Appleby Horse Fair
The colourful spectacle of Appleby Horse Fair has its origins circa 1685. Held in early June every year at Fair Hill this event is a major cultural gathering for travelling people and attracts huge numbers who come to witness horse sales and the tradition of washing horses in the river.
Appleby Horse Fair takes place on the first week in June from Thursday to the following Wednesday, but it is essentially a weekend event with the main days being Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The 2020 Appleby Horse Fair did not take place due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The dates for the 2021 Appleby Horse Fair will be: Thursday 3 June to Wednesday 9 June (with the main days being Thursday 3rd, Friday 4th, Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th.)
- If you come on the Monday or Tuesday afterwards you may be disappointed as there will be VERY little to see.
Please note: The fair is not an organised event and visitors attend at their own risk.
The main activities take place on Fair Hill with most horse trading taking place at the crossroads and on Long Marton Road where horses are shown off by trotting up and down at speed. Many of the horses are taken down to 'the Sands', near the town centre and beside the river Eden, where horses are ridden into the river to be washed.
Some general advice for visitors:
- Be prepared for bad weather. There is little to no shelter available. Fair Hill can be muddy, so bring wellies!
- Don't bring your dog, as they can startle and frighten horses and don't leave dogs in cars in hot weather
- Don't approach or pet horses without permission of the owner
- Keep children under supervision at all times and especially around animals
- Arrive by train or bus to avoid congestion and parking fares - visit our How to get to Eden webpage for more information
If you are visiting for the day, using public transport to travel to Appleby is recommended, because of the problems with congestion and safety when travelling by car.
- Appleby is on The Settle to Carlisle Railway line and Appleby Station is only a short walk from the town and Fair Hill
- Buses are also available, though there may be some disruption during the week of the fair, so please check in advance
- If you are travelling by car, be aware in the lead up to, during and at the end of the Fair, there will be a lot of horse drawn vehicle and additional traffic in and around Appleby
Where to stay
Most accommodation in Appleby is booked for the following year when visitors leave. Accommodation within the Eden area, and further afield in Penrith and Ullswater can be found in our 'where to stay' section.
- The Appleby Horse Fair website, has more information on visiting the fair, including parking information