It's that time of year again. Advance bookings are open for Badminton and the entries are up. Compared to other world class sporting events Badminton is excellent value. Here at Equishopping though we thought we should give you a bit of a guide on how to make the most of time you have there.
For starters, if you're planning on driving there make sure you leave early! The queues to get in can take hours to get through at their worst and you don't want to miss any of the action! I really do mean that. The traffic around Badminton is bad! I mean let's face it, Badminton village for 360 days a year is a quiet rural village home to a few horses and a handful of people then for the 5 days a year in the spring it is home to the one of the worlds biggest sporting events and is decended on by 100's of thousands of people.
The solution seems to be to stay over night. Staying on site is expensive but you do get quite a bit for your hard earned cash. Included in your pitch are 2 entry tickets for the ENTIRE duration of the event. Plus, you can park a car elsewhere on the estate. Staying on site has a real party atmosphere especially on the saturday night when the tales of the days XC are relived. The campsite has excellent facilities as well but perhaps isn't the quietest of places if you like a good nights kip.
Staying off site is also an option and there's lots of choice. Ideas range from staying at the Cotswold water park to camping at nearby sites. Have a look on Google and see what catches your eye.
Apart from the world class eventing there is also a vast shopping area. I kid you not when I say if you can't find it at Badminton you won't find it anywhere else. Plus, quite a few companies offer discounts for Badminton so you can get some good bargains too. However, the food is fairly expensive so you might want to consider a picnic.
When it comes to XC day we've got some top tips for you. DO keep dogs on leads. There's usually one or two dogs each year that end up chasing riders round the course - with well over £50,000 at stake your dog will rapidly become very very unpopular. The water jump is a good place to see some drama and if you're lucky (depending on your view point) you might see a ducking or two... The course differs each year but go for the big combinations to see the most. If you want to chance your luck and try and get on tele, smile lots and wave when you're standing near any of the televised bits of the course. Once the day is over you can walk the course. No, really, you can walk Badminton CCI**** XC course. When you walk it you'll begin to realise that there's a reason the table is called the "giants table".
If you want to buy showjumping grand stand tickets (MUST be booked in advance) then the best seats are usually those about 3 or 4 rows up along the sides. Any higher and you can't see and if you go lower you won't be able to see the far side of the arena. Alternatively, you get friendly with Queeny and get invited to the royal enclosure. However, I'm told the view isn't as good...