Olympia with an 8 year old - advice please

(18 Posts)
HomageToCannelloni Thu 13-Jun-13 18:58:50

Never been to Olympia. Dd which is 8 and has ridden since she was 4, is pony club mad, when she is not riding the is playing with toy horses or pretending to ride round the garden. She was glued to the eventing at the Olympics and I think perhaps she might enjoy this as her Xmas present from DH and I.
So....which day is best to go on? I've read the programme but am shamefully ignorant about what some of it means (gosh I feel like a dumbass saying that!)
Am assuming afternoon programme best for dd as she may be tired?
Is it worth the price to pay for the Top Price seats with access to members area etc with an 8 year old?
Which part of the arena is best to sit in?
Any old time Olympia visitors give me some top tips for getting the most out of the day?

Thanks for any hints!

The lovely thing about olympia is you get a good view from everywhere. If you can in future though the very front row is good for catching rosettes, especially if you are at one end of a long side or another.

The members area bit is not very exciting. It does have a sit down area to eat where the food is ok, but its pretty busy. It also does have a very quiet area where you can squat on the floor if you need down time.

The shopping is a big part of it, it gets very busy so allow plenty of time to get through the crowds. Watch out for when autographs are being signed. dd met her hero Ben Maher once and he was lovely.

Food wise, there are lots of stalls round the edge selling junk food. Also a pizza express, but seating is tricky. Outside about 5 minutes away theres a nice cake shop but I forget how we found it.

We always do an evening show, probably started when dd was 9 I think. It's so exciting that they dont seem to get tired - lots of razmataz going on and the jumping sessions arent too too long. I probably wouldnt go and see the dressage with a youngster, we are going to the puissance which is very exciting!

If you are going to an evening show dont attempt to do any shopping when the afternoon crowd is coming out. Mayhem!

Thats all I can think of for the moment. Feels like Christmas has started once we get to Olympia smile

Pixel Thu 13-Jun-13 20:20:24

I usually take something to eat. I don't want to use up all my precious shopping time queuing for food wink (plus I'm a skinflint).

The only seat I ever had that didn't have a good view was in a corner and high up. It wasn't that I couldn't see the arena, but there was a spotlight that kept swinging round and dazzling me which got very annoying after a while.

I have been in the members area. Only advantage I found was less waiting for the ladies!

Littlebigbum Thu 13-Jun-13 20:40:35

Oh Shetland racing!!!,
Big pocket shopping is amazing

HomageToCannelloni Thu 13-Jun-13 20:44:46

Thanks BBK! We had a look at available tickets and the part she'd really love to see is on during term time. (they break up late this year) thnking we may wait til next year and try and buy front row tickets as you suggested!!

If you want front row, you need to get them the day they come out ideally.

Lovesswimming Thu 13-Jun-13 23:05:26

I have for 4 years let my daughter have the day off! Some people say naughty but actually she has missed at school - watching videos, a class Xmas party or something else unimportant and as an ex teacher I know not alot goes on in school the last 2 days of Xmas term! Olympia usually does clash with the end of term unless u go at the weekend. The last one was the only one where the Friday wasnt a school day. We started going when she was 7 and the evening show wasn't too late. To help we went early in the morning to shop (it says shopping entry at 1pm for evening ticket holders but we've never been stopped going in at 10am) then take the shopping back to where we are staying, have food etc and go back for the evening show. The front row was too close to see the whole ring for children so anywhere along the sides is good

Lovesswimming Thu 13-Jun-13 23:08:35

Oh and my eldest daughter caught Tina fletcher's Rosette from a few rows back, it was going quite far back but she lept in the air with her very long arms!! So u may still get a chance!

HomageToCannelloni Thu 13-Jun-13 23:15:06

I bet she was soooo excited! So what is there shopping wise?

HomageToCannelloni Fri 14-Jun-13 06:21:41

Thanks all, great to have some seasoned advice! So not front, front but close, and early for shopping, and maybe take the day off so she can see Mini major! smile

envy loveswimming

Butkin Fri 14-Jun-13 13:34:04

We've take DD every year since she was 4 (10 this year) and we've got tickets for the Sunday morning/afternoon performance (as usual) as we like to see the Mountain and Moorland Championship and they have the same general programme (agility dogs, show jumping, Shetland pony Grand National, main show and finale) at every performance.

I don't think you need to be on the front row - all the seats have great views.

We do usually get the block towards the front and they come with members tickets but - other than to use the loos upstairs with shorter queues - this is something we could do without because it is really more just a grown up restaurant and champagne bar.

There are loads of fast food style outlets to eat from - nicer than most venues but fairly pricey.

I'd take her on the weekend afternoon performance if you don't want to miss school (amazed yours hasn't broken up by then) if you can get tickets. I am sure that whatever ticket price you pay you'll have a great day. She'll love the show and you'll all love the shopping.

If driving I do recommend booking a reserved car park ticket for the multi story next day) in advance - well worth it for peace of mind...

I would say you should definitely go for it....

PS very nice Pizza Express next door for tea afterwards...

Butkin Fri 14-Jun-13 13:37:14

On other thing - people ask me for a comparison between HOYS and Olympia. We love both but they are completely different style of events.

At Olympia it is like going to a theatre. You sit down for each performance and it just happens in front of you in a brilliantly choreographed segment - never too long for little ones - with shopping interludes. All children will enjoy it - even if they aren't really horsey (dogs help!!).

HOYS is hard-core horse/pony. It is mostly showing and show jumping classes and whilst is show cases the best in equestrianism it isn't for people who don't love equines. Having said that we'd never miss HOYS!!

newfavouritething Fri 14-Jun-13 19:32:19

Possibly a bit of a dim question, but shopping seems to feature strongly as part of the attraction, but what do you actually shop for? Is it pony stuff? Christmas stuff? General crafty summer show stuff? Is it end of year discounted stock?

It's all pony and rider stuff and lots of ridiculously expensive pointless potions. Dd usually buys a sweatshirt, some riding gloves and perhaps some wellies! I have no idea why she likes the shopping so much, but I figure that if she and I are doing things happily together, then that's got to be good!

Pixel Fri 14-Jun-13 21:14:55

Oh yes, tons of lovely horsey stuff, most people can be seen lugging around at least one new rug or numnah that they didn't know they needed wink.
Plenty of other stuff though if you are doing a bit of last minute Christmas shopping, pet things and clothes and art and scarves and handbags and shoes and toys etc etc. There's a 'village' of stalls like a market but better quality and I always get myself lost and can't remember which bit I've already done.

Pixel Fri 14-Jun-13 21:16:43

We once took an enormous dog bed back home on the very crowded train grin.

Butkin Fri 14-Jun-13 22:12:46

We tend to buy our horsey stuff at HOYS. There is actually very few high end tack shops at Olympia. You can buy a decent variety of stuff (and we're regulars at Just Chaps and Snuggy Hoods) but I'd say over 50% of the stalls sell "Christmas gift" type items inc loads of jewellery stalls, dog things, fashion wear (often with horsey theme), loads of shops selling pictures/paintings/sculptures, handbags etc

Always get the feeling it is a Londoners place to buy last minute Christmas gifts with a horsey spin rather than somewhere proper horsey people would buy things for themselves.

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