The 176th Royal Highland Show, one of Scotland's most iconic events, is set to take place at the Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh from 23-26 June 2016.
Firmly established as one of Europe's most impressive celebrations of farming, food and rural life, the Royal Highland Show - which last year attracted almost 190,000 visitors - showcases top quality livestock, food and drink and rural living at its most vibrant.
The Royal Bank of Scotland, partner since 1981, continues to support the Show and the agricultural industry in Scotland.
One of the biggest successes of 2015 was Scotland's Larder Live. With over 80 Scottish producers and more from around the UK and further afield, Scotland's largest food and drink event is the ultimate celebration of Scottish produce and Scottish producers.
Visitors will be treated to live cooking experiences from top chefs and given the opportunity to take home some of the hundreds of products on sale, from the finest local meat and sustainable Scottish fish to artisan preserves and botanical gins.
This year, the Show will also host the Scottish Cheese and Scottish Ice Cream Championships. These competitions have been part of the Show for some time as the ‘Dairy Awards'. However, given the huge public interest for cheeses and ice cream and the rise in artisan producers, the Highland is rebranding and re-launching the awards as the Scottish Championships. The championships are open to any producer from anywhere in Europe, and the crème dé la crème from both industries will be battling it out to impress the talented taste buds of the judges.
Food to go
The 2016 Show will also see the continuation of the Royal Highland Show Food Charter launched in 2014.
Working alongside on-site caterers, the Show has devised a strict food charter that all food-to-go outlets must adhere to. The charter requires that only ingredients that have been locally produced and ethically sourced be served at the Show. This ensures that quality is high and Scottish farmers and growers are supported, wherever possible.
The Highland's big attraction is without doubt the high quality livestock - with more than 5,000 of the finest cattle, sheep, goats and horses, not to mention poultry, heading for the showground in June.
With generations of careful breeding, years of expert husbandry and months of meticulous preparation, the animals are world class and represent the finest in Stockmen's skills: a win at the Highland has been proven to increase demand and the value of the award-winning stock.
The Royal Highland Show is the largest equestrian show in Scotland with almost 3,000 horses and ponies competing in classes for light and heavy horse and other disciplines, such as private driving and heavy horse turnouts. It is also a focal point for showing the best of the best in Scotland's native breeds such as, Clydesdale horses, Highland, Shetland and Eriskay ponies.
Over 2,200 riders are expected to compete in an impressive array of equine sections and classes from top class international riders to young and emerging talent. There are 34 categories in total, including 39 much sought after Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) qualifiers. The Highland has been given a qualifier for the Ridden Clydesdale class therefore Scotland's famous native breed will be represented at the inaugural British Ridden Heavy Horse Championship at HOYS.
The Highland is the premier show jumping event for Scotland and the North of England with a Grand Prix with £18,000 in prize money, a challenging International Stairway, an Olympic standard all-weather surface jumping ring and a total prize fund of £48,600. There are also a number of Scottish championship finals, including Scottish junior riders, over the four days.
An agricultural shop window
The vast majority of machinery and equipment manufacturers, dealers and specialists are represented at the Highland, giving everyone involved in the sector a unique opportunity to review the latest releases and developments all in one place. All the major players agree the Show is a ‘must attend' from a number of key business objectives. Over 90% of the 2015 agricultural trade stands exhibitors have rebooked for 2016, showing that confidence in the Show is high.
In 2016 the Royal Highland Show will relaunch its main indoor shopping area as the ‘13th Avenue Arcade'. Attractive and distinctive branding, a fresh look and feel and a new hospitality feature will give visitors a relaxing and tempting experience.
The 13th Avenue Arcade will offer everything from luxury fashions, arts and crafts, to homewares and gardening accessories with the chance to pick up the latest country style or rural life inspired art, soft furnishings or ceramics.
Grass roots learning
More than 30,000 children are expected to visit the Show this year. The Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) will provide free interactive activities for school groups and the public at the RHET Education Centre.
With the help of RHET coordinators, partnership organisations and volunteers, there will be a number of interactive sessions running during each day, and on the menu will be cooking, baking, seafood tasting, science experiments and much more.
The place to do business
The Highland, as well as playing a significant role in supporting the Scottish agricultural industry, has a much wider impact on the Scottish economy generating around £46.2 million each year in additional economic benefits through visitor and exhibitor spending. It is estimated that the Show generates 7,250 bed nights and supports 155 full time equivalent jobs as well as all the direct costs related to putting on the event.
The Show is not only economically important, but also plays a key role as a forum to highlight and discuss some of the crucial issues in politics today. The first day of the 2016 Show falls on the same day as the European Referendum vote. Top political figures will be attending the event to discuss how the outcome will affect agriculture, food and drink and business.
The Royal Highland Show…live!
2015 saw the Royal Highland Show launch its first live streaming service, with over 15,000 people in 47 countries logging on across the world to watch live coverage of the event. This year, ‘RHS Live' will be even bigger. Viewers can log on and catch up on all of the action. There will be everything from livestock judging and show jumping to fashion shows, live cooking demonstrations and behind the scenes action.
The Royal Highland Show, the best of farming, food and rural life the summer's most surprising event - takes place at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Edinburgh from Thursday 23 June to Sunday 26 June.