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Appleby Horse Fair

Appleby New Fair runs for a week in June each year. In 2012 it will be held between Thursday 7th and Wedneday 13th. The main viewing days will be Friday 8th to Sunday 10th.

It is probably the best known of the horse fairs in the UK and is attended by hundreds of Romany families, who travel from all points of the compass to meet up with old friends and conduct business. It is world famous, the largest of its kind in the world, and attracts a huge gypsy gathering.

There has been a Fair here since 1685, under the protection of a charter granted by James II.

During the Fair, horses may be found everywhere - in the river, on its banks, along the roadsides or tethered outside hotels and shops. Many travellers stay in Dufton, along with their horses and their Vardas – the traditional horse-drawn bow-top caravan. The same families come to the village every year and have become familiar faces.

Visitors flock to see the washing of the horses in the River Eden at Appleby, as the travellers make them ready to be shown off. The tradition of racing and trotting the horses along Flashing Lane, part of the Long Marton road which leads on to Dufton, takes place throughout the day. In 2011, around 10,000 travellers and 30,000 visitors came to the fair. The resident population is only 2,500.

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