How to get to Crufts - even if you're not a show dog!
Updated: Mar 21, 2020
Crufts is the biggest event in the UK dog community and is held every year at the NEC in Birmingham. The show attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors over 4 days every March and is broadcast on TV all over the world.
This year, Archie went to along with his friend Betsy to see what all the fuss is about!
The NEC is around a 3 hour drive from London or you can take a train from London Euston to Birmingham International in just over an hour. Dogs travel for free on all UK train networks. Birmingham International station is connected to the NEC so you can enter mostly under cover. If you are driving, we also recommend you park at the station car park. It has plenty of spaces and is actually closer to the NEC building than their own car park. Parking costs £12 for all day and can be pre-booked.
When you arrive, you will be directed by staff to the "dog" entrance. This year it was at Hall 3 (not sure if this changes each year) and you can come and go through that exit all day for toilet breaks.
Staying in Birmingham
If you want to experience the whole 4 days, you may want to stay overnight nearby. We stayed at The Hallmark in Birmingham courtesy of Pets Pyjamas.
We wouldn't particularly recommend this hotel as they don't allow dogs in the restaurant or bar but it was all that was available last minute so we would advise you plan ahead as any pet friendly hotels in the area get booked up quickly.
Taking your dog
There are a few ways you can take your dog to Crufts.
Galen Myotherapy is a branch of canine massage therapy and each year they look for dogs to treat at the show. You can register via their website or Facebook page and you and your dog will get free access to the show plus a free treatment. You will need consent from your vet beforehand. Archie has regular myotherapy sessions at home so do ask us if you have any questions or visit their website.
Every exhibitor at the show is allocated a number of free tickets and dog passes so if you know anyone who is exhibiting or if you a really good customer of theirs, just ask them if they have any going spare. In return you can give them a shout out on social media.
You may be invited to go along with your dog as a pet influencer or brand representative. Archie works with Edgard & Cooper so was invited to go along to help spread the word about their fantastic range of food. Use code "FOURLEGGEDFOODIES" to get 20% off your first order.
Getting around the show
Obviously there are a lot of dogs and a lot of people at the show so we wouldn't recommend you take your dog if they are nervous in crowded, noisy places or if they are not great around other dogs. All visiting dogs must be kept on a lead at all times and be discouraged from making any mess. There are exercise areas inside each hall which are fenced in sandy areas - you still need to pick up the poop in these areas.
Crufts is huge! There are 5 halls of show rings and hundreds of exhibitors selling everything you could possibly want for your pooch. So obviously your dog needs to be fit and healthy as they will be walking around with you all day.
Some of our smaller friends travelled around in a pet carrier or stroller - both of which can be purchased at the show.
We went on the opening day which is usually quieter as it's a Thursday but you may want to time your visit to see a particular show group competing so check the schedule well in advance as this changes every year.
Enjoy the show
Visiting dogs aren't allowed in the main show rings where agility and show finals take place and they are not allowed in the human toilets or restaurants but they are allowed everywhere else. There are plenty of places to get sandwiches etc where the dog is allowed and tables and chairs for that well earned rest. You can watch the breed shows in the smaller show rings.
If you plan well, you can enjoy a great visit to Crufts with your dog and get to see hundreds of dog products (most have show discounts) your dog can sample some new treats and you can even pop by and see your favourite charity.
Our friend Hattie, who has been to Crufts for the last 3 years, recommended we visit the Jeep stand. They take a quick snap of your dog and then print the photo onto a black canvas bag, which came in handy for all that shopping! This is completely free and if you get there before the queues it only takes 5 minutes.
Betsy was our 'Best In Show' but being SO fabulous is hard work!!