In the next of Eventing Worldwide’s ‘A beginner’s guide to Badminton’, we provide advice on the best way to miss the traffic coming to and from the event and where to catch all the action………

So you’re visiting Badminton for the first time and the excitement is building. Those with experience will have their day planned with military precision to make the most out of their time on the hallowed turf, and know all the best places to catch the action. So here’s our guide on arriving (and leaving) the event and the best spots for spectating.

What time to arrive (and leave)……

Whichever day you choose to attend, it’s advisable to arrive early so you don’t miss any of the action. And most definitely applies to the Saturday as traffic is known to build up from as early as 9am as thousands of people descend on the estate.

The car park you park in depends from which direction you approach. The nearest car parks to the shopping village (approached via the A46 and Didmarton) will be the busiest and where you will encounter the longest queues to get into the car parks. Do your research before you leave and choose one of the other many other car parks around the site. Whilst they may mean a little longer walk to get to where you want to be, you’ll probably find you get in and out of Badminton a little quicker.

When the day’s events are over there’s usually a stampede towards the car park. But who wants to be caught up in the traffic jam? There’s no hurry to leave after the final horse has completed as there’s still plenty of things to do while you wait. Why not have a drink in one of the many bars on site or look around the shops when they aren’t so busy. The Shopping Village is open until 6pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 7pm on Saturday and 4pm on Sunday.

A little bit of advice; do not follow the Sat Nav when travelling to the event! The likelihood is it will get your lost, or worse still end up in a random farmer’s field! However, do not fear – there is an extensive traffic management system in place to allow traffic to flow as easily as possible in and out of the event. The event is signed from all major routes

Where to spectate……..

There are so many fantastic places to catch the action and there’s nothing better than being out on course. Of course, the most popular fences to spectate are where the thrills and spills happen, most notably The Lake. But this year, under the direction of course designer Giuseppe Della Chiesa there are four jumping efforts into water – two at the lake, the Mirage Pond and The Gatehouse Pond.

Other fences of interest out on the course include The HorseQuest Quarry (Fences 4, 5 and 6), the Irish Sport Horse Huntsmans Close (Fence 8), Swindon Designer Outlet Mound (Fences 15 and 16), Shogun Hollow (Fence 22) and the Sense Birch Rails (Fences 25 and 26). If you’re a keen amateur photographer some of the less busy fences will provide the best places to get close up shots of the action. But please remember to turn your flash off wherever you are taking photographs of the competitors.

The main arena itself is a great place to see the horses start out and complete their cross country journey. The roar of the crowds gathered provides an exhilarating atmosphere that must be experienced.

For those who have a more leisurely approach to watching the action on cross country day, the Mark Todd Collection big screens are located by The Pig & Whistle, one of the event’s great watering holes, at the southern end of the shopping village as well as the main arena.

In our next blog we’ll look at everything else you need to know about attending Badminton. Keep up to date with everything you need to know about Badminton via THE WEBSITE , @EventingWWNEWS on Twitter and our Facebook page.

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