Over 14,000 thousand visitors enjoyed the Spring Garden & Leisure Show, as the 2017 show season got underway at the South of England Showground in Ardingly, West Sussex over the May bank holiday weekend.

A wide range of new outdoor pursuits and interactive entertainment proved a great success with families visiting the show, whilst green fingered enthusiasts enjoyed top gardening tips and some fantastic retail therapy.

New this year was the UK’s first interactive mobile caving system, the only one of it’s kind in the country and probably the most realistic artificial caving experience there is above ground.

Bank holiday family fun was spread across the weekend with the opportunity to reconnect with the outdoors and take part in adventure pursuits, including, tent pitching, a mobile shooting range, rope workshop, model aircraft demonstrations, craftwork and a campfire experience.

Gardening guru Jean Griffin of BBC Sussex, Surrey and Kent returned for the weekend, chairing another exciting programme of Q&A sessions with a panel of gardening experts in the popular Gardening Theatre.

Entries for the floral display competition in both the Beginners and Intermediate/Advanced classes were exhibited and visitors were treated to an inspiring plant and nursery area with thousands of plants to choose from and an extensive range of gardening equipment to buy.

There was colouring fun with a new giant colouring cube specially created by artist Scott Walker, a fabulous circus skills workshop with queues out the door to try their hand at juggling, ball walking and unicycling.There was also the opportunity to try blacksmithing; and a caravan manoeuvring course run by The Caravan & Motorhome Club.

Visitors received a warm welcome from entertaining stilt-walking characters Jerry the Gerbera, Bob the Butterfly and the Praying Mantas.  The much-loved ‘Mini Sheep Show’ also entertained the crowds as well as a Scout marching band.

Exciting competitions included the Crufts Qualifying Open Dog Show; the Horticultural competition and the South East Regional Alpaca Show. Children also enjoyed visiting other farm animals in the friendly Animal Barn and learned more about the British countryside in the Countryside Hub.

There were also many other tasty treats to take home from the tempting food hall as well as hours of shopping including country crafts and clothing, gifts and DIY, home wares, wellies and handbags!

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