The countdown is on to Scotland’s biggest outdoor event opening its doors for a fun-filled, four-day countryside extravaganza that promises something for everyone – even those who have never set foot on a farm before. With food and drink, children’s activities and world-class livestock displays taking centre stage, it’s a slice of rural life you can’t afford to miss, as Karen Peattie discovers.

IT’S that time of year when all roads lead to Ingliston and the much-loved Royal Highland Show – and with organisers the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) renowned for making each show bigger and better than the previous year, regular and first-time visitors won’t be disappointed.

The event is fun for visitors big and small The event is fun for visitors big and small

David Tennant, head of show for RHASS, teases that the 2024 RHS will be ‘an unforgettable event with a mix of the traditional and unexpected’. With the Ingliston show site effectively becoming a mini-village – and home to Scotland’s sixth-biggest population for the duration of the event – it’s worth doing a little homework in advance so you know what’s happening and perhaps choose some of the attractions and sights you particularly want to cover.

With up to 55,000 people visiting the show each day, expect it to be busy with both people and animals. Indeed, around 6000 animals, from sheep, cows and horses to alpacas, goats and donkeys, flock to the showground over the four days – so if you don’t know your Belted Galloways from your Valais Blacknose, you soon will.

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For many visitors, however, the show is all about food and drink with thousands converging on the Food Hall and Scotland’s Larder to discover an unrivalled showcase of the very best produce that is a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.

Here you will discover new and familiar homegrown products from long-established and artisan producers who are happy to chat and tell you about the provenance of their food and businesses.

The Countryside Area The Countryside Area

At the RHS, visitors can explore what Scotland has to offer, from cheese and ice cream to charcuterie, fish and seafood, bakery and confectionery, to Scotch whisky and gin – and, of course, Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork.

Foodies can expect plenty of food tastings and cookery demos too. And don’t miss out on all things honey! The Honey Marquee is a great place to visit, situated in the Countryside Area. It’s a big hit with children and adults alike, demonstrating the vital role of the honeybee.

The show kicks off next Thursday The show kicks off next Thursday

Meanwhile, for those interested in more than filling their bellies, there are plenty of other sights and sounds to soak up.

Tradition remains at the show’s heart but it’s far from conventional.

Daredevil BMX riders showing off their skills, anyone? Axe throwers? Live chainsaw carving? Pole climbing?

Add to the mix sheep shearing, sparks flying in a fiery farriery competition and the RHS has you covered with something to put a smile on all faces.