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All The Fun Of The UK Fair!

Don’t the Brits just love a good fun fair? Mushy peas, candy floss and the adrenaline of the fast rides, nothing really compares! And it hasn’t just been in your life that we have celebrated fun fairs, it has been going on for centuries. Fairs are mainly to celebrate your community and welcoming outsiders into your town or village. They almost always have a dual purpose of business and pleasure. That’s why we see all the traveller’s caravans parked up next to your local fun fair, and prices usually heightened on the more popular days. You’d usually see fairs held in autumn, just after harvests. And in the springtime, when travel becomes easier as the winter passes.

History of Fun Fairs

The first ever fairground rides appeared in the eighteenth century, usually made of wood and cheap metal. Groups of boys would operate the rides manually! Fairs would also have an array of market stalls where people could buy meat, groceries and other essentials that they may not be able to get on a normal day. But today this is rare, as most stalls now only contain sweet treats and food like hot dogs or burgers.

It would also not be unusual to see wild animals in cages for entertainment purposes, freak shows and wrestling challenges. Which are now banned due to the push on health and safety and stopping animal cruelty (and so it should!).

Frederick Savage, an agricultural engineer, came up with a way to power riders through steam engines located in the centre of the ride, this consequently transformed the fairground into what we see today.

Traditional Market

Fairground Rides Today

Because of this discovery about steam fueling fairground rides, it has allowed technology to progress and make rides bigger and better. There are now tonnes of ways to throw passengers around. Thrill rides have become very popular and new ideas and styles of rides are welcomed. Filling gaps in the market.  Although, as there are restrictions to spaces in the area of the fair, it’s hard to compete with the rollercoasters we see in theme parks and amusement parks!

Fairground Today

Types of Fairground Rides

The Helter-Skelter

First recorded being in the UK in October 1905 at Hull Fair.  The Helter-Skelter is a spiral slide wrapping around a colourful tower, using mats to slide down. A lot of fun for the younger kids!


Merry Go Round

The carousel appeared in the 19th Century powered by steam. The fun horses and magical music make you feel like your riding with it!


The Pirate Ship

The Pirate ship, originally named ‘The Ocean Wave’ was created in 1893, and introduced to the public in 1897. Swinging back and forth as if you’re sitting on the deck at sea!

Pirate Ship


There’s plenty more too, and if you’re now in the mood for an adrenaline rush, and a bag of sugar doughnuts, the next fair is Loughborough Fair!

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