If you’re a first-time visitor to Crufts, you probably already realise that you’re looking at a long and busy day out with much of it spent on your feet and a lot to see and do when you get there.
The Crufts doors open just after 8am and don’t close until 6.30pm, and whilst many people bow out way before closing out of sheer exhaustion, you certainly won’t run out of things to see and do there if you do intend to really get your money’s worth and spend the whole day at the NEC.
However, taking too much stuff with you that you don’t need and that just weighs you down or slows you down can really affect your comfort on the day, and wear you out faster too.
Whether that turns out to be a pair of shoes that you thought were comfortable but that you can’t stand to continue on by lunchtime or too many flimsy shopping bags cutting into your palms, the smallest things can really affect how much you enjoy your time at Crufts, and of course, you might not find out what they are until it’s too late!
There is a compromise to be had between ensuring you don’t forget something that you’ll really wish you had on the day, and not carrying any more than you need to… But if you’ve never been to Crufts before and have a list of things you think you might need but can’t decide on, this article will tell you five things you’ll definitely want to leave at home. Read on to learn what not to take to Crufts 2020.
First of all, if you’ve never been to Crufts before you might well assume that if there was anywhere you could take your own dog to, this would surely be it… But this is not true!
The general public can’t take their own pet dogs to Crufts, and only registered assistance dogs, and dogs that are competing or otherwise formally invited are permitted into the NEC arena. If you turn up with your dog on the day, you, and they, will be turned away.
Also, your dog would be a massive inconvenience to you anyway, and they probably won’t enjoy the day-long crowds.
Whilst March (when Crufts is held) is hardly the warmest month of the year, the NEC itself is very warm, and even more so when it is full of tens of thousands of dogs and people.
The arena seating areas in particular can be uncomfortably warm, when you add in the hot lights and walking around all day, you are not going to be chilly.
This means that a big, heavy coat or thick jumper will soon make you uncomfortably hot, and be bulky and inconvenient to carry. Try to stick to lighter layers you can stow away easily when you get inside, or leave bulkier clothing at the cloakroom until you leave.
Whilst the dogs themselves at Crufts might look like they spend more time at the hairdressers than the average couture model (and quite possibly do) Crufts is not a fashion show for people! Competing exhibitors and judges tend to dress smartly and often stylishly in the ring, but even among them, you’ll notice a theme of sensible, sturdy shoes and outfits.
Crufts is absolutely not the place to wear your best gear, high heels or even flashiest trainers; you’ll get them in a mess, they might not be comfortable all day, and they’re apt to get covered in dog slobber and hair.
Pay particular attention to picking out sensible shoes, as you might easily walk 8-10 miles just within the NEC if you’re at the show all day.
It is fair to say that the NEC is well served with parking, but even so, this is apt to be full or almost full for Crufts, unless you book a space in advance. Even if you do get a space, car parking at the NEC during Crufts is incredibly expensive, and you might be amazed (and dismayed) at how far your car is from the entrance.
Some of the more distant car parks do run a shuttle bus service to and from the NEC arena; but these waste time waiting for them and in transit, so they’re not really ideal if your plan for taking the car was to pop back to it throughout the day to offload shopping and so on.
Anyone who is not 100% up for it
Finally, if you’re going to Crufts with a friend or family member, make sure they’re as enthused about going as you are; anyone who is a bit reluctant or who is only going along to humour you is not going to enjoy their day, and won’t be much fun after the first couple of hours either.
Plenty of people go to Crufts on their own and it is as a whole very friendly and social, and many areas of the country are also served by bus company tours to the event, which many people often go on unaccompanied.