The show that amused Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria wasn’t easily pleased, but one thing that did tickle her fancy was our County Show – or Agricultural Show as it was known back then. She was a regular visitor, exhibited sheep here from her Osborne estate, donated silver cups that are still in use, and became our show’s first patron in 1882. The Queen also gave us our Royal title – making us one of only seven in the country with Royal patronage. We’re now very proud to be The Royal Isle of Wight County Show.

Queen Victoria wrote in her journals about the Island’s Agricultural Show on Tuesday 23rd July 1889:
“The prize beasts were brought round for me to inspect, & after that we saw the horses jumping.”

The first Show was held in 1833 and 191 years later, it’s still an important part of Island life. Volunteers from the Royal Isle of Wight Agricultural Society organise the event, and you can find out more about this non profit making organisation below.

Over the past two centuries, this hasn’t always been an annual occasion, but that’s changing. Thanks to our sponsors and visitors, and lots of hard work from our volunteers, we are delighted to make this show something that we can all look forward to every summer. Plus the great news is that any money we make is used to support young people on the Island who want to learn agricultural skills. You can find out more about our Rural Careers Fund here.

If you would like to get involved in organising the next show, then please get in touch.

Enjoy your day!

Fact time

  • The very first Agricultural Show was held in 1833.

  • Queen Victoria was a regular at the show and exhibited her sheep. She gave the show its prestigious Royal title.

  • In 1967, the show moved to the County Showground, Northwood, where we’re still based – and it was opened by the Governor of the Island, Fleet Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

  • The show has always been a big part of Island life. Schoolchildren used to be given the day off school to attend the event.

  • The show hasn’t taken part every year due to foot and mouth – but that’s thankfully in the past.

  • We’ll be celebrating the the 121st magnificent show in 2020. Come and join us!

The organisers of the show:

The show is planned and organised by a group of dedicated volunteers from the Royal Isle of Wight Agricultural Society. This is a member led registered charity that works to:

  • Support Island agriculture and the conservation of the natural environment.

  • Raise awareness and promote understanding of rural issues to all Island residents.

  • Offer financial support to help Island students to further their studies in agriculture, the natural environment and related subjects, through the Rural Careers Fund. Any profits from the Show will be used to fund this scheme.