty of places to eat in the various Halls but they are generally pricey and can get very busy at lunchtimes. Leave plenty of time for lunch or bring a sandwich.
7. Thursday is the least crowded day to visit Crufts. There is still a full programme of events in all the show rings and the main arena on Thursday. If you sit in the main arena on Saturday, it gets full in the afternoon and you will soon become really annoyed by over officious NEC marshals insisting that you move up and down the rows of seats every time a spare seat becomes available. When you find yourself shifting your bags for the hundredth time or having to defend the spare seat next to you because your partner has nipped to the toilet, you will wish that you had visited Crufts on a Thursday!
8. If you brave the weekend crowds, clap and cheer with gusto when the mobile camera lands on you in the main arena and projects you on to the big screen. Remember that you are watching a dog show – this is not a time to be cool. We clapped along to the music with enthusiasm one year and our footage was used in national TV and cinema advertising for Crufts for two years! I always comb my hair properly now before I go to Crufts… To say thanks for using our grinning faces in their adverts the nice people at the Kennel Club Press Office gave us two free tickets for a Sunday and Best in Show. It was a fantastic experience to watch Best in Show in an area cordoned off for the International dog press!
9. If you go to Crufts on a Sunday, you’ll be thrown out of the main arena at about 3pm to give the organisers time to set up for Best in Show. You’ll need to queue up again and have a separate ticket (£25.50 per adult) to see Best in Show. Thursday, Friday and Saturday are therefore better value for day ticket holders that like to spend most of their day in the main arena as there is entertainment from approximately 8.30am until almost 8pm.
10. Most stalls are open until approximately 6pm every day so wait until the end of the day to purchase bulky items so that you don’t have to carry them round all day or get squashed next to your bags in the main arena. There are lots of offers on premium dog food, so look out for these to treat your dog to a new Scooby snack. There is also a Show Offers for Visitors section of the Crufts website http://www.crufts.org.uk/show-offers-visitors to view before you visit. We always take the opportunity to buy Holly a new doggy duvet at Crufts. There is a wealth of innovative dog products and gifts for the dog owner that has everything. We like to support some of the dog charities that have paid for a stall at Crufts. This year we hope to order a Buster Dog Maze http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btOfI4vCRiE to provide our dog with a fun challenge from the Border Collie Trust GB www.bordercollietrustgb.org.uk who will be on Stand 28 in Hall 2.
11. If you are thinking of buying or re-homing a pedigree dog, you can meet over 200 different dog breeds and chat to their expert owners in the Discover Dogs area. You can also visit the Breed Rescue Stand in Hall 3, Stand 16 for some more invaluable advice. The dogs that take part in the rescue dog agility will melt your heart and show you how rewarding it can be to give a dog a second chance.
12. Our final tip for Crufts is to make sure that you go!! We guarantee that if you like dogs you will have a fantastic time and for a full day’s non-stop entertainment it’s also great value for money.
Find places to stay and visit with your dog at www.roverrecommended.com