• This Surrey Mummy

Hold Your Horses It's The Al Shira'aa Hickstead Derby Meet!

I'm constantly on the look out for different fun days out in and around Surrey. I love those kind of days out where it doesn't cost the earth but where there is something for everyone. My best friend Nikki recently returned from Australia and she's always been a keen horsey person. For many years in our youth I would accompany her to pony camp where we pulled up ragwort and mucked out stables in exchange for an afternoons hack with one of the horses.

Now I'm not going to tell you that I'm still horsey and to be honest the closest I've got to a horse recently is a bet on the Grand National and my Joules checked fitted jacket. I'm not your typical horsey person so when the lovely people at Hickstead got in touch asking if I would be their guest at the upcoming Al Shira'aa Hickstead Derby Meeting I wanted to know more as to why they thought I would like to come along. Apparently it's not all horses - it's far more than a horse show!

First and foremost I instantly knew the person that I would take with me, Nikki. She would get her horsey fix and I could kill two birds with one stone as it's being held during her birthday weekend and means I could tie it in as her present!

The Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting (21-24 June) at Hickstead (about forty minutes from Cobham) is one of the most popular events in the equestrian calendar, but there’s more than just horses on offer at the All England Jumping Course this summer.

Around 45,000 spectators are expected to flock to the West Sussex showground in June, with visitor numbers peaking during the famous Al Shira’aa Derby on the Sunday afternoon. The Derby course is fearsomely tricky, with iconic obstacles such as the Derby Bank, the Devil’s Dyke and the double of water ditches guaranteeing plenty of thrills and spills for spectators. But as well as the eight busy rings of equestrian action, there is a lot more to see and do during the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting!

I loved the idea of the new Family Zone featuring a funfair, with half price rides on Thursday and Friday, as well as entertainment from popular local company Tomfoolery. Admission is free for all children under four for the duration of the show, with discounts available for children aged five to 16, pensioners and on family tickets so it wasn't likely to break the bank!

There are more than 150 stands in the Charles Owen Shopping Village - yes a shopping village! This shopping village gives shoppers the chance to browse many of the leading countryside brands. Now, I'm not saying that I am going to start changing my wardrobe to reflect the front cover of Horse and Hounds but I can't deny it - I love a mooch around the shops! This year, there is free general admission on the Thursday of the show, to encourage people to come along to experience the fabulous shopping for themselves. Then there’s the wide range of bars and eateries, from the street food vans, the artisan food hall or one of the many bars and restaurants, all the way up to fine dining in one of the hospitality options. I'm envisioning sipping Pimm's, picnics and ice creams and I've got all my fingers and toes crossed for great weather!

Hickstead is to showjumping what Wembley is to football or Wimbledon is to tennis – and the showground has attracted some suitably big stars over the years, and we’re not just talking Olympic gold medallists like Nick Skelton or Scott Brash! If you are more Netflix then Horse Of The Year Show on the tv there has even been Friends and Top Gear star Matt Le Blanc and Hollywood film star Henry Cavill having both been spotted at the showground in recent years, while model and presenter Jodie Kidd is a regular. See you don't just have to be a horsey person to enjoy the Hickstead Derby Day!

Food, ice cream, shopping, fairground rides, celeb spotting and some impressive horses to admire spells a lovely day out in my eyes! We will be there on the Saturday if you fancy joining us - you'll notice us, I'll be wearing a pony tail, the boys will be horsing around and Nikki will be frisky as a colt in her element surrounded by some of the most beautiful horses in the industry!

Why not take your family for a slightly different day out then why get a leg up over to www.hickstead.co.uk with discounts available for early bookers!

Nathalie x