10 tips when visiting Ally Pally (or other large shows)

With Ally Pally just a day away, I thought I would share my top 10 tips for surviving a big show.

1. Book in advance – a bit late now, but to save money it away pays to book in advance, for Ally Pally the group ticket is the best value, especially as it can be used in different ways, and you don’t need to book a specific day.

2.  Transport – think about how you will be getting to the venue, parking charges can bump up the cost, at Ally Pally, the parking is free, with courtesy busses up the hill, or if you are able – public transport links are great with courtesy buses from Wood Green tube (or Alexandra Park Station)

3. Big bag – It is useful to have a big bag that is easy to carry, everyone buys more than they think they will, and it is easier to pop everything in one big bag rather than carry lots of little ones from each stand.

4.  Workshops – it is better to book ahead for workshops, as many sell out before the show, however if you would like to be a bit creative, go early to the Learning Curve and see what is left – if you can, book for the middle of the day!  see number 6…

5.  Quietest day – Ally Pally especially gets incredibly busy, especially on Saturday, but there is usually a quieter day or two, for Ally Pally, Wednesday as a newer first day, Thursday late night and Sunday are all a bit quieter

6.  Early bird – in order to be able to browse at your leisure, be an early bird!  get to the show as soon as it opens, rest at lunch time, when the show is ultra busy, then wander around in the afternoon. as it gets quieter again.

7.  Use a map, I usually get hold of a plan as soon as I can – before the show if possible or as soon as I get there, I look up the exhibitors that I really want to see, and mark them on the map, I am then very disciplined (or a little ocd)  and walk the show in a grid so that I get to see everything.  I also make notes first time round, if there is anything interesting, and then go back later.

8.  Food – here we have two choices, we know food is expensive, so if you don’t want to spend out on food (and spend on yarn instead!) take a picnic and possibly buy drinks (they are heavy!) or decide to treat yourself and not moan about it!!

9.  Flat shoes! – There is a lot of walking involved – be prepared and wear your most comfortable shoes.

10. Finally – Enjoy it!  Take lots of photos, be inspired by the products, and colour, chat to the stall holders, in the main they love to have a chat about what they are passionate about!

I hope these tips will help you to plan and have fun on your visits.

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