21 interesting and fun facts about Gypsy horses

When’s the Best Day to Go to Appleby Horse Fair in 2024?

You’ve heard about the Appleby Horse Fair, the biggest and wildest gathering of Gypsies and Travelers in Europe. Every year, thousands descend on the small town of Appleby in Westmorland, England for a wild week of horses, trading, and serious partying. If you’re thinking of checking it out in 2024, you’re probably wondering when the best time to go is. Should you head there on the first day when the excitement is building? Or is it better to wait until mid-week when the festivities hit their peak? Well, friend, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’ll walk you through the fair’s schedule for 2024 and give you the insider tips on the prime days to visit so you can experience this legendary event in all its chaotic glory.

Trust me, with huge crowds and limited accommodations, timing is everything for the Appleby Horse Fair.

When’s the Best Day to Go to Appleby Horse Fair in 2024?

Overview of Appleby Horse Fair

The largest horse fair in Europe spanning over 5 days

Appleby Horse Fair is one of the oldest horse fairs, dating back to the 12th century. Every year, over 10,000 gypsies and travelers descend upon the small town of Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria. As the largest horse fair in Europe, it attracts visitors from all over the UK and beyond.

A vibrant cultural event that showcases the Gypsy and Traveller community

The fair is a celebration of Gypsy and Traveler culture. You’ll see traditional wagons, horses, dancing, and musical performances. Many travelers still live in bow-top wagons and horse-drawn trailers, keeping historic traditions alive. The fair also offers an opportunity for matchmaking and trading horses.

The best time to experience the fair is in the middle of the week

While the fair officially spans Thursday to Sunday, the weekend days, Friday and Saturday, tend to be the busiest and most exciting. This is when you’ll see the largest number of horses and bow-top wagons on display. Saturday also sees traditional horse racing and shows, but some travelers will have started to leave for other fairs and events across the country.

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To experience the fair at its peak, aim for Thursday or Friday. You’ll be immersed in a sea of colorful wagons, horses, and traditional Gypsy clothing. The sounds of music, laughter and hooves on cobblestones will transport you to another time. An event like no other, Appleby Horse Fair offers a vibrant glimpse into Britain’s nomadic past.

When’s the Best Day to Go to Appleby Horse Fair in 2024?

Appleby Horse Fair 2024 Dates

The historic Appleby Horse Fair typically runs for the first full week of June. In 2024, the official fair dates are June 6th to June 12th. The Best Days to Visit are the first 3 days.

The first couple of days are usually the hectic as travelers and their equines arrive, so Thursday and Friday are ideal if you want to avoid big crowds. By Saturday , the fair is in full swing. This is when you’ll see colorful wagons, fast-trotting stallions, and the famous river crossings where horses and riders ford the Eden River.

Friday and Saturday are the liveliest days with lots of entertainment, but also very busy. If you have kids, these days will thrill them the most. On Sunday, many travelers start heading home, but there are still plenty of activities. Some say this last day has a slightly more poignant feel as people bid farewell to friends until next year.

No matter which day you go, arrive early, wear comfortable walking shoes, and bring rain gear – you never know with English weather! An umbrella, rain jacket and possibly boots are a good idea. And of course, don’t forget your camera. The fair only comes around once a year, so you’ll want to capture all the sights and sounds of this historic event.

Whether you’re most keen to see the horse trading, experience the Gypsy lifestyle, shop the stalls, or just soak in the atmosphere, Appleby Horse Fair promises to be a memorable day out for all. Make a date for June 2024 and travel back in time at one of the oldest horse fairs in the world.

Choosing the Best Day to Attend Appleby Horse Fair


Thursday is when many Romani families begin arriving with their horses and wagons. You’ll witness a steady stream of traditional gypsy caravans rolling into the fairgrounds throughout the day. In the evening, live music, dancing, and storytelling commence around the campfires. The atmosphere is buzzing with anticipation for the days ahead. If you want to experience the fair gradually building up and soak in the vibes of the gypsy community coming together, Thursday is ideal.


By Friday morning, the fair is in full swing. The horse market opens, with many buyers and sellers haggling over prices. You’ll see dazzling horses being paraded and shown off. Competitions and races are also held, where riders demonstrate their skills. The music and partying continue into the night. Friday tends to be one of the busiest and most entertaining days, so go early and expect big crowds.


The horse market and showing activities peak on Saturday. You can spend hours wandering the stalls and watching riders put horses through their paces. Many visitors come specifically on Saturday to purchase a new horse. The partying reaches its height Saturday night, with music, drinking and revelry continuing until dawn. Saturday sees the largest attendance, so be prepared for dense crowds and traffic. Get there at the crack of dawn to beat some of the throngs.


On Sunday morning, many of the travelers begin packing up and departing for home. The horse market winds down, with final deals being made. By afternoon, the people start to take their seats on the river banks to watch the infamous wash where travellers wash their horses in the River Eden. Take plenty of sun screen as this usually gets hot over this weekend.


Sunday offers a more relaxed vibe and smaller crowds, allowing you to leisurely explore the fair at your own pace. You may even score some deals from sellers wanting to lighten their remaining stock. If a lower-key day is appealing, Sunday can be a great choice.

In the end, the day you choose depends on the experience you’re after. No matter which you pick, Appleby Horse Fair is sure to be an unforgettable event. Just go, and immerse yourself in the vibrant gypsy culture!

When’s the Best Day to Go to Appleby Horse Fair in 2024?

Frequently Asked Questions About Visiting Appleby Horse Fair

When is the best time to visit?

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The horse fair officially runs for a week, but the best time to visit is usually in the end of the week, from Thursday to Wednesday. This is when you’ll see the largest number of Gypsy and Traveler caravans and horses. The weekends tend to be the busiest with tourists, so the fair can feel overcrowded. If you want to experience the fair at its peak, aim for visiting final couple of days.

How much does it cost to attend?

Admission to the horse fair is free for all. Once inside the fair, you can expect to pay for parking and any food, drinks or souvenirs you want to buy. Some of the local pubs, restaurants and food stands will be open, as well as vendors selling traditional Gypsy crafts and clothing.

Is there accommodation available in Appleby?

If you want to stay overnight in Appleby during the horse fair, book your accommodation well in advance. Local B&Bs, hotels and campsites fill up quickly. Some visitors choose to stay in nearby towns like Penrith, Kirkby Stephen or Kendal and drive in for the day. Alternatively, you can park your caravan or campervan on site at the fair for a fee. Just note that facilities are basic, and it can get noisy at night!

What are the essential things to see and do?

No trip to Appleby Horse Fair is complete without seeing the horses bathing in the River Eden and the colorful Gypsy caravans and wagons. Take time to explore the fairgrounds, watch the horse trading and enjoy some traditional live music. Other must-sees include the horse and hound shows, fortune telling, bareback riding and sulky racing.

Is Appleby Horse Fair kid-friendly?

Appleby Horse Fair is a very family-friendly event, especially for kids and teens interested in horses, history and different cultures. However, very young children should be closely supervised at all times due to the large crowds and number of horses. Teach kids to approach horses slowly and calmly, and never walk behind them. With some caution, Appleby Horse Fair can be an exciting educational experience for children of all ages.


So there you have it. Though any day at the Appleby Horse Fair promises to be exciting, based on the info we just covered, your best bet is to go on the busiest day, which is typically Saturday, June 8th in 2024. Show up early to get a good spot to see the action. And don’t forget your camera to capture those gorgeous horses parading through town! Hopefully these tips help you plan the perfect day at one of the biggest horse fairs in Europe. Just don’t forget to pace yourself – with so much to see and do, you’ll need plenty of energy. Enjoy!

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