Gypsy Horse Fair – Stow on the Wold

Posted on June 28, 2013

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This is one of our favourite day trips out – a day when you almost feel like you’re in another country. The gypsy horse fair at Stow on the Wold, in the Cotswolds, is a twice a year gathering (in May and October) that attracts travellers from miles around.

Dating back to 1476 the fair is still used for the buying and selling of horses and the beautiful traditional caravans. But it is also very much part of the gypsy social calendar and all of the fun that brings!

1. Why go?

Because it is an experience like no other. It is a mixture of going back in time and being in a different country because everything seems so different. There are horses everywhere, beautiful traditional gypsy caravans, the children are dressed in the most amazing clothes, almost Victoriana and it is just a wonderful atmosphere of life going on at a totally different pace.

Some of the tweed children’s clothes for sale

2. What is there to do?

The main thing is to just wander and soak up the atmosphere. There is so much to see that a walk around the main part of the fair which is in a circle will take an hour or so and is an experience in itself.

There are things to buy but that’s quite a bit of tweed and very, very frilly clothes for children and then lots of horse related items. (Last time I fell in love with a mini gypsy horse caravan – which was £1000 so out of our league at the moment unfortunately, and also the most amazing tricycle which was made to look as if it was being pulled by a horse…that one I must go back and get!!)

The children’s caravan I fell in love with!

3. And with children?

Again it’s about soaking up the atmosphere – they will love seeing the horses and caravans. There are some toys to buy, horse-shaped balloons etc and a few small fairground type rides but the main thing is just the exposure to something totally different and really interesting.

4. Don’t you feel out of place?

In the beginning it can be slightly intimidating. There is lots of hustle and bustle and horses being ridden, sometimes somewhat recklessly, down the main walkways. But once you’ve been there a little while it’s easy to relax – and there is a fairly large police and RSPCA presence just to reassure anyone who needs it! Personally I’ve never seen any trouble and have felt completely at ease there.

If you’re looking for someone really different for a day trip out, you can’t beat the Stow on the Wold Horse Fair.