15 December 2021
With this year marking its 50th running, the show boasts many traditional favourites, such as the Shetland Pony Grand National and the Christmas Finale, but also top-class action from across the disciplines, including the FEI World Cup Dressage competitions. Of course, there’s an array of world-famous dressage and show jumping stars to see too – such as Olympic champions Ben Maher MBE and Charlotte Dujardin CBE – and even a special Christmas market featuring more than 250 stores! So, here’s our essential guide to before, during and after the festive show…
First of all, you’ll need to travel to ExCeL. ExCeL is located in the historic Royal Docks area of London where Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is about to relocate to. It’s one of the world’s most connected venues with two DLR underground stations (and soon to be three once Crossrail arrives), a dock edge, a cable car, an international airport and more than 3,000 parking spaces. So plenty to choose from.
Remember, if you are driving, that ExCeL is now in the Ultra-Low Emission Zone which may see additional charges depending on your vehicle so be sure to check here
And for help planning your journey visit here
Don't forget, if travelling by DLR, you need to alight at the East Entrance, Prince Regent.
Safety remains the number one priority for everyone visiting ExCeL. To ensure this, and in-line with government guidance, visitors aged 18 or over will need to show one of the following:
- Proof of double vaccination
For UK-based visitors, this can be easily done using the NHS app to obtain your NHS Covid Pass. For international visitors, the equivalent from their country of origin is fine.
- Proof of a negative lateral flow test
This needs to be an email/text result within 48 hours of your visit to the event submitted via the NHS App/Online using the QR code on the top of the test strip.
- Proof of presence of Covid-19 antibodies
Please note if you’re exempt from being vaccinated or tested then proof of this should be taken to the show.
Upon arrival, the ExCeL security team will ask for a quick visual inspection of one of these and no personal data will be recorded or stored. Of course, if you feel unwell or are displaying any of the symptoms of covid-19 please do not attend.
And, following the Government’s recent announcement, it is mandatory that face coverings are worn in all areas of the show unless you are exempt. This includes the grandstand seating, though of course, visitors can remove masks to eat and drink.
To find out more, including the measures in place to ensure your safety click here
There’s so much to see and explore across the five days it’s important to make sure you don’t miss anything. Each day has an afternoon performance starting at approximately 12pm and an evening performance getting underway at 6pm. Each climax with the traditional Christmas finale prize giving. Running alongside the Main Arena is the Live Zone – located in the shopping village – featuring riders, influencers and the legendary Teddy the Shetland! The Live Zone is free and even has a service (run by the Pony Club) who will look after your shopping for you whilst you enjoy the live performance…for a small donation of course!
Standout performances in the Main Arena include the puissance competition on Thursday evening, with the action turning to five-star and national show jumping and driving later in the week. The feature show jumping classes at the show are the FEI World Cup and the grand prix, providing a great spectacle.
There are also two classes of action-packed FEI driving World Cup competition, and on Monday morning, the prejudging of the BSPS Ridden Mountain and Moorland championship will take place ahead of the presentation and final results being announced in the afternoon performance.
The Kennel Club’s agility competitions - which are always a highlight - are spread across the week and don’t forget the Shetland Pony Grand National on Friday which is always a crowd pleaser.
Click here to view the full schedule.
For those wishing to stay there are several hotels on the ExCeL campus with a range of room prices to suit all budgets. Simply click here to find out more.
When it comes to food & drink, visitors are spoilt for choice both inside and outside the venue. Within the main ExCeL boulevard is range of cuisines to suit all, including the newly launched KERB offering some of London’s best street food vendors.
There’s also the Champagne Taittinger Bar & Brasserie, housed in its own exclusive tent and boasting its own outdoor garden with views on to the collecting ring. The Winter Bar is open to all and located in the shopping village with a ‘Narnia-style’ theme serving hot, cold and alcoholic drinks, as well as tasty treats.
Then, for those that wish to spread their wings further, there is a wide selection of bars and restaurants in and around ExCeL, with the likes of Canary Wharf and Greenwich on the doorstep too.
For more suggestions click here
For those unable to attend in person then you can of course enjoy more than 16 hours of live coverage of the Horse Show on BBC Two and their digital platforms, with catch-up options on BBC iPlayer too. Finally, you can follow all the action and behind-the-scenes insights by following the ExCeL and London International Horse Show social channels.