Our afternoon with Zippos Circus


Welcome signOn Thursday Zippos Circus rolled into town, and on Friday morning I was amongst a select few taking a peek behind the scenes as part of the free Animal Open House event. This event is open to all the public.

Inside the big top at Zippos Circus

During the session we were introduced to the ringmaster, Norman Barrett MBE, who talked us through the history of Zippos Circus. He also told us about the variety of acts, many of whom are the fourth or fifth generation of circus performers, and spoke with genuine affection about the animals who are part of their family.

Norman Barrett MBE with his budgies at the Animal Open House event

I’ll be honest here, I had never been to a proper circus before because I was sceptical about how the animals were used and treated. Animal welfare, as regular readers of my blog will know, is hugely important to me. With Zippos Circus, I really need not have worried. The animals – horses and budgies – were in beautiful condition. They were perky and very inquisitive. The budgies happily hopped onto a finger when it was offered, and the horses didn’t flinch as saddles and bridles were put on them. They were all treated with care and patience. In fact the horses ended the first half of the live circus show and I popped out to see them afterwards. I found them contentedly munching on hay in clean temporary stables, in front of their relaxation paddock which they get turned out into for grazing, exercise and fresh air. I chatted to a member of staff about the handling of their exercise routine and was impressed with how well thought out it was. It reminded me of the routine that we have with our family dog, who is a highly intelligent Labrador Retriever and requires a great deal of thought, time and attention too.

Horse at the Animal Open House

During the Animal Open House Norman Barrett spoke passionately about how the animals are their responsibility, and that they take that role very seriously. I have had the privilege of keeping several pets over the years, and the love and affection for the animals with Zippos Circus was clear to see.

If, like me, you have questions, then the Animal Open House is a must see. Zippos Circus run them at every venue and it was a lovely relaxed affair, perfect for pre-schoolers. The staff are so friendly and helpful, and willing to answer any question that you throw their way.

Yesterday we returned for the live performance. The show itself was incredible. Engaged from the word go my boys absolutely loved it! There was Odka who was marvellous with hula hoops (although frankly if you can keep one off the ground for longer than a few seconds you’re doing well in my books). Toni and Nikol who are a husband and wife duo and gave a stunning knife throwing performance. Kimberley on a swinging trapeze who whizzed directly over our heads with no safety net, Nicholas Souren, a juggler, and Emilion Delbosq who provided a modern day clown act (more Norman Wisdom’s Pitkin than Stephen King’s IT you will be glad to hear). Plus many many more!

Brightly lit hula hoops

Husband and wife knife throwing act

Kimberley on a swinging trapeze

The juggler at Zippos Circus

Clown with smoke rings

It was hard to choose a favourite act. My boys loved Norman Barrett with his budgies, I was amazed by Juma the contortionist and my husband rather enjoyed the thrilling finale of the Lucius motorbike troupe. They expertly rode at speed around the inside of the Globe of Steel, which split apart midway through the performance to truly demonstrate the show stopping skill of the bikers.

All in all, would I recommend Zippos Circus? Yes. Would I go to see it again? Absolutely.

To find out more about Zippos Circus and to take a look at when they are next in your area, please see their website here.

Please note we were gifted tickets in return for sharing our experience on social media. This blog post was entirely my idea to give you a better flavour of the show. As always, all opinions are my own. For further details, please visit my disclosure page.

16th October 2017


I love zippo circus. I always take the boys to the winter wonderland christmas circus. It is amazing

It was brilliant! The performers are so clever.

Sarah - Mud, Cakes and Wine

Never been but sounds really good and great to hear the animals are happy and well looked after

That was my biggest concern before I went, but the Animal Open House gave a very interesting insight into their care and put my mind at rest.

I’ve always been a bit bothered about shows with animals too. This one however looks and sounds brilliant. I wish they were touring nearing to us! x
Thanks for joining #Blogstravaganza

Yes, they really looked after them. There was genuine affection there. They tour every year so maybe next year…?

This looks like a fab day out! I’ve never been to the circus, but it’s definitely on out to do list! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

This one was excellent, worth checking if they’re in your area 🙂 xx

This is really interesting. I’ve always been loathe to go to the circus because did animal cruelty etc but this sheds a different light in things. May give it a go next time they’re in town! #blogstravaganza

I’ve always been the same and I was a little nervous ahead of the Animal Open House, not knowing what to expect. I found the animals to be very relaxed and in excellent condition. The handling of them was superb and the staff were keen to talk about how they are responsible for them, not that they own them. There was no pressure on them and it was much like observing a dog in an agility class. They all seemed very happy!

This looks so much fun and energetic performance e to keep the little ones interested. X #blogstravaganza

It was! Our boys loved it 🙂

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