As I type this it’s 6am and I’m sitting in our Peterborough Airbnb apartment (sorry… flat) looking at the massive pile of stuff that the three of us bought at the trade fair yesterday. We spiraled. It was glorious.
That first travel day was a whirlwind, just getting here. I don’t sleep on planes and we had an overnight flight, so instead I watched 4 movies. Luckily I found a second wind when we landed, and we successfully navigated our way to the airport train, then through our changeover to the tube at Victoria Station at rush hour (omg), and we actually made it to King’s Cross without getting lost. That’s a small miracle.
We had some time to kill while waiting for Bobby, who’s flight was a few hours behind us. We explored King’s Cross and St Pancras and wandered around the surrounding area a bit.
Once Bobby arrived we walked down to platform 9 3/4 into the absolute bedlam of the Harry Potter shop. It was smaller than I expected, and SO PACKED, but it was fun to see anyway. I grabbed a souvenir for Hillary and a little something for myself, because I’m definitely a nerd. Did NOT wait in the queue to get a picture with the cart in the wall though, because that was just crazy. I was already pretty peopled-out for one day.
After that we boarded our next train, to Peterborough. We managed to make it there just fine too (I find trains to be very confusing but after this trip I might be cured), and make the half mile walk to our Airbnb without getting lost. What are the odds of making the whole journey without getting lost at all? I was shocked.
The walls are also glittery. It is a sight to behold.
We hit up the grocery store, found a good pub to grab some dinner at, and then we all passed the eff out by 9pm. That was a long ass day.
The next morning we were on the 8:42 train to Stamford, then made the walk to Burghley, arriving at the trade fair by 9:30. I can’t even explain how many vendors there are and how far it all stretches. Seriously it’s twice as big as Kentucky, with a wide variety of vendors from home goods to casual clothes to saddles to jumps to footing to feed to regular tack shops. So. Many. Tack Shops. Also SO MUCH FOOD.
We had planned on the whole first day being for shopping and course walking, and I’m glad we did that because it took us about 6 hours to make it through all the vendors. And we actually didn’t go into that many of them, mostly just the tack shops.
I did see so many pompom helmet covers that I wanted to buy about two dozen of them. Just about every tack shop has them, and there are two vendors dedicated solely to custom helmet covers. I was geeking out. Sadly i don’t need anymore covers so instead I hit up my barnmates to see if anyone wanted me to bring one back, which turned into a really fun personal shopping experience.
After we finished shopping we started walking the course, which led us to a whole new section of shopping that we had missed. That one sucked me in real bad. So then we had to course walk carrying like 50lbs of shopping bags, since we were nowhere near a shoppers drop and they close at 5 anyway. But whatever, we walked it with all of our shit. Not the whole course, but most of it, to plot out which jumps we want to see most on Saturday. These jumps are big and gnarly AF. Like… Jesus. No thanks, hard pass. Burghley is a whole ‘nother level.
We also managed to fit in a bit of dressage during our breaks, catching some of warmup and a few tests – Will Coleman, Sarah Bullimore, Ben Hobday, Ariel Grald, Katie Preston, and Doug Payne. It’s really cool how close you can get to everything, and you can literally be standing in line for ice cream and watching dressage at the same time. It’s a lot more accessible than Kentucky.
The only kind of disappointment so far is the lack of Burghley swag. They have some, a collection from Joules, but there’s not much variety and it’s all expensive. The only thing I really liked was a jacket that was $200. So… no. No swag for me.
Instead I’ll just pretend that my new shipping halter, gloves, hunt bridle, ice boots, and toiletries bag are my official Burghley souvenirs.
Today is the Young Horse Championships and stallion parade, so we’re catching an earlier train and preparing for a day in the bleachers. Which I’m not too upset about considering we walked a good 15+ miles yesterday and my backpack rubbed a hole in my armpit. Tough life here at Burghley y’all.