New £11.5million exhibition hall to debut at Great Yorkshire Show

The new exhibition hall at the Great Yorkshire Show showground, Harrogate

The new exhibition hall at the Great Yorkshire Show showground, Harrogate - Credit: Archant

Unique agricultural events centre will boost Yorkshire economy

James Cooper, chairman of the Yorkshire Event Centre and Heather Parry Yorkshire Agricultural Societ

James Cooper, chairman of the Yorkshire Event Centre and Heather Parry Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s deputy MD have a go on the dodgems in the new £11.5m exhibition hall Photo: Giles Rocholl - Credit: Archant

Organisers of the Great Yorkshire Show are showing off their biggest ever investmemt in the future with a new £11.5million exhibition hall, the largest project in the Yorkshire Agriculture Society’s recent history. It will be the setting for a wide range of events from conferences to dinners to trade shows and at the Great Yorkshire Show it becomes a vast food emporium.

The new building, at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate is said to be the largest single-span space in the north of England and is the size of three and a half Olympic swimming pools. It has a 36 metre glass front elevation, with an eight metre high Yorkshire stone wall on one side and a copper wall on the other. It is is the society’s biggest capital investment and largest project in its 180-year history.

The society is best known as the organiser of the annual farming showcase, the Great Yorkshire Show, but is involved year round in supporting the farming and rural industry with all profits from the Yorkshire Event Centre – its commercial arm, given back to the society to fund its work.

Heather Parry, the society’s deputy chief executive, told 250 invited guests to the exhibition hall opening that they wanted to create a building to rival any other exhibition space in the UK. ‘Our new hall demonstrates our commitment to the farming community, to our existing and future customers, and is a positive contribution to the Yorkshire economy,’ she said.

The versatile exhibition hall will host conferences and dinners Photo: Giles Rocholl

The versatile exhibition hall will host conferences and dinners Photo: Giles Rocholl - Credit: Archant

The Bishop of Leeds, the Right Rev Nick Baines, who officially opened the building said Hall 1, which provides 4,320m2 of exhibition space, fitted perfectly within its surroundings on the 250-acre showground in Harrogate. ‘Not only is it unique, it is also ambitious and it shows something about Yorkshire: that we want to aim high. It is a fabulous building,’ he said.

For the opening, the hall was set out to showcase its versatility in staging different events including an exhibition of luxury cars, a dinner for 400, conference seating and even a funfair ride. Guests were invited to play table tennis and ride the dodgems as well as feast on Yorkshire canapés and hear music played by the Linus Quartet, a Leeds College of Music ensemble.

Nigel Pulling, chief executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, described the opening of Hall 1 as a ‘momentous day in the society’s history’. ‘Our new hall captures the essence of the society – innovative and practical, and we’re thrilled with the result of all the hard work,’ he added.

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The hall replaces the original 1960s building which had come to the end of its natural life. As well as the main exhibition space, the new building includes a café, large foyer, seminar/workshop space and offices.

The Grand Parade of Cattle in the main ring

The Grand Parade of Cattle in the main ring - Credit: Archant

The first event to be held in the new exhibition space is the society’s Countryside Days when 6,000 school children will use it as their base for learning more about farming and where their food comes from.

And more than 130,000 visitors will be able to enjoy the building during the Great Yorkshire Show (Tuesday, July 12th-Thursday, July 14th) when it will be transformed into a food emporium. Inside there will be stands with plenty of food and drink to taste and buy, a Food Theatre with a packed programme of demonstrations and talks, the popular Great Yorkshire Cheese and Dairy Show as well as the ‘Journey of Food’ which outlines the stages between field and fork. It is also the setting for a full range of rurally based seminars for those who want to combine business with pleasure.

Sarah York, the society’s president, and the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Barry Dodd, cut a celebratory five-tier Yorkshire pork pie cake at the hall opening as a nod to the enormous importance of food producers to Yorkshire’s success.

The three-day Great Yorkshire Show is an opportunity to see some of the very finest animals compete for top awards in a variety of classes but there is also a vast range of shopping stalls ranging from quality clothing to fine handicrafts as well as leading high street names. Top tractor and agricultural equipment manufacturers won’t be far away either.

Champion Masham lambs

Champion Masham lambs - Credit: Archant

Television gardener Carol Klein will be making an appearance at The Garden Show and students from Askham Bryan College near York will race against the clock to create a garden within 45 minutes – then take it down, only to rebuild it later in the day, and the same again the next day, and the next!

World class sheep shearers are again heading for the show to compete for coveted rosettes while the Great British Pole Climbing Championships turn heads as experts race to the top of the 80ft poles in a bid to break the world record. Don’t miss the dry stone walling demonstrations, the mock grouse shooting display in the Country Pursuits Area, the hilarious One Man and His Pig competition and the latest designer looks on the catwalk in the Skipton Building Society Fashion Pavilion.

For the latest show information go online to

About the society

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society was established in 1837 with the primary purpose of promoting agriculture, including holding an agricultural show, and for the furtherance and support of farming in the region. This ethos continues today, through its flagship events, such as the Great Yorkshire Show and Countryside Live, which this year takes place from October 22nd-23rd.

Year round it has an active programme of events and activities supporting farming and rural communities, particularly in the North of England. These include its Future Farmers of Yorkshire Group, the Farmer-Scientist Network, the Yorkshire Rural Support Network and an extensive range of education activities aimed at increasing young people’s knowledge of the important role British farmers play in producing our food and managing the landscape.

In 2009, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society established Fodder, the award-winning regional food shop and café and the society’s commercial activities are carried out through the Yorkshire Event Centre and Pavilions of Harrogate which run a broad range of events from the Great Yorkshire Showground. For more information see