The Badminton Horse Trials is a true blue ribbon event in the sporting arena, and is arguably the world’s best known three-day event. Of course, the event is rightly focused on the horses and riders overcoming seemingly insurmountable fences and obstacles, but for visitors there is so much more on offer.
The Badminton Horse Trials was first held in 1949, in the grounds of Badminton House, which was originally owned by the Boteler family. Today it is home to the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort. The House dates from the 17th century and is set in a beautiful deer park. Interestingly enough, the game of badminton was also invented here at the beginning of the 20th century, as a pastime for guests, when the weather was inclement.
RV hire for Badminton
Hire one of our luxurious American motorhomes and you’ll have all the luxury you could desire from a good hotel but will still be situated close to the action of the event. There is no need for an RV licence, as the vehicles are taken there ahead of time, ready for your stay. All you need to do is turn up, park in your allocated space, and unwind.
Our motorhome hire service includes*:
- Luxurious, secure, fully furnished accommodation
- Heating and air conditioning
- Shopping service (cupboards and fridge stocked prior to your arrival)
- All services provided
- Pitch and site fees included
- Cutlery and crockery
- Satellite TV / DVD
- Music / radio / MP3 / iPod connection
- Toilet and hot shower
- Outdoor seating
- 24-hour on-site support
- Delivery and collection
*These items may depend on your vehicle and service agreement.
Badminton Horse Trials Accommodation – where else to stay
At the latest count there were 92 B&Bs/lodgings within 5 miles of Badminton. Just South from the event is the beautiful village of Great Badminton, while Castle Combe – a quintessentially English village, very often given the sobriquet of ‘prettiest village in England’ is only 5 miles away, offering a range of accommodation options. Check out the Cotswold Information website.
For those who enjoy fresh air, caravans and tents can be hired for the entirety of Badminton, but it is worth remembering that pitch space must be booked in advance.
Travelling to Badminton
Badminton Horse Trials take place in May each year on the Badminton Estate. The Badminton Estate lies in the heart of the Gloucestershire countryside about 85 miles west of London and some 15 miles from Bristol and Bath. The organisers advise you not to use a SatNav system as they take no account of the traffic management system employed for the event. They advise you follow appropriate AA Signage from Stroud, Cirencester, Chippenham or the M4 in either direction. If you purchase your tickets in advance, full directions for travelling by car will be sent with your vehicle passes.
By air: The closest airports are Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff and London Heathrow, with Bristol being the closest.
Train routes: Public transport links are limited, so organisers advise hiring a car. Nevertheless, it only takes 90 minutes to travel from London Paddington by train to Bath, then change for Yate. Alternatively you can travel to Chippenham. Coaches will meet specified trains at Chippenham Station on Saturday 10th May. Otherwise, take a taxi.
Badminton Horse Trials Car Parking
Those purchasing tickets in advance will receive directions to the appropriate car park, otherwise, guests arriving on the day will be directed to the closest available parking. It’s usually extremely well organised and, apart from the inherent dangers of parking on a grassy field (i.e. getting stuck), there are normally enough people and enough 4x4s available to avoid undue delays.
Eating and drinking at the Badminton Horse Trials
Apart from witnessing some of the world’s finest horses and riders, Badminton has so much more in the way of entertainment. There are numerous bars and eateries, such as
the Badminton Wine Bar, which is set in a marquee overlooking the trials. It is open 8-till late, and provides a wide range of food and drinks: sandwiches, a full English breakfast, freshly made coffee, or a cool, refreshing glass of champagne.
The Outside Chance is a sports bar that was described by The Daily Telegraph as “surely one of the best sports bars in the world.” It is situated just metres from the water’s edge and overlooks the stunning Badminton House.
The Pig and Whistle is a traditional English pub that has a wide selection of food and drinks.
Fast food outlets are also found at the trials and onsite caterers can prepare all of your picnic needs.
There is wheelchair access at Badminton, and an uncovered ringside area is reserved for those with disabilities for showjumping and dressage. Electric scooters and wheelchairs are also available on loan.
Although Badminton welcomes dogs, they must be kept on a leash at all times. The Langford Trust operates a dog crèche, and will happily look after your dog for a maximum of two hours.
Course Walk and Things to Do at Badminton Horse Trials
The walk usually takes place on the Friday where visitors can participate in a 2-hour course walk, costing approx. £15pp. These are led by some of the riders, who will explain their strategy and tactics of how they confront the course. There’s also a large shopping village, which is open throughout the show, as well as continuous live radio coverage (requires the purchase of a radio receiver for around £8-£9).
Other local attractions
Badminton House, home to the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort, dates from the 17th Century. The birthplace of the game of badminton – said to have been invented to pass the time on wet and windy afternoons – and home to the world-famous Horse Trials, the house and grounds are the centrepiece for this wonderful annual event. Fascinating for anyone who has an interest in British history and architecture, the gardens are also open to the public on certain dates.
Meanwhile, you can visit the wonderful city of Bath has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and offers a wide range of fabulous things to see and do. The fabulous village of Castle Combe is also a must-see and was the setting for much of Stephen Spielberg’s film, ‘War Horse’. Likewise, Bristol has much to offer, including museums, theatres and historic concert halls as well as music events, theatre, shopping and museums.
The thrill-seekers among you may seek out the Castle Combe motorsport venue, which has a rally circuit where you can drive different vehicles, including your own, around the course.
Badminton Horse Trials Contact Details
Website: Badminton Horse Trials
Telephone: +44 1454 218272
[Photo credit: Sally Newcomb, Badminton Horse Trials, Kit Houghton]