Horse&Hound’s essential guide to the London International Horse Show

  • Many of the world’s most famed dressage and show jumping stars, as well as the 40 leading native ponies in the country, will be attending the London International Horse Show at its new home at the ExCel centre (Thursday 16 December — Monday 20 December).

    If you need some help planning the best pre-Christmas horsey trip, make sure to read H&H’s essential guide to the festive show.

    As well as the show’s traditional favourites, such as the Shetland Pony Grand National and the Christmas finale, the London International Horse Show also features top class action from across the disciplines, including the FEI World Cup Dressage competitions, proudly supported by Horse & Hound.

    The puissance competition returns to conclude Thursday’s evening performance, with the action turning to five-star and national showjumping and driving later in the week. The feature showjumping classes at the show are the FEI World Cup and the grand prix, providing a great spectacle.

    There are also two classes of action packed FEI driving World Cup competition, and on Monday morning, the prejudging of the BSPS Ridden Mountain and Moorland championship will take place ahead of the presentation and final results being announced in the afternoon performance.

    Finally, the Kennel Club’s agility competitions, which are always a highlight of the show, are spread across the week.

    Possibly the biggest change to the show is the new arena which has 20% more seats than in previous years. All top and second price seats will offer more leg room and a wider seat. In addition, there is a brand new lighting system which will use 30% more LED sustainable lights than in previous years. 

    Travelling to the show

    Be aware that the ExCel is in the ultra low emission zone and you may need to pay more to enter this zone. Check your vehicle registration number here to find out what charges apply. Find out more about how to get to the London International Horse Show.


    Find out about all the London International Horse Show tickets, including how H&H readers can save money.

    Where to stay

    There are several hotels, in all price ranges, nearby to the venue. Find out where to stay near the London International Horse Show.

    Where to eat

    The catering outlets that visitors will see around the show include: The Bagel Factory, Oh My Dog, The Bridge Restaurant, Chop’d (salad, soups, wraps and stews), Costa Coffee, Subway, Chozen Noodle (fast fresh noodles and sushi), Upper Crust (fresh baguettes and tasty coffee), Wrapid (gourmet food in unique flatbreads), E16 Cafe (coffees and pastries). Others on site include Costa, Prime Burger, Nazari (Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Food), Fundi Pizza, Viva! Burrito, and Rotisserie Chicken.

    In the Winter Market, also located in the shopping village, artisan vans will offer pizza, coffee, deli and pastries, Nazari (Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food), hot dogs and deep fried ice-cream.

    The Champagne Taittinger Bar and Brasserie will be housed in its own exclusive tented structure. It boasts its own outdoor garden with views on to the collecting ring. All top price ticket holders will receive badges with their tickets which will give them access to the Champagne Taittinger Bar & Brasserie. Visitors can enjoy dishes such as fish pie, macaroni cheese, smoked salmon plate, prawn cocktail or lobster along with a wide selection of drinks from the bar.

    The Winter Bar is a new bar in the shopping village with a Narnia-style theme complete with polar bear. It is open to all visitors and will offer hot and cold soft drinks alongside alcoholic drinks. It has a snack menu including sharing dishes such as smoked salmon, charcuterie or cheese platters.

    Whilst the show does not allow eating in the arena seating, there is plenty of seating outside the arena where you can eat the food you have brought with you or food you have purchased at the show.

    Other features of the show

    The Live Zone: Featuring riders, drivers, influencers and the legendary Teddy The Shetland. The Live Zone is located in the shopping village and it’s free to anyone who wants to stop for a moment and listen to their favourite celebrity.  

    Shopping drop off: Pony Club members will be running the Shopping Drop Off. It gives all visitors the chance to leave their bags of shopping whilst they watch the action in the main arena (for a small donation to the Pony Club).

    New merchandise range: This has been introduced this year in collaboration with Phillips UK. Visitors can purchase a wide range of options, including many ‘Team London International’ equestrian items. 

    Covid restrictions

    All visitors aged 18 and over are asked to show one of the following at arrival at the venue: Proof of double vaccination or a negative lateral flow test. Please note that UK-based visitors can use their NHS Covid Pass and international visitors, the equivalent from their country of origin. If a visitor is exempt from being vaccinated or tested then proof of evidence for exemption should be taken to the show. 

    Exploring outside the ExCel

    There are several eateries within walking distance of the ExCel. A few options include:

    • China Palace (11 minute walk)
    • Docklands Bar & Grill (10 minute walk)
    • The Windjammer (22 minute walk)
    • Fox Connaught (5 minute walk)
    • The Oiler Bar (13 minute walk)
    • Tapa Tapa (3 minute walk)
    • Nakhon Thai Restaurant (14 minute walk)
    • Bonnane Restaurant Pizzeria (14 minute walk)

    There are other things to do around the ExCel which may appeal to non-horsey members of your party, including:

    • Royal Victoria Dock and Bridge (11 minute walk)
    • Brick Lane Music Hall (16 minute walk)
    • The Dockers Sculpture (10 minute walk)
    • The Crystal (13 minute walk)
    • Thames Barrier Park (20 minute walk)

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