(800) 523-5842

 


– DEAL$
& SPECIAL OFFERS

 

HOT TRAVEL BARGAINS!

 

GET BARGAIN ALERTS

 

IN$TANT DI$COUNT$

 

GET A FREE PROPOSAL!

 

GET A FREE CATALOG

 

-2018-
DESTINATIONS

MANY PRICES STILL WELL
BELOW 9 YEARS AGO!

 

BRITAIN &

IRELAND

 

SCOTLAND
'THE BRAVE'

 

IRELAND

'RAINBOW'S END'

 

ENGLAND
'THE LIONHEART'

 

WALES
'THE PENDRAGON'

 

LONDON

'WORLD CAPITAL'

 


 
 

PARIS

'LA BELLE'

 

 

PARIS + LONDON

 


SWI+ZERLAND

ALPINE SPECTACLE

 


NEW!

 

ITALY

BELLA!

 

 


 

 YOUR DREAM TRIP!  

CUSTOM-MADE

 EUROPE 

FRANCE

GERMANY

NETHERLANDS

SPAIN

 

 

KOOL!

bermuda

A PRETTY PLACE PLUS

 


 

HOT!

ICELAND

 

COMBINED

ITINERARIES

 

 

SCANDINAVIA

THE GREAT NORTH

 

NORWAY

 

SWEDEN

 

DENMARK

 

COMBINED

ITINERARIES

 


 

NEW

ZEALAND

ROAD TRIP!

 

NORTH ISLAND

 

SOUTH ISLAND

 


 

CURRENTLY
FEATURED @
HOMEATFIRST.COM

 

EVENTS CALENDAR

 


 

HOME AT FIRST

 

CONTACT INFO

USA & CANADA
(800) 523-5842

WORLDWIDE
+1 610 543 4348

info@homeatfirst.com
 


HOME AT FIRST

Vacations

 TRAVEL TO DREAM DESTINATIONS WITH ALL THE COMFORTS OF HOME 

SCOTLAND

IRELAND

ENGLAND

WALES

LONDON

PARIS

SWITZERLAND

ITALY

ICELAND

NORWAY

DENMARK

SWEDEN

BERMUDA

NEW ZEALAND

ALSO— CUSTOM-MADE TRAVEL TO CONTINENTAL EUROPE: FRANCE, GERMANY, HOLLAND, and SPAIN.

Current Events

AT HOME AT FIRST DESTINATIONS

SEPTEMBER 30 — OCTOBER 7

BALLINASLOE OCTOBER HORSE FAIR

CENTRAL IRELAND

HARVEST FAIRS & FESTIVALS

IN THE BRITISH ISLES & SCANDINAVIA

          HARVEST TIME HAS BEEN CELEBRATED PROBABLY SINCE THE FIRST HARVEST. ACCOMPANIED BY FEASTING, DANCING, SPORTS, AND GAMES, HARVEST FESTIVALS AND FAIRS DIFFER WIDELY IN DETAIL BUT NOT IN PURPOSE. SUMMER CONCLUDES. WINTER IS COMING. STOREHOUSES ARE FULL. WEATHER AND DARKNESS PROMISE TO REDUCE TOMORROW'S TIME OUT-OF-DOORS. HARVEST FAIRS & FESTIVALS LET US CELEBRATE THE PRODUCE AND LIFESTYLE OF THE WARM, SUNNY SEASON NOW ENDING, AND CONGRATULATE US THAT WE ARE PREPARED FOR THE DARK CHILL OF THE COMING WINTER.

photos © Home At First

 

CALENDAR OF SELECTED EVENTS

OCTOBER and

NOVEMBER 2018

 
Festivals, Holidays, Country Fairs, Sporting Events,
Theater, Cultural Gatherings, and Special Performances
Happening Near
HOME AT FIRST Lodgings throughout

BERMUDA, BRITAIN, ICELAND, IRELAND, ITALY,
NEW ZEALAND, PARIS, SCANDINAVIA,
& SWITZERLAND
Information about HOME AT FIRST’s travel program to:

LONDON  ENGLAND  SCOTLAND  WALES  IRELAND  PARIS  SWITZERLAND

ITALY SWEDEN NORWAY DENMARK ICELAND BERMUDA NEW ZEALAND


NOTE: For many of the LONDON events listed, HOME AT FIRST guests at the
Apartments at St. Katharine’s Marina and at The Brewery Apartments
will take public transportation from the Tower Hill Underground Station,
8-10 minutes walk from St. Katharine’s Marina and 10-12 minutes
walk (or a 5-minute bus ride) from The Brewery.

 

 

– ONGOING EVENTS OF NOTE –

 

Ongoing daily
  LONDON, ENGLAND   THE TOWER OF LONDON: “Prisoners of the Tower”
          
HOME AT FIRST’s London guests can’t miss visiting their famous neighbors who were incarcerated and may have met their violent and often gruesome ends at the Tower of London. This special exhibition focuses on the best-known prisoners, including explorer Sir Walter Raleigh, Queen Anne Boleyn, Queen Catherine Howard, Lady (& Queen for a few days) Jane Grey, Nazi leader Rudolph Hess, and terrorist traitor Guy Fawkes, among others.
 


THE TOWER OF LONDON AT THE TRAITOR'S GATE
Photo © Home At First

LOCATION: The Tower of London is just west of the Tower Bridge between the River Thames and Tower Hill Underground Station north of the river.
ADMISSION: £26.80/adult, £20.90/seniors & students (16 & up), £12.70/child (5-15), £48.10/family (1 adult + up to 3 kids 5-15), £68.10/family (2 adults + up to 3 kids 5-15).
OPENING TIMES MARCH through OCTOBER: Tu-Sa: 9AM-5:30PM; Su-Mo: 10AM-5:30PM. Last admission: 5PM.

OPEN TIMES NOVEMBER through FEBRUARY: Tu-Sa: 9AM-4:30PM; Su-Mo: 10AM-4:30PM. Last admission: 4PM.

GETTING THERE: walk 10 minutes traffic-free from HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON apartments at St. Katharine’s Marina or 12 minutes (with minimal traffic) across the Tower Bridge from HOME AT FIRST’s apartments at The Brewery.
MORE INFO, see:
TOWER OF LONDON
 


Ongoing, evenings from 9:30PM-10:05PM
  LONDON, ENGLAND   - THE TOWER OF LONDON
“The Ceremony of the Keys”

           700-year-old ceremony of the locking of the main gate of the
Tower of London carried out each evening by the Chief Yeoman Warder of the Tower accompanied by an escort of guards. Passes are essential and may be obtained
ON-LINE HERE. Tickets for this ancient ceremony are available to the public, free of charge, but subject to a £1 booking charge. Book a
t least two months in advance (3-6 months or more if you hope to attend during June-August). Maximum Group Size: 6 persons April-October; 12 persons November-March.
LOCATION:
The Tower of London main (western) entrance.

ADMISSION: free!

NOTES: Visitors must be in possession of the original ticket issued by the Tower of London at entry. Photography not permitted. No bathrooms or refreshments available.
GETTING THERE: walk 10 minutes traffic-free from
HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON apartments at St. Katharine’s Marina or 15 minutes from HOME AT FIRST’s apartments at The Brewery.
MORE INFO, see:
CEREMONY OF THE KEYS
  

Yeoman of the Guard at The Tower of London's Main Western Gate. Photo © Home At First.
 
Yeoman of the Guard at
the Tower of London's
main western gate

Photo © Home At First


 

THE LORD MAYOR'S COACH, MUSEUM OF LONDON
Photo courtesy the Museum of London

Ongoing, daily from 10AM-6PM 
  LONDON, ENGLAND   

THE MUSEUM OF LONDON
9 Free Galleries Cover a Half-Million Years of London

          London’s best museum offers nine galleries with permanent exhibitions covering the human history of London chronologically from about 450,000BC through Roman times, the medieval period through the Tudor Dynasty, the Civil War, Great Fire and Bubonic Plague of the 17th century, the expansion of London during the growth of the Empire, the twentieth century World War years, up to the modern age when London became a world city.

LOCATION: Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN.
ADMISSION: Free to the museum & its galleries.

GETTING THERE: From HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON apartments walk 5-12 minutes to the Tower Hill Underground Station. Take the Circle Line north 9 minutes to Barbican station, then walk 9 minutes to the museum. Total transit & walking time: 23-28 minutes.
MORE INFO, see:
MUSEUM OF LONDON
.

 


Ongoing daily from 10AM
  NORTHERN COTSWOLDS - WARWICKSHIRE, WESTERN ENGLAND 
“Events at Medieval Warwick Castle”

          England’s greatest show castle offers a variety of events, including:

Grand Castle Interiors (daily): Explore the grandly furnished public halls, state rooms, and private apartments of Warwick Castle.

The Castle Grounds (daily): Explore the conservatory & peacock garden, the original Norman
castle mound, the Victorian rose garden, the River Avon and its island menagerie.

The Trebuchet & Ballista, the Artillery Fort, and the Towers & Ramparts (daily): Warwick’s own
massive catapult is modelled on the medieval siege machines that once flung rocks, manure, and dead pigs across castle walls. Warwick’s Artillery Fort shows how cannons were used to protect the castle at the end of the Middle Ages. See the war machines in operation specific dates/times.

The Bowman Show: historic archery in action twice daily.

Flight of the Eagles daily at the Birds of Prey Arena.

Warwick Dungeon (daily): Warwick’s newest attraction recreates the medieval dungeon from the time the Great Plague ravaged Warwick in 1345. The haunting, live-action experience is not for the faint hearted. An additional charge applies.

The Princess Tower (daily): up the spiral stairs to the chambers of medieval princesses.

See WARWICK CASTLE website for complete listing of events, times & dates.

The original 11th century Norman castle hill: Ethelfled's Mound viewed from a later tower at Warwick Castle. Photo by Zach Elwell © Home At First.
THE ORIGINAL 11TH CENTURY NORMAN CASTLE HILL:
ETHELFLEDA'S MOUND VIEWED FROM A LATER TOWER AT WARWICK CASTLE.

Zach Elwell Photo © Home At First

LOCATION: in Warwick, about 45 minutes NE of HOME AT FIRST’s Northern Cotswolds cottages in an around Chipping Campden. (Hint: you may want to combine a visit to Warwick Castle with a visit to nearby Stratford-upon-Avon,
Shakespeare’s home town.)
GETTING THERE: From HOME AT FIRST’S NORTHERN COTSWOLDS cottages, drive north on the B4632 to Stratford, then follow the A439 north to the A46 and the A429 into Warwick. Watch for signs for the castle.

OPEN DAILY: From 10AM-4PM daily thru October 19, then 10AM-6PM to 24OCT. Special Halloween hours 10AM-9PM 25-31OCT with special Halloween themed performances & exhibits. Open 10AM-6PM 01-04NOV; then 10AM-4PM 05-30NOV.

CASTLE ADMISSION: £28/adult, £25/child, £25/senior. Supplemental admission charged for entrance to the Castle Dungeon and/or Merlin: The Dragon Tower. NOTE: Book on-line in advance for discounted prices that can save up to 30%.

PARKING: Car lot parking from £6-£10.
MORE INFO, see:
WARWICK CASTLE

 


YORK MINSTER—

one of the world's

greatest Gothic

Cathedrals

York minster — one of the places visited by YORKWALK guided walks
Photo courtesy Yorkwalk

 

Open Daily FEBRUARY thru NOVEMBER 30, 2018.
  YORK CITY - NORTH YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND   
  “Yorkwalks”

          Guided walks through interesting parts of the medieval walled city of York offer exercise, culture, and entertainment. Standard walks offered at 10:30AM and 2:15PM daily February–November from the menu of “Roman York”, “Secret

Don't believe in ghosts? Photo © Home At First.

York”, “Essential York”, & the popular "Snickelways" tours of York's narrow back alleys. At evenings and other times Yorkwalks offer rare opportunities to see parts of York never open to the public, like their “Inaccessible & Hidden York: Graveyard, Coffin, & Crypt Tour”, “Historic Inns and Pubs Tour”, and “Choccy & Sweetie Tour”. Who wouldn’t want to wear sensible shoes on their next visit to Olde Yorke?
LOCATION: Museum Garden Gates, Museum Street, York.

GETTING THERE: HOME AT FIRST NORTH YORKSHIRE guests drive 30-60 minutes to York. Park outside the city gates (MEDIEVAL CENTRAL YORK has very little parking) and walk or take a shuttle bus into the old city.
ADMISSION: £6/adults, £5/students/kids 5-15. Supplement charged for any tours requiring entrance to York Minster.
MORE INFO & COMPLETE SCHEDULE:
YORKWALK.
  

Just seen a ghost? Photo © Home At First.


WHAT'S PLAYING IN LONDON THEATRE?

 

A REDUCED-PRICE TICKET OUTLET ON LEICESTER SQUARE
Photo © Home At First

Ongoing, daily at different times

  LONDON, ENGLAND 

LONDON THEATRE: “What’s Playing?”

   “The Woman in Black":

Long-running (since June 1, 1989) thriller. Essentially a ghost story designed to make the audience scream, shocking apparitions occur throughout the theatre at any time, terrorizing the audience. Perfect for teenagers, but nearly equally frightening to adults. Performances daily at the Fortune Theatre, Russell St. WC2B 5HHU, between Temple


 
ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE IN LONDON

tube and Covent Garden tube, between Bow St. and Drury Lane, north of the Strand and NE of Covent Garden. Rating: adults with strong hearts & teens. Runs at least thru July 27, 2019. Prices from £19.99.

  

   “The Play that Goes Wrong”: Comedy about inept amateur thespians struggling to put on a murder mystery set in the 1920s, but what can go wrong does go wrong. Winner of the 2015 award for Best New Comedy. Performances run through April 7, 2019, at the Duchess Theatre, 3-5 Catherine St, WC2B 5LA, in the Covent Garden area, 1 block north of Somerset House. Ten minutes walk NW from Temple tube; 10 minutes walk SE from Covent Garden tube station. Rating: Family (ages 8+). Prices from £24.

  

   “Phantom of the Opera”: long running Gothic musical. Performances through at least
March 2, 2019, at Her Majesty’s Theatre, 57 Haymarket SW1Y 4QL.
Near Piccadilly Circus tube. Rating: Family (ages 10+). Prices from £32.

   “The Mousetrap”: Agatha Christie’s record-running mystery continues through at least March 30, 2019 at St. Martin’s Theatre, Drury Lane, Covent Garden WC2H 9NZ.
Leicester Square tube. Rating: Family ages 12+. Prices from £19.50.

   “Wicked”: musical prequel about the witches of “The Wizard of Oz”. Performances through
at least May 25, 2019, at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, 17 Wilton Rd. London S1V 1LG.

Victoria tube. Rating: Family (ages 7+). Prices from £22.

   “The Lion King”: Long-running blockbuster with spectacular staging though at least February 10, 2019, at the Lyceum Theatre, 21 Wellington St. WC2E 7RQ at the Strand.
Temple tube (closed Sundays) or Embankment. Rating: Family (ages 6+). Prices from £39.

   “Les Miserables”: Victor Hugo’s story about the tragedies of life and indomitable human
spirit continues its long run (since 1985) to continuous critical acclaim. Performances through
at least March 2, 2019, at Queen’s Theatre, Shaftesbury Ave., Soho, W1D 6BA between Piccadilly Circus and Charing Cross Road.
Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus Tube. Musical.
Rating: older teens & adults. Prices from £36.

   “Matilda”: Roald Dahl’s children’s book about a little girl with a big imagination is staged
in London by the Royal Shakespeare Company as a musical hit appealing to adults and kids. Performances through October 20, 2019, at the Cambridge Theatre, 32-34 Earlham St, Soho WC2 9HU.
Piccadilly Circus Tube. Musical. Rating: Family (ages 6+).
Tickets from £30.

   “Kinky Boots”: Local guy/girl makes good. A lowly shoe factory owner teams with a cross-dressing singer/dancer in need of flash stilettos to pull himself by the bootstraps to the world of high fashion. Cindy Lauper's musical score fits like Cinderella's glass slipper. Performances through at least January 12, 2019, at the Adelphi Theatre, 409-412 Strand WC2R 0NS. Embankment tube, then north 10 minutes walk to the Strand. Rating: teens and up (due to immature themes). Prices from £15.

   “Everybody's Talking About Jamie”: New musical about a 16-year-old boy coming of age as "different" in today's working class Sheffield. Applies to teenagers everywhere dealing with finding themselves while tiptoeing through a minefield of bullying peers and adult expectations. Inspirational, hopeful, positive. Rated L for Liberal. Performances run at least through April 6, 2019, at the Apollo Theatre, 31 Shaftesbury Ave, W1D 7ES, 1.5 blocks northeast of Piccadilly Circus. Three minutes walk NE from Piccadilly Circus tube; 10 minutes walk NW from Leicester Square tube station. Rating: ages 15+ (some strong language and mild sexual references). Prices from £26.

ADMISSION: Full-priced tickets from £10-£100 (not cheap, but often better than Broadway).

TICKETS: Order your tickets in advance on-line via LONDON TOWN. Pick them up at the theatre on the day of performance. Discount tickets available!

GETTING THERE: From HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON apartments walk 5-12 minutes to the Tower Hill or London Bridge Underground Station, then take the District, Circle, or Jubilee Line west.

Covent Garden and South Bank Theatres: Within 10 minutes are most of the tube stops
convenient for Covent Garden and South Bank theatres (Mansion House, Temple, Embankment, Southwark, Waterloo, Charing Cross, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus).

For West End theatres in Soho: From Tower Hill tube take the District Line 6 stops & 10 minutes
to Embankment station. From London Bridge tube take the Jubilee Line west to Waterloo. At
Embankment or Waterloo, change to the Northern Line (direction Edgeware) and travel north to
Leicester (“Lester”) Square or to Tottenham Court Road.

For West End theatres near Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus: From Tower Hill tube take the
District Line west 6 stops and 10 minutes to Embankment. From London Bridge tube take the
Jubilee Line west to Waterloo. At Embankment or Waterloo change to the Bakerloo Line north
to Piccadilly Circus or to Oxford Circus.

For theatres near Waterloo station: From Tower Hill tube take the District Line 6 stops and 10
minutes west to Embankment station, then change to the Northern Line south one stop to
Waterloo. From London Bridge tube take the Jubilee Line west one stop to Southwark tube or
two stops to Waterloo tube.

Total transit & walking time from Tower Hill or London Bridge Underground Stations to almost
any theatre in London’s six principal theatre regions (Barbican, South Bank/Bankside, Covent
Garden, Soho, Oxford Circus, Sloane Square): less than 30 minutes.
 


COURTAULD

IMPRESSIONISTS

From MANET to

CÉZANNE

 

The National Gallery

London

Now thru Jan. 20 2019

EDGAR DEGAS 1874 Two dancers on a stage PROMOTING THE  EXHIBITION
Image courtesy the National Gallery, London

Ongoing through January 20, 2019 10AM-6PM daily (Fridays until 9PM)

  LONDON   – The National Gallery 

“Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet to Cézanne”

          Special exhibition examining the development of Impressionism and Post-impressionism illustrated with over 40 paintings, many by French masters including Manet, Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cézanne, and Renoir.

LOCATION: The Wohl Galleries at the National Gallery on St. Martin’s Place north of Trafalgar Square, central London WC2H 0HE.

ADMISSION: free to the National Gallery, but for this special exhibition the admission is: £7.50 (Mo-Su); children under 12 free.

GETTING THERE: From HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON APARTMENTS AT ST. KATHARINE’S MARINA, walk 5-8 minutes to the Tower Hill Underground Station, then take the District or Circle Line west to Embankment Station, then walk five minutes northwest to Trafalgar Square. From THE BREWERY APARTMENTS south of the Tower Bridge, walk 10-12 minutes (or take a bus 2-4 minutes) to London Bridge Underground Station, then take the Jubilee Line west two stops to Waterloo Station. Change to the Northern Line. Go two stops north to Charing Cross Underground Station. Walk 3 minutes north to Trafalgar Square. The National Gallery is the imposing neo-classical building on the north side of Trafalgar Square behind Nelson's Column.
MORE INFO, see:
COURTAULD IMPRESSIONISTS: FROM MANET TO CÉZANNE.

 


Ongoing thru Jan. 6, 2019
 PARIS, FRANCE  

The Musée d'Orsay
“Picasso: Blue & Rose”

     Special exhibition examining the early (1900-1906) "Blue Period" and "Rose Period" of the greatest of 20th century artists, Pablo Picasso. The Musée d'Orsay show uses paintings from its extensive collection and that of the nearby Musée Picasso-Paris to illustrate the exhibition.

LOCATION: The Musée d' Orsay is on the Left Bank of the Seine in the 7th Arrondissement.

EXHIBITION TIMES: Tu-Su 9:30AM-6PM; Open til 9:45PM Th. Closed Monday.

ADMISSION: €14/adult, €11/youth 18-25, Children under 18: free. Late Entry Special: €11 from 4:30PM Tu, We, Fr, Sa, Su, and from 6PM Th.

GETTING THERE: From some Home At First Paris apartments in the 1st, 6th, and 7th Arrondissements it is possible to walk to the museum. From Home At 

 

PICASSO: "acrobat with a ball" (1905)
From the Musée d'Orsay Exhibition
© The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow

First's other central Paris apartments, take the Métro to Assemblée Nationale, or Solférino stations or the RER C to its Musée d'Orsay stop.
MORE INFO, see:
PICASSO: BLUE & ROSE.
 

 

LEAVE IT TO THE FINANCIAL CAPITAL OF LONDON TO MAKE BANKING FUN FOR KIDS!
Courtesy The Bank of England Museum

Ongoing Weekdays – 10AM-5PM.
  LONDON   – The Bank of England Museum
“The £ in Your Pocket”

          One of the fun, free, funky museums of London. It doesn’t sound like it would be, but this museum is great fun for kids of all ages. This pocket-sized museum (open Monday-Friday except holidays) features new exhibitions and permanent favorites focusing on the story of British money, past, present, and future. Doesn’t sound like a subject your kids would enjoy, right? The museum — using jigsaw puzzles, balloons, gold bars, old coins, and touch-screen computers — sees to it that they will!

LOCATION: Bank of England Museum, Bartholomew Lane, London EC2R 8AH.

GETTING THERE: From HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON apartments walk 5-12 minutes to the Tower Hill Underground Station, then take the District or  Circle Line west 1 stop & 2 minutes to Monument station, then walk 5 minutes through the maze of tunnels following signs for Bank station. Emerge from Bank Underground, walk across the street to the Royal Exchange, with its colonnaded portico, and walk up Threadneedle Street one-half block. Cross Threadneedle Street at Bartholomew Lane. Walk up Bartholomew Lane on the left (west) side of the street. The Bank of England Museum entrance is mid-way up the block, and poorly marked on the left side. Total transit & walking time: less than 20 minutes.
ADMISSION: Free!
OPEN: Mo-Fr 10AM-5PM. Closed weekends and bank holidays (early closing Dec. 24 and Dec. 31. Closed all day Dec. 25-26 and Jan. 1).

MORE INFO, see: BANK OF ENGLAND MUSEUM

   


Every Saturday starting sometime after 7PM

 Terryglass , No. Co. Tipperary, Central Ireland

“Trad Music Sessions at The Derg Inn”

          The weekly live music session is the only way to improve the music and atmosphere at The Derg Inn in Terryglass. Food available until 10PM. The traditional Irish music could last all evening.

LOCATION: The Derg Inn, on the square, Terryglass.

GETTING THERE: From Home At First’s cottages in CENTRAL IRELAND, follow the R493 to Terryglass village near the northern end of Lough Derg. Home At First guests staying at Terryglass-area cottages are just 1.5 miles from the inn.

ADMISSION: none.

Terryglass village with Paddy's Pub (left) and the Derg Inn (center). Photo © Home At First.

 

TERRYGLASS VILLAGE WITH
PADDY'S PUB AND THE DERG INN

Photo © HOME AT FIRST
 


Sundays at 2PM
  LONDON, ENGLAND   – Tower Hill Tube Meeting Point
“Guided Walking Tour of Ancient London”

          Regularly-scheduled guided walk provides Home At First London guests looking for more insight into the history –recent and distant – of their London home region. Learn about life here during medieval times: not always nasty, brutish, and short. I
f knights, damsels, and castles are your cup of tea,
this walk's teaser should push your happy buttons: “A guided walk through alleyways that tourists never find, including an urban enchanted forest, a place where 13 knights performed three deeds of bravery, a centuries-old peep hole to keep nuns safe from prying eyes, a place of a Maypole and 11,000 beheaded virgins, a fountain whose waters mimic the tail feathers of an ostrich, Bedlam, a prioress, Bluebell Girls, black magic, Geoffrey Chaucer, and traitors’ heads.”
Guide: Susan Jackson, historian and registered Blue Badge Guide. Tel: +44 (0)7977 218374. Email: suejack@btinternet.com. Walks depart from Tower Hill Underground Station Meeting Point Sundays (except 22APR & 24DEC) at 2PM.
LOCATION: Walk begins at Tower Hill Underground Station.

Medieval London can still be found -- if you know where to look. Photo © Home At First.

Medieval London can
still be found - if you
know where to look.

Photo © HOME AT FIRST

ADMISSION: Payable to the guide: £10/adult; £8/seniors & students; accompanied children under 15 attend free.

ADVANCE RESERVATIONS: not required.

GETTING THERE: Walk to Tower Hill Tube in 8 minutes from Home At First’s LONDON Apartments at St. Katharine’s Marina by the Tower of London and in 10 minutes from across the Thames at its Apartments at The Brewery.

MORE INFO, phone guide Susan Jackson: +44 (0)7977 218374.
MORE
LONDON WALKS  
  


MAY–OCTOBER — Rotating Schedule

  BERMUDA 

“Beating of Retreats”

          Colorful historical re-enactment of military ceremony piping troops back into their forts at the World Heritage town of St. Georges on the east end of BERMUDA, the central-island city of Hamilton, and the Dockyard on the western end of the island.

LOCATIONS: Various. St. George's town, Hamilton city and at the Royal Naval Dockyard.

Beating retreat at the Royal Navy Dockyard on Bermuda's west end.

Beating retreat at the Royal Navy
Dockyard on Bermuda's west end

COST: free.

GETTING THERE: Public transport.

  


EVENTS IN OCTOBER 2018

  

BALLINASLOE HORSE FAIR

Europe's Oldest!

FIND IRELAND AT BALLINASLOE EVERY OCTOBER
Photo courtesy Ballinasloe October Fair
 

Ongoing to Sunday Oct. 7, 2018
  BALLINASLOE, COUNTY GALWAY,  

  CENTRAL IRELAND  
“Ballinasloe Fair & Festival”

          Traditional rural Irish harvest festival and important international horse fair. Events every day for a week, but the two most interesting days are:

Saturday, October 6: Traditional Country Fair day with 140 stalls in the St. Michael's East and West parking areas. Horse fair on the Fair Green. Live music and dancing on the fair soundstage. Lasts all day.

Sunday, October 7: large craft and food market on St. Michael's Square — all day. Dog show with parade of champions — 1-5PM. Pig racing(!) on Dunlo St. at 3PM.
LOCATION: Ballinasloe is a sizeable rural market
town in County Galway about 25 miles north of Terryglass, County Tipperary.
GETTING THERE: from the nearest
HOME AT FIRST lodgings near Terryglass CENTRAL IRELAND,


ONLOOKER AT THE BALLINASLOE FAIR.
 TRADITIONAL IRELAND IS FOUND HERE.

Photo courtesy Ballinasloe October Fair.

drive northeast 3 miles on the R493 to the N65. Drive northwest on the N65 7 miles into Portumna, then take the R355 about 19 miles into Ballinasloe. Parking is available at several lots around town.

ADMISSION: ???

MORE INFO see: BALLINASLOE FAIR & FESTIVAL. 
   


Selected Dates to Oct. 15
 ASCONA & LOCARNO, TICINO, 
 ITALIAN SWITZERLAND 

“73rd Settimane Musicali Ascona”

          Eleven classical concerts featuring world-class artists. Performances are held at two impressive locations known for their history and acoustics: the medieval Church of Collegio Papio in Ascona and the medieval Church of San Francesco in Locarno. Evening performances begin at 8:30PM. In addition, there will be three 11AM Saturday special events held at different venues than the 11 evening classical concerts.
LOCATION: All performance venues are within walking distance of Home At First
SWITZERLAND apartment lodgings in ASCONA and LOCARNO. See the website for specific directions.
ADMISSION: Tickets for the 11 evening concerts are priced from CHF25-CHF140 depending upon seating and performance. Home At First guests qualify for a 10% reduction by presenting their Ascona/Locarno Visitors' Card at the ticket office at the performance

 

 

 
SETTIMANE MUSICALI CLASSICAL CONCERT AT LOCARNO'S CHURCH OF SAN FRANCESCO

Photo by Remy Steinegger swiss-image-ch
copyright Ticino Turismo

venue or at the Ascona and Locarno Tourist Offices.
MORE INFO
, see:
CLASSICAL CONCERTS IN ASCONA & LOCARNO
 


Th-Su Oct. 4-7,
2019, 11AM-6PM daily
 HARROGATE, NORTH   
 YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND

“Northern Antiques Fair”

          Art and antiques on display and for sale at this prestigious major Northern England antiques & art fair.
LOCATION: Harrogate International Centre, King’s

Matched antique dueling pistols, circa 1790. Image courtesy www.harrogateantiquefair.com.

MATCHED ANTIQUE DUELING PISTOLS, c. 1790
Courtesy Harrogate Antique Fair

Road, Harrogate, Yorkshire, HG1 5LA.
ADMISSION: £7.50 at the door or register
HERE for a free e-ticket.
GETTING THERE: From
HOME AT FIRST’S NORTH YORKSHIRE
cottages take the A61 south about 10 miles into Harrogate. When the A61 turns left and becomes a one-way street, stay left and then go straight onto King’s Road Street. The International Centre will appear quickly on your left.
MORE INFO, see:
HARROGATE ANTIQUE FAIR
 

 

ASCONA'S CHESTNUT-LINED HARBORSIDE PLAZA ON LAKE MAGGIORE IS THE SETTING
FOR THE AUTUMN & CHESTNUT FESTIVALS ON CONSECUTIVE OCTOBER SATURDAYS.

 Photo by Alessio Pizzicannella copyright Ascona-Locarno Tourism — used with permission

Saturday October 6, 2018

  SWITZERLAND    “Ascona Autumn Festival”

          Ascona — Italian Switzerland's jet-set fishing village on Lake Maggiore — hosts two small-scale harvest festivals on the first two Saturdays of October. Its Autumn Festival (October 6, 2018) will feature a lively market serving and selling traditional foods, wines, crafts, and other regional artisanal products of the Ticino region (Italian Switzerland).

          Ascona and Locarno are especially delightful Swiss destinations in the autumn and spring, benefitting from their low altitude on the sunny south side of the Swiss Alps and a dominating Mediterranean climate. Culturally, Italian Switzerland offers a unique combination of alpine and lowland influences rich with history, art, gastronomy, and some of the best scenery of Switzerland and Italy.

ADMISSION: Free.

TIME: 10:30AM-6:30PM.

LOCATION: Along Ascona's chestnut-lined lakeshore plaza.

GETTING THERE: easily walkable from HOME AT FIRST's ASCONA lodgings. From HOME AT FIRST's lodgings in nearby LOCARNO, take the #1 bus 15min to Ascona Posta, then walk 5min to the Ascona lakefront piazza.
    



CROWDS FLOCK TO HISTORIC TAVISTOCK FOR THE ANNUAL GOOSE FAIR EVERY OCTOBER.
Photo courtesy Tavistock Town Council website. 

Wednesday October 10, 2018
  DEVONSHIRE   “Tavistock Goose Fair”

          Annual Michelmas town fair with roots dating to the 12th century when West Country farmers brought their geese to market for sale to be fattened for Christmas. The "Goosey" fair expect almost 300 stalls to line the streets of historic Tavistock.
LOCATION: Central Tavistock, on the A386 15 minutes southwest of
HOME AT FIRST’S DEVONSHIRE lodgings between Tavistock and Dartmoor National Park.
ADMISSION: free!
GETTING THERE from
HOME AT FIRST's Tavistock lodgings, walk downhill 5 minutes into central Tavistock.
PARKING: If coming from locations outside Tavistock, it's probably best to park at Harford Bridge Holiday Park Peter Tavy Road (£5) and take the park n’ ride shuttle to the fair at Tavistock.
MORE INFO, see:
TAVISTOCK GOOSE FAIR.
 
 



FOR 17 october days & nights HALLOWEEN TAKES OVER copenhagen's TIVOLI GARDENS.
Photo courtesy Tivoli Gardens

Ongoing Daily October 12 to November 4, 2018 10AM-11PM
  DENMARK   Copenhagen “Halloween at Tivoli Gardens”

          Wonderful Copenhagen's grand, traditional amusement park, Tivoli Gardens, is decked out to fright and delight in jack o'lanterns and and corn shocks as the park and all its rides, restaurants, and entertainment venues remains fully open. Expect witches and ghosts in addition to Tivoli's classic clowns.
LOCATION: Tivoli Gardens is 20 minutes by bus west of
Home At First’s lodgings in NYHAVN, COPENHAGEN, DENMARK.
GETTING THERE: take bus 15 from Nyhavn to the Stormgade Glyptotekik stop, then walk 3-5 minutes NW along HC Anderson Blvd to the Tivoli entrance.
ADMISSION: DKK120 (ages 8 and up) — covered by Home At First guests carrying the Copenhagen Card. Multi-ride amusement ticket DKK230.

MORE INFO: TIVOLI GARDENS  
 


 

ASCONA'S CHESTNUT-LINED HARBORSIDE PLAZA ON LAKE MAGGIORE IS THE SETTING
FOR THE AUTUMN & CHESTNUT FESTIVALS ON CONSECUTIVE OCTOBER SATURDAYS.

 Photo by Alessio Pizzicannella copyright Ascona-Locarno Tourism — used with permission

Saturday October 13, 2018

  SWITZERLAND    “Ascona Chestnut Festival”

          Ascona — Italian Switzerland's jet-set fishing village on Lake Maggiore — hosts two small-scale harvest festivals on the first two Saturdays of October. Its Chestnut Festival (October 13, 2018) celebrates the chestnut harvest historically so important in the mountains and valleys of mountainous southern Switzerland and neighboring Italy. Chestnuts will be roasted up and down Ascona's lakeshore piazza, and available for sale and consumption in many forms — cakes, jams, and honeys — along with other traditional foods, wines, crafts, and other regional artisanal products of the Ticino region (Italian Switzerland). A traditional Ticinese lunch of polenta, mortadella, and gorgonzola will be served at noon. Afternoon concerts promise to keep the festival lively, rain or shine.

          Ascona and Locarno are especially delightful Swiss destinations in the autumn and spring, benefitting from their low altitude on the sunny south side of the Swiss Alps and a dominating Mediterranean climate. Culturally, Italian Switzerland offers a unique combination of alpine and lowland influences rich with history, art, gastronomy, and some of the best scenery of Switzerland and Italy.

ADMISSION: Free.

TIME: 10:30AM-6:30PM.

LOCATION: Along Ascona's gorgeous chestnut-lined lakeshore plaza.

GETTING THERE: easily walkable from HOME AT FIRST's ASCONA lodgings. From HOME AT FIRST's lodgings in nearby LOCARNO, take the #1 bus 15min to Ascona Posta, then walk 5min to the Ascona lakefront piazza.
    


EVENTS IN NOVEMBER 2018

 

Monday, November 5, 2018 (some few celebrations also Sunday November 4)

 LONDON & THROUGHOUT GREAT BRITAIN 

“Guy Fawkes Day & Bonfire Night”

          Poor Guy! For more than 400 years Britons have burned his effigy on this night. He shouldn’t have tried to blow up Parliament with his merry band of Catholic anarchists November 5, 1605. But these days Guy and the guys get some glory too, as some Brits conclude that blowing up Parliament might have some redeeming qualities. Either way, the celebrations are explosive and fiery. Tonight or some night soon huge bonfires and fireworks displays appear in towns across Britain attracting crowds interested in condemning Guy, or praising his right to take exception to Parliament, or simply to enjoy the United Kingdom’s most exciting night of the year. Here’s a selection of some of this years prime bonfires & fireworks events:

South LONDON (Bermondsey): Monday, November 5 at Southwark Park, London SE16 2PA for a bonfire, fireworks, and fair fare with food and drink concession stands. Gates open 5-8:30PM. Fireworks at 7PM.
ADMISSION: £10/adult; advance tickets are required.

TICKETS: get them HERE.
GETTING THERE: Nearest Tube: Bermondsey (Jubilee Line), Canada Water (Jubilee Line and East London Line), and Surrey Quays (East London Line). Canada Water and Surrey Quays are 2 and 3 stops south respectively of Wapping Station, itself 15 walking minutes east Home At First's Apartments at St. Katharine's Marina along the Thames Path. Surrey Quays (East London Line) is one stop south of Canada Water Station, itself one stop east of Bermondsey Station, which is 10-15 walking minutes east Home At First's Brewery Apartments, Bermondsey (follow Druid St or Tanner St east to Jamaica St, then Jamaica east to Bermondsey Tube Station). All three stations are about .5-.7 miles (10-12 walking minutes) from the main Southwark Park entrance along Lower Street, Bermondsey. The southeastern entrance to Southwark Park is across the main street northwest from Surrey Quays Station.

MORE INFO: WEBSITE

GLASGOW, Scotland: Glasgow Green, Monday, November 5. Scotland’s largest fireworks display is accompanied by live music and lasers. Fireworks at 7:30-8PM highlight the day’s carnival with food from 5-9PM. Carnival begins at 5PM, and music & entertainment from 6:30PM.

Free admission. No ticket required.

GETTING THERE: Glasgow Green is on the north bank of the Clyde River in east central Glasgow on Greendyke St., G40 1AT. HOME AT FIRST's Glasgow Apartment guests walk 15 minutes to Hyndland rail station. Take ScotRail commuter train southeast (direction Carstairs) 15 minutes and 4 stations to Bridgeton station. Walk 10 minutes west along James St. to Glasgow Green Park. Taxi home as trains are infrequent after the rush hour.
MORE INFO: WEBSITE

 


SNOWDONIA, NORTHWEST WALES

SNOWDONIA: Capel Curig — Plas y Brenin with Llynnau Mymbyr Lake & Mt Snowden
Photo © Home At First  

Saturday-Sunday November 3-4, 2018 — 6 guided walks each day
  NORTHWEST WALES   “Snowdonia Walking Festival”

          Guided walks of various levels of challenge in Snowdonia National Park, starting from Capel Curig in the high country near Mt. Snowdon, highest mountain in Britain south of Scotland. Walks are of different challenge, but all require some fitness and experience. Half-day walks are 3-3.5 hours. Full-day walks require up to 7½ hours. Hiking boots and wet weather gear are necessary. See
PROGRAM for full selection, times, locations, and costs.
          All six walks are scheduled Saturday and again Sunday. Guides are knowledgeable and experienced Mountain Leaders.
LOCATION: walks will begin in Snowdonia National Park between Betws-y-Coed & Capel Curig, about 15-20 minutes of southwest of
Home At First’s lodgings in Trefriw, NORTHWEST WALES.
REGISTRATION FEE: £2.50-£25/person/walk.
RESERVATIONS REQUIRED: Select your walk(s), make reservations, and pay registration fees in advance at the
WEBSITE.
MORE INFORMATION:
WEBSITE
 


THE LORD MAYOR OF LONDON IN HIS REGAL COACH
Photo courtesy visit.london.com
 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

 LONDON (The Thames, The City and the South Bank) 

“Lord Mayor’s Show: 'There is splendour and there is a knees-up.'”*

         An ancient tradition has expanded into an all-day mega-event. London’s new lord mayor swears allegiance to the queen. Going on annually since 1215, what could be a simple swearing-in ceremony has turned into a travelling circus moving east to west the length of The City and back again taking 3½ hours over mid-day.
         Around 9AM a curious flotilla of traditional Thames boats escorts the new Lord Mayor in his oared Thames barge downstream from Vauxhall to just past St. Katharine's Dock marina. At 11AM London's newly elected Lord Mayor begins a cross-City procession in a gilded coach along with an entourage of 6,000 of his closest friends, Chinese acrobats, marching bands, floats, and even an RAF fly-by. The parade winds its way from the Guild Hall via St. Paul’s Cathedral to the Royal Courts of Justice for the noontime swearing in. At 12:43PM the long procession heads home to Mansion House (arrival 2:30PM) via The Embankment and Queen Victoria Street. Lots of opportunities to catch this extensive parade en route.

NOTE — EARLY-EVENING FIREWORKS ON THE THAMES: The extravaganza continues at 5:15PM with an over-the-top fireworks display in the middle of the River Thames between Waterloo and Blackfriars Bridges. Roads on both bridges and along both river banks will be closed to traffic so onlookers can enjoy the show, one of London's biggest fireworks shows of the year.

FREE ADMISSION along the parade route (except at the grandstands).

NEAREST TUBE: Bank, Mansion House, Temple, Embankment, London Bridge, and Waterloo.

THE LORD MAYOR'S SHOW PARADE ROUTE ACROSS THE CITY OF LONDON AND BACK.
Photo courtesy lordmayorshow.org

GETTING THERE: From HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON APARTMENTS AT ST. KATHARINE’S MARINA, walk 5-8 minutes to the Tower Hill Underground Station, then take the District or Circle Line west to Monument, Mansion House Station, Blackfriars, or Temple Station for access to the parade route.

From THE BREWERY APARTMENTS south of the Tower Bridge, walk 10-12 minutes (or take a bus 2-4 minutes) to London Bridge Underground Station, then take the Northern Line north 2 stops to Bank for access to the parade route.

MORE INFO: LORD MAYOR’S SHOW.        *Melvin Bragg, author The Lord Mayor's Show
 


Wednesday Nov. 14, 2018 - 1PM
 LONDON –The Tower of London 
More Loud Pageantry: “Prince of Wales Birthday”
          To honor Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, on his 70th birthday, a 62 Gun Royal Salute fired by the Honourable Artillery Company at the Tower of London at 1PM (on London Wharf).

GETTING TO THE TOWER: For the Tower of London salute at 1PM, walk 5-

62-GUN ROYAL SALUTE AT THE TOWER OF LONDON

12 minutes from HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON APARTMENTS AT ST. KATHARINE’S MARINA & THE BREWERY along the Thames Path walkway to the London Wharf. The salute will be fired by the Honourable Artillery Company at the Tower of London at 1PM on London Wharf.
ADMISSION: Free!
MORE INFO:
WEBSITE.
 


STOPPED AT THE RED SIGNAL ALONG THE GLOUCESTERSHIRE WARWICKSHIRE RAILWAY
Paul Stratford Photo courtesy GWR

Saturday November 17  2018  1PM–2:45PM
  COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND    “Fish & Chips and Steam”
          Enjoy a traditional English fish and chips luncheon on a traditional English steam train in the midst of traditional English countryside. Operating on a portion of an isolated 12-mile-long remnant of the defunct 100-year-old Birmingham-Bristol mainline route of the former Great Western Railway, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR) special train departs Toddington Station at 1pm and cruises through classic Cotswolds scenery for Cheltenham Race Course station. The train returns to Toddington Station at about 2:45PM. The train will have a buffet car (diner) serving hot and cold drinks including local specialty brews: Rail Ale and Track Cider. Be sure to sign up early (before departing the US) for this popular event.
LOCATION: Toddington Station is about 2 miles north of Winchcombe town between the villages of Toddington and Stanway. Follow the B4632 to the B4077. Turn east on the B4077 a short distance to the station where the road crosses the railway.
ADVANCE RESERVATIONS MANDATORY: Phone the GWR during operating hours with your credit card information: +44 (0)1242 621405 or
book on-line.
ADMISSION: £24/adult, includes train fare for the round-trip, plus a reserved seat and the generous meal on the fish and chips "Cheltenham Fryer". Drinks available for sale in the buffet car.
GETTING THERE: From HOME AT FIRST’S NORTHERN COTSWOLDS cottages in and around Chipping Campden, drive 25 minutes south. Satellite Navigation locater for Toddington Station:
GL54 5DT.
MORE INFO, see:
GWR RWY FISH CHIPS AND STEAM.

 


THE VILLAGE CAFE, MARTINBOROUGH, A TOWN DEDICATED TO THE BEST IN FOOD AND WINE
Photo © HOME AT FIRST

Sunday, November 18, 2018 9:30AM-7PM

 Martinborough, North Island, New Zealand  

“Toast Martinborough Festival”

          The annual big day out in the stylish boutique wine district of Martinborough, less than two hours northeast of Wellington. About 10,000 visitors descend on the small town of Martinborough to circulate 9 surrounding wineries, sample gourmet wine (especially Pinot Noir) & food (50 menu choices), and enjoy an ever-changing entertainment menu with 15+ music acts. The atmosphere is a unique combination of urbane NEW ZEALAND, rural French provincial, and American frontier west. Martinborough’s inland weather is usually different — drier, less windy, and warmer — than in maritime Wellington.

LOCATION: Martinborough town is at the end of Highway 53 off National Route 2 east of Wellington. This is a wine festival involving visits to about a dozen local wineries via shuttle bus where you sample wine, and enjoy food and entertainment. Participating wineries associate with in-town gourmet restaurants. Festival headquarters is on Martinborough's central square.

TICKETS: Tickets for 2018 are now on sale, and will sell out quickly. Tickets are NZ$88.50/each, plus a NZ$2.50 delivery fee. Tickets are sold solely through TICKETEK (service fee charged). See the festival website for tips on how best to get tickets to this most exclusive of New Zealand wine festivals.

NEAREST HOME AT FIRST LODGINGS: about 90 minutes southwest in WELLINGTON.

GETTING THERE: Although the drive is extraordinarily scenic and fun, the festival encourages all attendees to travel by public transportation: train or bus. Best bet is to book ticket and transport-from-Wellington packages (NZ$140.50/person by chartered bus) so you don’t have to drive the rugged mountain pass route from Wellington only to find that there is no public parking for the festival.

MORE INFO: TOAST MARTINBOROUGH.
 


THE NELSON A&P SHOW

richmond • south island • new zealand

CLYDESDALES in a hurry AT THE NELSON A&P SHOW
Photo courtesy Nelson Show

Saturday-Sunday November 24-25, 2018 9AM-5PM Sat, 9AM-4PM Sunday

 Richmond, Nelson Region, South Island, New Zealand 

“The Nelson Show”

          Nelson Region’s A&P (Agricultural & Pastoral country fair) show is big enough to require two days. Competitions to include lots of equestrian events, sheep, cattle, poultry, and alpaca judging, photography, crafts, home economics, plants & flowers, and beer & wine. Visitors can sample Nelson’s superb regional food and drink while enjoying typical and atypical country fair entertainment and amusements.

LOCATION: Richmond Park Showgrounds, 358 Lower Queen St., Richmond, NELSON region, SOUTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND.

GETTING THERE: Drive 10-15 minutes from Nelson city along National Route 6 SW to Richmond. The show grounds are just west of central Richmond on Lower Queen Street.

PARKING: FREE at the Showgrounds.

ADMISSION: NZ$15/adult.

MORE INFO: NELSON A&P SHOW.
 


SCOTLAND THE BRAVE

SALTIRE YOURSELF!
Photo courtesy Scotland.org

Friday, November 30, 2018

 THROUGHOUT SCOTLAND 

“St. Andrew’s Day Bank Holiday”

          Scotland’s patron saint’s day is now an official bank holiday in Scotland. Banks and government offices normally close November 30 in SCOTLAND. Celebrations occur throughout the country, and include traditional music performances, and homage events to Robert Burns and other famous Scots. Special programs, openings, and celebrations are held at many of Scotland's castles and other historic shrines.

ADMISSION: mostly free!

MORE INFO: see ST ANDREWS DAY PROGRAM.
 


CHECK FOR MORE EVENTS EACH MONTH

 

 

Happy Holidays from
— HOME AT FIRST —