Crufts 2020: Tips and tricks for first-time visitors to the show
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Crufts 2020: Tips and tricks for first-time visitors to the show

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Events & Shows

Anyone involved in dog breeding or showing and lots of everyday dog owners too are looking forwards to Crufts 2020, which takes place on the 5th-8th March at Birmingham’s NEC arena.

Many dog lovers go along to the event every year to see what’s new, meet loads of dogs, and enjoy a great day out or even make a short break out of it, and you can just turn up on the day and buy tickets at the gate, if you decide to go on a whim!

Visiting Crufts is very exciting and there’s masses to see and do, but like any major event, it is a good idea to have a vague plan for what you want to do when you arrive and to think about your comfort and what you’ll need on the day to ensure the visit is enjoyable and not stressful!

With this in mind, this article will provide some tips and tricks for first-time visitors on how to get the most out of Crufts 2020, and what you can expect when you get there. Read on to learn more.

Avoid queues by buying a ticket in advance and arriving a little while after opening

You can buy tickets for Crufts at the gate, and so if you do decide to go at the last minute, you will still get in! However, you can save money and avoid one of the entry queues by buying tickets online in advance. Also, if you wish to buy tickets for the obedience ring or Best in Show event, these often sell out ahead of time.

In terms of the best time to go to Crufts, you will probably want to spend the whole day and get your money’s worth, but if you turn up to go in when the gates open just after 8am, you will not only have to join and waste time in a long queue, but also be part of a scrum trying to get to everything inside at one!

Wait until an hour after opening when the crowds have dissipated to go in and you’ll miss the worst of the queue, and find that you can get about quicker when you get inside too.

Go by public transport to avoid expensive (and busy) parking

There is lots of parking at the NEC, but it is busy and really expensive during Crufts! If possible, go in via public transport – Birmingham International train station is right outside of the arena.

The trains will be faster than the buses due to the congestion around the arena during Crufts, but busses are still a better option than trying to drive if you have a choice.

Wear comfortable clothes and shoes

There is no dress code at Crufts and comfort is key; wear something you can move in and will be happy in all day, and that you don’t mind getting dog hair or slobber on!

You should really you some thought into your footwear too, as you will rack up miles and miles just wandering about over the course of the day.

Charge your phone in advance

You’ll probably find lots of things to take pictures of and maybe film during Crufts (although there are some restrictions in terms of photography and filming during some events, and how footage you do take may be used, so check on this) and this is apt to quickly run down your phone battery – or camera, if you’re taking pro kit.

Make sure your phone has a good charge; there are charging points in the arena you can hire, but you probably won’t want to leave your phone for too long and risk missing something!

Don’t go laden with bags and coats

The NEC arena as a whole is quite warm, so try to ditch any bulky coats or jumpers before you get going or you’ll probably spend a lot of the day carrying it around. Don’t wear or take more than you really need to; you will of course want to make sure you have everything you will need, but your day won’t be much fun if you spend it needlessly lugging things around, and this will tire you out faster too.

Circle back to the cloakroom if needed

The chances are that even if you start the day empty handed, by the end of it you’ll have bought a few things, picked up several freebies, and generally attained a good collection of stuff to take home!

There is a cloakroom at the NEC, which is chargeable, but if you’re getting laden down, it is well worth using it to offload some of the stuff you’re carrying so that you remain comfortable and able to move freely for the rest of the day.

Just don’t forget to check your swag back out when you leave!

There are facilities at Crufts for phone charging, left luggage, cash points and more, but they all cost!

If you do find you need something; a cash point, a phone or USB charging point, to ditch some bags, or even things like baby wipes or hand cream, you’ll be able to buy it somewhere at the show; you’d be amazed what is on offer, and whilst most of it is dog-related, plenty is not!

However, you will be paying a premium for essentials bought at the show, particularly things like food and drink, and the queues will often be long too, so try to plan ahead for what you need to save time and money.

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