06 March 2013

6 tips for making the most of Crufts*

Well, Crufts is nearly here.  Rather than days to go, it’s more a case of hours remaining before the doors open and the hordes of dog enthusiasts fill Halls 1-5 of the NEC, Birmingham.  Just in case you’ve been hiding under a rock and aren’t sure, Crufts starts tomorrow, Thursday 7 March, and will finish on Sunday 10 March with Best in Show.

I love Crufts and have been lucky enough to have had the chance to blog about it each year.  This year is no exception and I’ll be blogging and posting photos thanks to Samsung.

Navigating the 5 halls and making the most of your time at Crufts is a skill in itself – particularly if you’re only there for one day. So, if you want to maximise your time at Crufts, here are my top six tips to ‘survive’ and get the most out of your Crufts’ visit.

Ditch the heels

1. Give the heels a heave-ho… 

Speaking from experience - I have, on one occasion, gone so far as to buy a new pair of flat, comfortable boots whilst working at Crufts – comfortable shoes are a necessity! I only had low heels but they took a right battering – as did my poor aching feet.  Walking through the halls every day is tiring and before you know it you’ve covered a few miles and more than likely achieved the recommended 12,000 steps per day!

2. Layer on the layers…

The halls at Crufts are all air-conditioned.  However, depending on what time of day you arrive the temperature in the halls varies.  First thing in the morning, before the crowds, the halls are cool…. by the afternoon though, it’s a different story.  The halls are packed and it can be rather warm – especially if you’ve been pounding the avenues in search of the ultimate doggy bargain.  My tip is to wear loose layers and remember to keep your cool.

3. Don’t leave the water to the Spanish Water Dogs

Crufts is thirsty work.  There are plenty of places to buy drinks from milkshakes to coffee to good old water, however they do come at a cost and often with long queues.  If you can bring some bottled water, you’ll save yourself from paying over the odds and wasting valuable shopping or spectating time in queues!

4. Navigating the halls

Spread over 5 halls, it can take a while (particularly when it’s busy) to walk through the halls to reach another hall.  One of the best tips I was given was to come out of the halls into the Piazza and then use the Piazza as your main navigation point – providing short cuts to each of the halls. It saves on the shoe leather and can give a much welcome breather from the crowds.

5. Plan your day

Buying a guide to Crufts is well worth the investment.  You can buy them before you enter the halls and they provide a day by day what’s on guide as well as an index to all the trade stands.  If you get the chance, it’s worth stopping for a coffee in the piazza and then planning your day.  Crufts time seems to go by very fast!

6. Enjoy your day

Me & a Borzoi say hello at Crufts 2011
There are so many great things to see and do at Crufts.  It’s not just dog showing – there’s so much more.  The shopping is great, the events in the arena and rings around the halls are amazing - from Staffordshire Bull Terrier agility to KC Canine Good Citizen displays – there’s something for everyone.
This year, on the Samsung stand in Hall 3 (stand 72), the theme is ‘CARE home’ – creating a space to relax and share time with dogs. There’s a chance to see and interact with Samsung products such as: experiencing stress reducing music for dogs, experiencing the 3D SMART TV experience (including playing Angry Birds) or even creating your own photo postcard to email to friends.

Whatever you decide to do at Crufts – enjoy your day, don't forget your purse – and who knows we may even bump into each other.

*Sponsored post.  My tickets, camera and Crufts experience have been provided by Crufts and Samsung

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