Thousands of travellers, gypsies and tourists have descended on the picturesque town of Appleby-in-Westmorland for its annual horse fair. The world's biggest gathering of its kind, the fair is expected to attract about 10,000 gypsies and travellers and a further 30,000 visitors.

The fair is held in the Cumbrian market town every year in early June. Gypsies and Irish travellers come from all over Britain to buy and sell horses, meet friends and potential wives or husbands, and celebrate Romany culture.

The horses are washed in the River Eden and groomed before being ridden at high speed along the "mad mile" for the viewing of potential buyers.

This year's fair runs from 4 to 10 June. IBTimes UK shares some of the sights from the first day.

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Travellers wash their horses and traps in the River Eden during the Appleby Horse Fair in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria, EnglandChristopher Furlong/Getty Images
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Travellers wash their horses in the river Eden as part of the annual Appleby horse fairPhil Noble/Reuters
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A baby girl looks at a horse after it emerged from the river Eden at Appleby-in-WestmorlandPhil Noble/Reuters
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Young travellers ride their horses along the main road in Appleby during the annual horse fair Phil Noble/Reuters
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A girl travels in a miniature horse-drawn carriage along a street in Appleby-in-WestmorlandOli Scarff/AFP
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Young travellers parade their horses (and their tattoos) through ApplebyChristopher Furlong/Getty Images
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A traveller falls off his horse as he washes it in the river EdenPhil Noble/Reuters
appleby horse fair
A young traveller rides into the river Eden at Appleby-in-WestmorlandPhil Noble/Reuters
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Travellers drive their traditional Romany caravans along the main road in Appleby-in-WestmorlandPhil Noble/Reuters
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People watch as travellers wash their horses and traps in the River EdenChristopher Furlong/Getty Images
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Travellers park their horses and carts outside the fish and chip shop in ApplebyPhil Noble/Reuters
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Children eat ice cream on the opening day of the Appleby horse fairPhil Noble/Reuters
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A farrier works on a horse at the side of the road at Appleby-in-WestmorlandPhil Noble/Reuters
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People ride in a horse-drawn trap past a sign for Romany Way in the town of Appleby-in-WestmorlanOli Scarff/AFP
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Young women wander round food stalls on the opening day of the annual Appleby Horse FairOli Scarff/AFP