Thursday 20 June 2019

Good fun at BBC Good Food Show Summer and BBC Gardeners' World Live at NEC, Birmingham

I love food, I love summer and I don't mind a lovely garden either... so you can imagine how much fun I had at the BBC Good Food Show Summer and BBC Gardeners' World Live shows at Birmingham's NEC last weekend.

* Gifted - press tickets

Despite the weather being less than summery, there was plenty to brighten up my day. The floral displays and garden companies out at the show were wonderful to see and walk around (the scents were amazing) and the show was vast, spreading outside and with a beautiful floral marquee to enjoy too.

Inside, there was even more to explore and there were talks and demonstrations on throughout the day across the various stands with well known faces from the world of cooking and gardening. Everything is available to view online before you go but the signage is really clear too, plus there's the complimentary show guide, so you can easily map out your day if you want to be super organised.

And I'd say if you want to get the most out of the day, or you have a plan of action, then being organised is key. The show is always popular, at every time of the year they run, so getting in early so you can get a good car park position and / or be amongst the first in the door gives you a good head start so you can enjoy a few less people and be in line a lot quicker for the food and drink samples that many vendors give away. If you'll be enjoying a tipple, then make sure you have a big breakfast to line your stomach first - but also remember, it's always 5'o'clock somewhere!

Another tip is, if you're going to buy, and potentially buy a lot, then a wheeled carrier is essential. You can bring your own, but you can also pick up a plastic collapsible box on wheels when you arrive, with a number of stands perfectly positioned as you enter, so you can carry your purchases around. Some stands also offer you the chance to leave your items with them until you are ready to leave, and there's a shopping drop off area too.

I always enjoy wandering around shows and just seeing where my feet take me, and did so around the Good Food stands, sampling some cheese here and a nip of gin there. It would have been rude not to! I really like discovering new companies and artisan brands, and it was nice to meet lots of lovely producers who were keen to talk about what they had to offer. If you like a drink, gin in particular, you wouldn't be disappointed. And there's lots of places to enjoy food too - not just from the NEC vendors - so you can have some lunch and try before you buy, at places such as the Heck sausage stand (delicious, by the way).

Sullivan slept for the most part but when he was awake, we managed to access the changing facilities without much bother, but by lunchtime it was harder to find a seat. That said, a lot of people sit down near the entrance and outside in the halls too so we managed to find a spot for Sulley to have his food.

I came away with a couple of gins and some cheese, and lots of inspiration too.

I can't wait for the winter show; it's always a brilliant day out and time to stock up for Christmas. Tickets are already on sale now.


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