Days Out

Beginners Guide to Crufts

16 June 2018

Last weekend was the 2019 Crufts dog show in Birmingham, UK. We’re all really big dog lovers in our house and our daughter is hugely in love with them too. As a belated birthday gift (and a treat for us all) we decided to book tickets for Crufts.

How much did it cost?

I managed to get hold of tickets for the final day of the event (Sunday) at a cost of £18.50 per adult. The kids were free which was pretty great. The day is focused around the Toy and Utility dog group and also features the prize giving ceremony for the whole event (though this is separately ticketed so you don’t get access to the main arena at that time).

Where did we stay?

We drove down to Birmingham the evening before and stayed at the Best Western Weston Hall hotel which was about 20mins away from the NEC. The family room cost £95.00 and didn’t include breakfast (we did end up opting for so do try and get it included at booking – £10 otherwise). It was a really traditional old manor/hall with a few olde quirks but the staff were good and the food was surprisingly great too, recommend sticking in for it.

Crufts opens at 8am but this rare hotel stay for us meant we were reluctant to get out of there super early so we ended up getting there for 9.30am. Parking is £16 on the day or £12 if you book online in advance. There’s a bit of a walk from the car park to the main halls so be prepared for 10 mins or jump on a shuttle bus.

Crufts is a whole host of event halls and small display /competition rings and a large main arena too. The Sunday sees the main arena close to a secondary ticket.

It’s slightly overwhelming, there’s just so much stuff and people. But slowly we began to figure out the lay of the land.

Rescue Centres and Therapy Dogs

We visited the rescue stands for the UK Boston Terrier Group and the French Bulldog UK group too. Got lots of cuddles with some excellent puppas. Boston’s are definitely on my list of future dogs, love them.
Headed over to a stand where Erin was able to sit and read with a therapy dog. Learning about the use of therapy dogs to help treat a variety of challenging issues people can suffer with. They were great with the kids. Explaining things and teaching us lots we didn’t know.  

We stopped at the Young Kennel Club ring and although there was no one to answer questions we did manage to rope one of the helpers into asking how best to get involved in dog showing. Erin is super keen to try and luckily the dog showing is judged on the handling and the person rather than the dog (phew!).

(Quick note, you can’t take your own dog to Crufts, only those invited.)

The Main Arena

We headed to the main arena and bagged some nice seats, they’re a free for all and I’d recommend getting in there early or at least during the event prior to the one you want to watch as they fill up fast.

We watched the Agility Championships (really fun, surprising how many dogs don’t make it!), the Flyball tournament (super fast!) and displays from Gundogs and Golden Retrievers. Really good vibes, kids really enjoyed it.

I’d recommend packing a picnic for a Crufts visit, the food is expensive. I think two sandwiches and bottles of water cost me £15!? It’s stated that no cool boxes can be taken so just keep things in a rucksack. You can eat at your seat in the main arena, definitely recommended!

Discover Dogs Zone is the best

The best bit of the day for us was definitely the “Discover Dogs” zone, where pretty much every breed of dog has a small stand and you can go and speak to experts in the breed. We stroked a LOT of good woofers.

All in all a great day. We’re going to go back next year with our folks too. We barely scratched the surface of the event. It felt like there needed to be more kids stuff there but hopefully they remedy this next year.

Have you been? What did we miss that you think we’d love? Leave us a comment below or drop me a line on Instagram.

    Any thoughts on this piece? I'd love to hear them :)