About the South Suffolk Show

Organised by the South Suffolk Agricultural Association, The South Suffolk Show is regarded by many as one of the leading one-day agricultural shows in the eastern region. Held annually on the 2nd Sunday in May, and now in its 133rd year, the ‘South Suffolk’ offers a fun-filled day in the great outdoors for all the family.
Throughout the 95 acre showground, we strive to entertain all our visitors whether they be animal lovers or petrol heads, fans of craft or thrill seekers, shopaholics or foodies. Traditionally we have enjoyed crowds in the region of 10 – 12,000 (and their dogs*) flocking to see the show’s attractions including headline acts, rural displays, horse and livestock classes, farm machinery new and old, traditional fairground rides and a plethora of trade stands. A picnic area is provided for visitors bringing sustenance with them, or alternatively the show has a public bar serving local ales, and an appetising array of local catering units sited around the showground. Gates open at 8:30am, with the Countryside Ring and Grand Ring Programmes commencing at 9.30 am and 10.00am respectively.

*Well behaved dogs are welcome to accompany their owners to the show, but should be kept on a lead at all times and owners must clear up any mess after them, and please do not leave them in the car.

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Established 1888

1888 saw the first South Suffolk Show, although then known as ‘The Wickhambrook & District Filly and Colt Show’, which was formed by W. Cuthbert Quilter MP who would ride his stallion around his constituency serving the local mares. It was the offspring of the MP’s stallion which would then be judged at the show the following year. The show has run every year since its initial setup, with just a handful of exceptions, and over the years grew to incorporate all the other elements of an agricultural show, eventually changing its name to reflect its wider content. The location of the South Suffolk Show has also changed over the years, utilizing venues across Suffolk such as Melford Hall, Ickworth Park, Kentwell Hall, Hardwick Heath in Bury St Edmunds and Tut Hill in Fornham All Saints. In more recent years the location of the show has moved to its present more northerly venue towards the Suffolk Norfolk border, but the name has stuck!

1888
The Association formed at a public meeting on 21st November at The Plumbers Arms, Denston nr Wickhambrook, initially running as ‘The Wickhambrook & District Filly and Colt Show’ at Stradishall Place.
1914
The show was cancelled due to a workers strike in the district
1914 - 1922
All shows cancelled due to World War I
1923
The first show held after the war was set in Sudbury, and beat all previous records for attendance estimated at 5,000. The gate was over £200, against the previous best of £98!
1931-1935
Following the 1930 show held at Haverhill, shows thereafter were suspended due to the depression until 1935
1939 - 1945
All shows cancelled due to World War II
1946
In the first post war show there were 64 entries of Suffolk horses in 9 separate classes.
1950
The show became officially known as The South Suffolk Show
1953
Members of the South Suffolk Agricultural Association formed The Crop Competition, starting with 9 classes, which still runs today with 20 classes
1957
The show was cancelled due to petrol rationing
1975
The show was attended by The Wombles who performed at a very wet show held at Ickworth Park. They asked to swap their furry boots with the stewards’ wellies!
1986
The South Suffolk Show moved to its current location at Ampton point-to-point racecourse
2000
The Household Calvary performed in the Grand Ring
2001
The show was cancelled due to the Foot and Mouth outbreak which lead to a nationwide lockdown on the movement of animals and the cancellation of agricultural shows across the country
2012
The showground was extended to 95 acres to incorporate a dedicated equine area
2020 - 2021
The show was cancelled due to COVID-19

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Attractions

In addition to the headline act there is always plenty to see and do throughout the show including wood carvers in action, farriers in the forge, birds of prey on the wing, gun dogs working, terriers racing, vintage tractors on show, and new for this year, the Ferretworld Roadshow who will be looking for volunteers young and old to race against their ferrets!

Horses

The show has a vast array of equine classes, ranging from showjumping, working hunters, side saddle and private driving, along with numerous in-hand and ridden showing classes for hunters, coloureds, hacks, cobs, riding horses, donkeys, and especially for the county’s favourite; the Suffolk Heavy Horses. Many of the classes are qualifiers for regional and national shows.

Livestock

The livestock section of the show has a great range of very well supported classes for cattle, sheep and pigs, with many of the show’s champions going on to be County and even National Champions. The show also features a display of poultry, presented by Colchester Poultry Club.

Trade Stands

Over 150 trade stands exhibit at the show, ranging from large and light agricultural stands, car dealerships, country clothing and accessories, schools, colleges, plants and garden furnishings, alongside an Art and Craft Tent and a Shopping Marquee both packed with unique creations, as well as a Food Hall full of tempting treats.

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Testimonials

We all love the South Suffolk, – the animals, meeting friends, the food, all the fun of the main ring – and the ice-cream!

The Fisher family, West Stow, Suffolk

The South Suffolk Show encompasses all that’s great about country shows without the fatigue factor

Bob from Culford Heath, Suffolk

I’ve been to the South Suffolk Show as a visitor lots of times and also had a stand! It’s a really friendly, family orientated country show!

Annemarie from Fornham St Genevieve, Suffolk

It’s a lovely show which has something for all the family.

Hayley from Bures, Suffolk

I loved every second and the weather was perfect too, thankyou, can’t wait to go again!

Kath from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

I’ve always found that the show is the perfect balance of modern meets old fashioned Suffolk farming, with something for everyone!

Angela from Risby, Suffolk

The South Suffolk Show is a great day out, I have been several times, it is a fun family day, great for connecting with the outdoors

Mairie from Tuddenham, Suffolk