Olympia- Evening or daytime?

Fruitcake

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Thinking of going to Olympia this year but can't decide between day and evening. I'm wondering if going down on the train (from north east) for the day and returning that night is doable or if it'd be too much of a rush. What time does the daytime performance usually start and finish? Would there still be enough time for shopping do you think?

Thanks in advance!
 

Malibu_Stacy

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Daytime performance is normally 12.30/1 to 4/5ish depending on exact classes. Often there's preliminary judging or a class on in the morning too. If you're going for a daytime show I'd recommend getting there early (shopping opens 9.30/10) and shopping before the show; the shopping is rammed after the daytime show as you have people from both daytime and evening performance.

Evening performance normally ends by about 10.30, though can run longer. Personally in the past I've found it a bit nerve racking getting the train back after an evening performance as its often the last train of the night. Instead the last few times I've been to an evening show I've stayed at a youth hostel 10 mins walk away, much less stressful than having to rush for the train!
 

Shay

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It can be quite a bun fight getting out to the trains after the evening performance. You can leave before the finale but that seems a pity.

The first two days the tickets are usually for both day and evening - thats probably the best of both worlds. But if you have to choose I would suggest daytime. Aim to get there 9.30/10. The shopping will be tolerable until about 11.30/12. There is usually a warm up class, or you can get into the seating to watch the pros ride around the arena (Although I wish they would put hats on. I know they don't have to under FEI rules but there are kids watching.) You can even get a second go at the shopping if you need to once the evening performance starts.
 

Supertrooper

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Both times I've gone it's been for evening performances, we've got there by lunchtime. Had lunch at pizza express (we had WFP sitting at the next table one time). And then gone in to shop, can't remember what time the eve performance started but there was lots of hanging round and not many places to sit whilst waiting.

Loved the actual performances, especially the FEI extreme carriage driving, that was AMAZING.

Luckily we got a mini bus so got dropped off and picked up right outside. The trains didn't look fun as packed!!
 

ester

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I actually really like doing both :eek3:

but if you want to get back it really depends what time your last train back is (we have previously driven to a bigger, closer station to have the option of a later train back).
 

Dubsie

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I'd book somewhere to stay overnight, go down at leisure in the morning, lunch in George's cafe around the corner in Blythe Road (very good value), shop all afternoon, watch evening performance, stay over, get up early, hit the London shops for last minute Christmas presents, making my way leisurely over to the train for home
 

Fruitcake

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Thanks for the replies.

Our plan was either to go down for the evening performance and stay over or possibly do the afternoon one and come home afterwards.

It's only three hours on the train so From what people have said, going down to get there for about 10, shopping and eating, watching afternoon performance and then maybe shopping again once evening performance has started before getting train back at about 7ish Sounds doable, do you think?
 

suffolkmare

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I used to go to Olympia regularly when I lived in West London, and have also done so since moving back to Suffolk. Either plan sounds good, but if you want a pleasant shopping experience and/or have any children with you I'd go for a daytime performance with plenty of time for shopping beforehand before it gets too packed. I haven't been for a few years now, but hopeful that the Riding Club might organise a coach trip down on a day I can do! Whatever you decide you'll love the event, and hopefully travel (it's winter...) won't be too stressful!
 

Notimetoride

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I'd book somewhere to stay overnight, go down at leisure in the morning, lunch in George's cafe around the corner in Blythe Road (very good value), shop all afternoon, watch evening performance, stay over, get up early, hit the London shops for last minute Christmas presents, making my way leisurely over to the train for home
This pretty much what we do (its our annual holiday!) we book two days accom at a hotel about a 10 min walk away. Travel to london on Wed evening. Stay over Wed evening. and watch the dressage on the telly. Head to Olympia Thurs morning and shop till our afternoon performance. Watch the afternoon performance. then more shopping. back to hotel in the evening and watch the puissance on the telly. have a mooch around London on the Friday then head home.
I cannot lie, i used to LOVE going to watch the puissance live, but it is so so busy. Doing it our way, we can shop whilst half the world are in watching the evening puissance performance. Winner winner chicken diner !
 

MuddyMonster

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Thanks for the replies.

Our plan was either to go down for the evening performance and stay over or possibly do the afternoon one and come home afterwards.

It's only three hours on the train so From what people have said, going down to get there for about 10, shopping and eating, watching afternoon performance and then maybe shopping again once evening performance has started before getting train back at about 7ish Sounds doable, do you think?
In theory, yes. However I can get to Central London in 60-90 minutes on the train & I have tended to leave after the afternoon performance - I wouldn't stay to shop.

Partly, as the last few years I've found you can rely on the trains less & throw in winter weather into the mix and an hour journey can easily take much longer. It's the reliability of trains that actually stop me doing an evening performance & have put me off going all together the last few years. A few years ago the train companies couldn't guarantee any trains after 4pm ...!

Personally, I don't stay overnight as it makes a reasonably priced day out much more expensive - but I think it may also be a case of as it's local, I take it for granted (as I won't go to Hickstead unless it's on a free ticket! ) but would do regularly stay overnight for Your Horse Live & HOYS and not think twice about the cost of dinner, and overnight stay & all the associated costs.
 
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