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-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
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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

   

LET THE HIGHLAND GAMES BEGIN!
SEE: CENTRAL SCOTLAND AUGUST 1

          Highland Games are hokum. a traveling group of strongmen — some of whom may occasionally be scottish — follow the circuit around scotland from late-may into september, competing at events that are a collection of traditional and recent track & field tests. crowds come to see the strong men in kilts, hear the pipes echo off the hills, watch slips of girls toe-dance while swords flash around and between their feet. concession stands hawk all manor of souvenir tripe and scottish dietary delicacies like french fries and belgian waffles. drams of whisky and pints of ale flow like brown highland burns. red colors many more than the average number of heads of hair, quite a few straining faces of competitors, and not a few extra frozen and extra anti-frozen noses.  most highland games are local events held on one day. Some are larger, regional events held over two days. highland games are carnivals, full of kitsch and costume. They are entertainment for the community and not just put on for tourists, but tourists must attend or the community cannot sustain its annual sponsorship.  foreign visitors, then, are very welcome at these seeming local fairs, and they get the rare chance to see the scots  at play, doing what they love to do in authentic, often historic settings. hokum? you bet — LOW ARt and highland hi-jinks you won't soon forget.

photos © Home At First

CALENDAR OF SELECTED EVENTS

AUGUST and

SEPTEMBER 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 + kids), £68.10/family (2 adults + kids).
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-5PM now through September 2, then 10AM-4PM daily September 3-30.

CASTLE ADMISSION: £27/adult, £24/child, £24/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; weekends only in December & January) from the menu of “Roman York”, “Secret York”, “Essential York”, & the popular

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

“Snickleways” 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 January 26, 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 £25.

  

   “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 January 5, 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 £29.

   “The Lion King”: Long-running blockbuster with spectacular staging though at least December 2, 2018, at the Lyceum Theatre, 21 Wellington St. WC2E 7RQ at the Strand.
Temple tube (closed Sundays) or Embankment. Rating: Family (ages 6+). Prices from £45.

   “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 5, 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.
 


 

THOMAS COLE'S 1836 THE COURSE OF EMPIRE: DESOLATION PROMOTING THE  EXHIBITION
Image courtesy the National Gallery, London

Ongoing through October 7, 2018 10AM-6PM daily (Fridays until 9PM)

  LONDON   – The National Gallery 

“Thomas Cole — Eden to Empire”

          Special exhibition examining the British-born American landscape master Thomas Cole, whose work — with romantic, classical, natural, and heroic elements — reflected the influences of his English contemporaries Turner and Constable. Most of Cole's works on display are on loan from the United States and are being shown in London for the first time aside Turner and Constable masterworks to facilitate comparison and interpretation.

LOCATION: The Ground Floor 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: £10 (Mo-Fr); £12 (Sa-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:
THOMAS COLE — EDEN TO EMPIRE.

 


Ongoing Daily through Sept. 9
  LONDON, ENGLAND   –
THE TATE MODERN MUSEUM
“Picasso 1932: Love, Fame,
Tragedy”

          Special exhibition examining "the year of wonders" of the most influential artist of the twentieth century, Pablo Picasso. Using over 100 Picasso paintings, sculptures, and drawings — some never before exhibited publicly — to document Picasso's dramatic life like a diary of his monumental year of 1932.

LOCATION: The Eyal Ofer Galleries at the Tate Modern Museum, Bankside, London, SE1 9TG. Across the Millennium footbridge from St. Paul's Cathedral. Adjacent to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre along The Queen's Walk.

EXHIBITION OPEN DAILY thru September 9, 2018: 10AM-6PM Su-Th; 10AM-10PM Fr.

ADMISSION: £22/adult (£20/seniors & students) for this special exhibition. Otherwise, the Tate Modern's collection and

 

PICASSO: 'THE DREAM' (1932)
Promotional Image promoting the Tate Modern's Ey Exhibition
On Loan from Private Collection © Succession Picasso/DACS

galleries are open to the public without charge.
GETTING THERE:
HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON guests at ST. KATHERINE'S MARINA walk 5-12 minutes to the Tower Hill Underground Station, then take the District or Circle Line west 4 stops to
Mansion House, then walk west 2 blocks to the Millennium Footbridge. Cross the bridge to the Tate Modern Museum on the South Bank of the Thames River. Total transit & walking time: 30 minutes.
Alternatively, walk to the Tower Pier (by Tower of London) and board a westbound Thames Clipper commuter service boat (operating frequency: every 20 minutes from 6AM-1AM) for the 9-minute river sailing to Bankside Pier. The Thames Clippers, like the Underground, London Transport buses, and Docklands Light Rail, is covered by your Oyster Card London transportation pass.
Guests at
THE BREWERY APARTMENTS can walk directly to the Tate Modern by following The Queen's Walk west along the River Thames, reaching the museum in about 30 minutes.

MORE INFO, see: TATE MODERN.

 


Ongoing through August 20, 2018
 PARIS, FRANCE  

The Musée d'Orangerie
“Monet's Influence on American Abstract Art & Artists”

          Special exhibition examining the work of great French impressionist painter Claude Monet, whose late works are examined as having particular influence upon the nascent abstract art movement in America in the mid-twentieth century.  The Musée d'Orangerie exhibit has later examples of Monet's "Water Lilies" series on display along with some 20 examples of abstract modern American d'Orsay artists, including Pollock, Rothko, and Frankenthaler.

LOCATION: The Musée d'Orangerie is on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st Arrondissement on the SW corner of the Tuileries Garden (Jardin des Tuileries)

 

MONET: "WEEPING WILLOWS" (c. 1922)
From the Musée d'Orsay Collection
promoting the Musée d'Orangerie Exhibition
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Adrian Didierjean

across from the Place de la Concorde.

EXHIBITION TIMES: We-Mo 9AM-6PM; Closed Tuesday.

ADMISSION: €9/adult, €6.50/youth 18-25,

Children under 18: free. Free for everyone on the 1st Sunday of the month.

GETTING THERE: From some Home At First Paris apartments in the 1st, 6th, and 7th Arrondissements it is quite reasonable to walk to the museum. From Home At First's other central Paris apartments, take the Métro (Lines 1, 8, 12) to Concorde station, or to the Assemblée Nationale station (Line 12) or the RER C Line to its Musée d'Orsay stop and cross the river. 
MORE INFO, see:
MONET'S INFLUENCE ON AMERICAN ABSTRACT ARTISTS.
 


Daily thru Sept. 9  2018 - 10AM-5PM
  OSLO, NORWAY   – THE MUNCH MUSEUM
“Edvard Munch — Between the Clock and the Bed”

         
This special exhibition (fresh from appearances in San Francisco and at the Met in New York) examines the paintings of Norway's favorite artist son, Edvard Munch, in an attempt to discover what elements make them "so convincing". Largely self-taught and not generally associated with any specific movement within modern art, Munch's art stands out as individualistic and immediately identifiable.

LOCATION: The Munch Museum, Tøyengata 53, 0578 Oslo, Norway.

OPEN DAILY thru September 9, 2018: 10AM-5PM daily (open late to 9PM on Thursday).
ADMISSION: NOK120/adult, kids free. Free admission with the Oslo Pass.
GETTING THERE:
HOME AT FIRST’S OSLO take the

 

'BETWEEN THE CLOCK & THE BED'
(Self-Portrait, c. 1943)
by Edvard Munch
Home At First image taken at the Munch Museum

T-bane (subway) 2 stops east of Oslo Central Station to the Tøyen stop, then walk 5 minutes to the Munch Museum. Total transit & walking time: 20-30 minutes.

MORE INFO, see: MUNCH BETWEEN THE CLOCK & THE BED

 


 

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 JULY 2018

 

Weekly in July 2018, from 8:30PM
        MÜRREN, BERNESE       
  OBERLAND, SWITZERLAND 

“Mürren Folklore Evenings”
      In alpine Mürren during July there will be four consecutive Wednesday evening concerts (July 4, 11, 17, & 25) of traditional Swiss music, dance, yodeling to entertain guests and residents alike, who sit together along long picnic benches and get to know one another over refreshments. The music and entertainment is lively and fun, but the evening is low-key and gemütlich. The backdrop is undeniably major grand.

LOCATION: in the forecourt of Mürren's Sportzentrum on the upper street.

 

Sunset lights the Jungfrau, making a magical backdrop for the summer's first Wednesday Folklore Evening at Mürren's Sportzentrum in the upper part of the car-free village.
Photo © Home At First

ADMISSION: Free. Visitors present their Guest Cards.

GETTING THERE: The Sportzentrum is a 5-minute uphill walk from all HOME AT FIRST chalet apartments in MÜRREN, the isolated car-free chocolate box village of traditional chalets and amazing views of the Bernese Alps.
MORE INFO, see:
HOME AT FIRST's SWITZERLAND.
  


BUCKINGHAM PALACE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

BUCKINGHAM PALACE
Photo courtesy RoyalCollection.org.uk

Starting Saturday July 21 (and running through September 30) 2018

  LONDON, ENGLAND 

“Buckingham Palace Open to the Public”

          During these two-plus months when the Royal Family is at their Scotland residence (Balmoral Castle) and elsewhere, significant portions of their London residence, Buckingham Palace, are open to the public, for a fee. Guided tours tramp through the Royal Mews — the palace stables — and through nineteen state rooms — decorated with paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto, and fine English and French furniture — elegant spaces used to receive and entertain guests on British state and ceremonial occasions. See what it means to “live like a king” (or the Queen). For 2018 — and to mark the approaching 70th birthday of Charles, Prince of Wales — visitors will see a special collection of artworks Charles himself has chosen. The State Rooms and Garden Highlights Tour lasts three hours.

LOCATION: Buckingham Palace is in London’s West End at the intersection of Green Park, Hyde Park, and St. James’s Park.

GETTING THERE: HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON guests take the Underground to Green Park station or St. James’s Park station, then walk through the park south or west respectively to Buckingham Palace. Total journey time: 30 minutes door-to-door.

ADMISSION: £24/adults, £22/seniors & college students, £17/kids 5-16, £61.50/family (up to 3 children). Children under 5: free.

TICKETS: Get advance tickets here ON-LINE.

OPEN: 9:30AM-7:00PM daily July 25 through August 31 (last entrance: 5:15PM).
OPEN: 9:30AM-6:00PM daily September 1-30 (last entrance: 4:15PM).

MORE INFO: BUCKINGHAM PALACE OPEN TO VIEW
 


MARY FROM DUNGLOE FESTIVAL — DONEGAL, IRELAND

INTERNATIONAL MARYS CHASING DUNGLOE'S CROWN.
Photo courtesy Mary from Dungloe Int'l Fest.

Saturday, July 28 to Monday, August 6,  2018
 CO. DONEGAL, NORTHWEST IRELAND  
“Mary from Dungloe Festival”
          Annual festival of traditional Irish culture in the small town of Dungloe in western County Donegal. Events differ each day and include such attractions as a golf tourney, duck racing, a gala ball, bingo, and a soapbox derby. The internationally recognized high point of the festival is the evening crowning of this year’s “Mary of Dungloe” on Sunday, August 5, following an afternoon filled with street entertainment with a big Carnival Parade on Main Street. The best other day for visitors is likely Friday, August 3, with street corner entertainment, Irish dancing, and live traditional Irish music.
SEE EVENTS.
LOCATION: Dungloe is about 35 miles NW of Donegal town near the rugged northwestern coast of Ireland.
GETTING THERE: From HOME AT FIRST'S NORTHWESTERN IRELAND lodgings in/around Donegal, take the scenic N56 about 60 minutes northwest to Dungloe.
ADMISSION: to some events. Free to the street entertainment.
TIMES: Numerous events daily. Most days schedule runs from morning into evening.
MORE INFO, see:
MARY FROM DUNGLOE
 


appearing at the 2018

Copenhagen

Summer Festival

BJARKE MOGENSEN to perform at the 2018 COPENHAGEN SUMMER FESTIVAL
Photo courtesy Copenhagen Summer Festival
 

Sun.–Thurs. July 29 – Aug. 9, 2018
  COPENHAGEN, DENMARK 
“Copenhagen Summer Festival”

          Twelve classical chamber music concerts (some with free admission) will occur over twelve days. Performers will include established and rising stars.

LOCATION: Performances at Charlottenborg Festsal (Assembly Hall) on Kongens Nytorv square just steps from Home At First's Copenhagen, DENMARK lodgings.

GETTING THERE: from HOME AT FIRST’s nearest COPENHAGEN lodgings at NYHAVN, walk two blocks west to Kongens Nytorv square.

ADMISSION: See PROGRAM for ticket prices. Some concerts are free.

TICKETS: ON-LINE; by phone: +45 70 15 65 65; or purchase at the door.

OPEN: Concerts Daily at 4:30PM or 7:30PM.

MORE INFO: COPENHAGEN SUMMER FESTIVAL
    


EVENTS IN AUGUST 2018

 

 

BUCKINGHAM PALACE — THE THRONE ROOM
Photo courtesy RoyalCollection.org.uk

Ongoing daily through September 30, 2018

  LONDON, ENGLAND 

“Buckingham Palace Open to the Public”

          During these two-plus months when the Royal Family is at their Scotland residence (Balmoral Castle) and elsewhere, significant portions of their London residence, Buckingham Palace, are open to the public, for a fee. Guided tours tramp through the Royal Mews — the palace stables — and through nineteen state rooms — decorated with paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto, and fine English and French furniture — elegant spaces used to receive and entertain guests on British state and ceremonial occasions. See what it means to “live like a king” (or the Queen). For 2018 — and to mark the approaching 70th birthday of Charles, Prince of Wales — visitors will see a special collection of artworks Charles himself has chosen. The State Rooms and Garden Highlights Tour lasts three hours.

LOCATION: Buckingham Palace is in London’s West End at the intersection of Green Park, Hyde Park, and St. James’s Park.

GETTING THERE: HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON guests take the Underground to Green Park station or St. James’s Park station, then walk through the park south or west respectively to Buckingham Palace. Total journey time: 30 minutes door-to-door.

ADMISSION: £24/adults, £22/seniors & college students, £17/kids 5-16, £61.50/family (up to 3 children). Children under 5: free.

TICKETS: Get advance tickets here ON-LINE.

OPEN: 9:30AM-7:00PM daily July 25 through August 31 (last entrance: 5:15PM).
OPEN: 9:30AM-6:00PM daily September 1-30 (last entrance: 4:15PM).

MORE INFO: BUCKINGHAM PALACE OPEN TO VIEW
 


appearing at the 2018

Copenhagen

Summer Festival

BJARKE MOGENSEN to perform at the 2018 COPENHAGEN SUMMER FESTIVAL
Photo courtesy Copenhagen Summer Festival
 

Ongoing through August 10, 2018
  COPENHAGEN, DENMARK 
“Copenhagen Summer Festival”

          Twelve classical chamber music concerts (some with free admission) will occur over twelve days. Performers will include established and rising stars.

LOCATION: Performances at Charlottenborg Festsal (Assembly Hall) on Kongens Nytorv square just steps from Home At First's Copenhagen, DENMARK lodgings.

GETTING THERE: from HOME AT FIRST’s nearest COPENHAGEN lodgings at NYHAVN, walk two blocks west to Kongens Nytorv square.

ADMISSION: See PROGRAM for ticket prices. Some concerts are free.

TICKETS: ON-LINE; by phone: +45 70 15 65 65; or purchase at the door.

OPEN: Concerts Daily at 4:30PM or 7:30PM.

MORE INFO: COPENHAGEN SUMMER FESTIVAL
  
   


Wednesday August 1 2018  10AM-5:30PM
  KILLIN,
CENTRAL SCOTLAND   “Killin Highland Games”

          Wednesday afternoon Highland Games held at the northeastern gateway to
Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park at a beautiful setting on the west end of Loch Tay. The games' parade leads from Killin’s landmark bridge by the Falls of the Dochart at 1:00PM to the official greeting in Breadalbane Park in the town center at 1:30PM. Expect events including: piping competitions, dancing competitions, world strongmen events, open hill race, children’s races, tossing the caber, fly fishing demonstration and casting competition, side shows & amusements. Expect concessions for candy, cake, clothing, and crafts. Food and bar concessions, too.
LOCATION: Breadalbane Park, Killin.
GETTING THERE: Killin is the northernmost town of Home At First’s Central Scotland. Guests staying in Killin can walk to the games. Other HOME AT FIRST CENTRAL SCOTLAND guests take the A84/A85 north across Glen Ogle Pass to the A827 at Lix Toll. Right on the A827 3 miles into Killin. Follow signs

Piper at Highland Games. Photo © Home At First.
 
HIGHLAND GAMES PIPER

Photo © Home At First

on Main Street once across the Killin bridge.
ADMISSION: £5/adults; seniors & children £3.
MORE INFO, see: KILLIN HIGHLAND GAMES.
MORE ABOUT TRAVEL TO CENTRAL SCOTLAND.

 


  S W I + Z E R L A N D ! 

COWBELLS LEADING THE PROCESSION THROUGH MÜRREN on swiss national day
Photo courtesy mymuerren.ch
 

Weds Aug 1 2018, from 8PM
  MÜRREN, BERNESE             
  OBERLAND,                          
  SWITZERLAND                     

“Swiss National Day”
      2018's final of 7 consecu-tive weekly evenings of tradi-tional Swiss music, dance, yodeling to entertain guests and residents alike occurs tonight, which is also Swiss National Day. The audience sits together along long picnic benches and get to know one another over refreshments. The music and entertainment is lively and fun, and the evening is gemütlich and open to everyone. The backdrop is undeniably major grand. Special program tonight to mark Switzerland's equivalent of America's 4th of July will include alphorn playing, flag-waving,

 

Sunset lights the Jungfrau, making a magical backdrop
for  summer Folklore Evenings at Mürren's Sportzentrum
in the upper part of the car-free village.

Photo © Home At First

and a procession for everyone through town, followed at 10:30PM with a bonfire and fireworks.
LOCATION:
in the forecourt of Mürren's Sportzentrum on the upper street.

ADMISSION: Free. Visitors present their Guest Cards.

GETTING THERE: The Sportzentrum
is a 5-minute uphill walk from all
HOME AT FIRST chalet apartments in MÜRREN, the isolated car-free chocolate box village of traditional chalets and amazing views of the Bernese Alps.
MORE INFO, see:
HOME AT FIRST's SWITZERLAND.
 


Scariff Harbour Festival

Scariff Harbour Festival, Lough Derg, Central Ireland
Photo courtesy Scariff Harbour Festival.

Thursday–Sunday Aug. 2-5,  2018
 SCARIFF, CO. CLARE CENTRAL IRELAND  
“Scariff Harbour Festival”

          Annual open-air, three-day street fair in this pleasant, hillside town on the west shore of Lough Derg in eastern County Clare. Expect local arts, crafts, canoeing and kayaking, storytelling, and music ranging from traditional Irish (music and dancing) to jazz. Mostly music Friday. Music plus Family Day on Saturday. Sunday's finale includes music, walks, boat tours of the river and lake, fishing competition, sky-diving exhibition, and a garden fair.
LOCATION: Scariff, across the middle of Lough Derg, Central Ireland’s largest lake, from Garrykennedy, Co. Tipperary.
GETTING THERE:
HOME AT FIRST'S CENTRAL IRELAND residents drive the R352 15 minutes north from Killaloe at the bottom of the lake, or 50 minutes south of Portumna at the top of Lough Derg.
ADMISSION: All daily events (except one Thursday evening concert) covered by the purchase of a €5/prs. daily festival wristband. See
PROGRAM.
MORE INFO, see: SCARIFF HARBOUR FESTIVAL
 


Friday-Sunday  August 3-5  2018
  BALLYSHANNON, CO. DONEGAL, NW IRELAND 
Ballyshannon Folk & Traditional Music Festival”
          Ballyshannon’s 40th Folk & Traditional Music Festival showcases traditional Irish music in venues and on the streets throughout the town.
LOCATION: Ballyshannon, County Donegal,
NORTHWESTERN IRELAND.
GETTING THERE:
HOME AT FIRST DONEGAL area guests drive south on the N17 from Donegal town about 20 minutes to Ballyshannon. HOME AT FIRST SLIGO area guests drive north on the N17 about 30 minutes to Ballyshannon.
ADMISSION:
Free afternoon performances daily!
Evening concerts 8PM. Tickets each night: €38.50/person.
MORE INFO
, see: BALLYSHANNON FOLK FESTIVAL 

 

 

BALLYSHANNON FOLK &
TRAD MUSIC FESTIVAL

Poster Art by Barry Britton


  MÜRRREN VILLAGE FEST!  

DECORATED COWS PARADE THROUGH MÜRREN DURING THE ANNUAL VILLAGE FESTIVAL
Photo courtesy muerren.swiss
 

Friday evening through Sunday August 3-5 2018, from 8PM
  MÜRREN, BERNESE OBERLAND, SWITZERLAND  
“56th Mürren Village Festival”
      Annual weekend of traditional alpine festivities in the Swiss chocolate-box village of Mürren. Expect Swiss music, dance, yodeling, sports, games, a flea market, and a lovely parade featuring traditional Swiss costumes and flower-bedecked Swiss cows (Sunday at noon). The audience sits together along long picnic benches and get to know one another over refreshments. The music and entertainment is lively and fun, and the evening is gemütlich and open to everyone. The backdrop is undeniably major grand. Begins Friday night at 7:30PM with an evening of yodeling and alpine music followed by dancing til 2AM. More music, eating, drinking, and dancing follows Saturday (10:30AM-2AM), and again Sunday with the parade at noon and Swiss music concerts until 6PM.
LOCATION:
music in the forecourt of Mürren's Sportzentrum on the upper street.

ADMISSION: Free except for the Saturday evening dancing: CHF5 for ages 16+. Visitors present their Guest Cards.

GETTING THERE: The Sportzentrum is a 5-minute uphill walk from all HOME AT FIRST chalet apartments in MÜRREN, the isolated car-free chocolate box village of traditional chalets and amazing views of the Bernese Alps.
MORE INFO, see:
HOME AT FIRST's SWITZERLAND.
 


 

THE 2018 NATIONAL EISTEDDFOD TAKES PLACE IN CARDIFF, CAPITAL OF WALES
Photo courtesy thenottinghillcarnival.com
  

Friday through Saturday, August 3-11,  2018
  CARDIFF, SOUTH WALES      “The National Eisteddfod”
          The annual traveling National Eisteddfod is the largest festival in the world devoted to Welsh language and culture. The Eisteddfod (Welsh for "festival") takes place at a different venue each year. Venue locations are announced only at the completion of the current Eisteddfod. For 2018, the National Eisteddfod will set up its tents in Cardiff, the Welsh capital on the South Wales coast.

          The Eisteddfod is a showcase of all things Welsh, featuring concerts, contests and competitions of music, singing, poetry, prose, literature, drama, and dance. Expect discussions, debates, and philosophy, too, all made more challenging by being presented in the difficult-to-pronounce-for-outsiders Welsh language. Thanks to the Eisteddfod and Welsh TV, radio, and websites, the language and traditional culture of Wales is not disappearing, if not exactly thriving. The Eisteddfod, for its part, draws ever-larger attendance each year, with about 20,000 per day over its annual 8-day run.
LOCATION:
Bodedern, LL65 3SS, is the site of the Maes, or large field where the Eisteddfod takes place, is in western Anglesey in far NW Wales. Parking is free.
GETTING THERE:
HOME AT FIRST MID-WALES guests should drive on the A55 north coast road west toward Holyhead. Bodedern is on a rural side road about 5 miles east of Holyhead. Free shuttle buses take visitors to the Eisteddfod Maes.
ADMISSION:
Tickets must be purchased for day visits, evening concerts and other events. Day Tickets are: £10/adult.
OPEN:
from 9:30AM daily, with activities of many varieties occurring concurrently throughout the day.

MORE INFO: THE WELSH NATIONAL EISTEDDFOD
   


Friday to Friday, August 3–12  2018
  BIRR, CO. OFFALY, CENTRAL IRELAND 
“50th Annual Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival”

         
Regional Irish country fair featuring old time vehicles, with a Sunday parade of vintage cars, engines, horses and carriages, marching bands, jugglers and clowns, and street theater. The 48th annual antiques and fine arts fair features costume and shop window competitions, candlelight nights in local pubs, historical walking tours, film nights and live theater, free daily children’s events, vintage and modern sports events, photography competition, pub competitions, donkey derby, 

Costumed parade figure at the Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival parade. Photo courtesy Birr Vintage Week Festival.
 
PARADE AT THE BIRR VINTAGE FESTIVAL

Photo courtesy Birr Vintage Festival

barman’s race, live music, and a fireworks display. Dozens of events are scheduled daily. CONSULT THE SCHEDULE to determine the best day for your visit. Combine with a visit to the most impressive Birr Castle Gardens.
LOCATION: Birr, County Offaly, about 30 minutes north of HOME AT FIRST’s Central Ireland lodgings.
GETTING THERE: From
HOME AT FIRST'S CENTRAL IRELAND cottages, drive north from Nenagh on the N52 30 minutes to Birr.
ADMISSION: many events free.

MORE INFO
, see: BIRR VINTAGE WEEK
  


Ongoing August 3–25 2018
  EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND  
“Edinburgh Military Tattoo”

          This is the show that puts the bomb in bombast. Like your culture punctuated by cannonade? Prefer castles and fireworks and the smell of cordite to opera and ballet? Overlapping the Edinburgh Festival is the (almost) nightly
outdoor martial noise fest at the imposing castle at the top of the town. Usually sold out well in advance of the performances, but some few leftover tix may be available even up to the last minute.

The Edinburgh Tattoo takes place with the Edinburgh Castle as its dramatic backdrop. Photo courtesy Edinburgh Tattoo.
 
The Edinburgh Tattoo takes place with the
Edinburgh Castle as its dramatic backdrop.

Photo courtesy Edinburgh Tattoo

(HOME AT FIRST helps its guests secure
tickets, but plan to book early!)
LOCATION: Edinburgh Castle.
GETTING THERE:
HOME AT FIRST’S EDINBURGH guests can take the bus, tram, or taxi or walk to performances.
HOME AT FIRST'S GLASGOW guests can take the train and be in Edinburgh in an hour. HOME AT FIRST’S CENTRAL SCOTLAND guests can drive to Stirling or Dunblane and park & ride the train into central Edinburgh. Don’t drive into Edinburgh this month!
ADMISSION: Lots of different prices — starting at £25/person — depending upon seat, performance time, and date.
See web site for availability (if any) and prices.
MORE INFO, see: EDINBURGH TATTOO

 



 

THE LLANTHONY VALLEY & DISTRICT SHOW PROMISES A RARE GLIMPSE OF A THRIVING, ISOLATED AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITY in THE scenic SPLENDOR OF MID-WALES.
Photo courtesy Llanthony Show

Saturday, August 4, 2018 from 9AM-5PM
  MID-WALES    “Llanthony Valley & District Show”

          Small, very local country fair and horse show in the unmatched Mid-Wales scenery of the Llanthony Valley, tucked between the Black Mountains and the Wye Valley near the Welsh/England border south of the town of Hay-on-Wye. This show was started in 1961 in response to a BBC production documenting the Llanthony Valley's impending demise. The pride of the local community is the true subject of the show, which feature horse events, rodeo, country fair produce judging, games, and family fun. Visitors will be impressed by the profound character of the community, and by the majestic scenery surrounding the remote valley.
LOCATION: Midway between Hay-on-Wye and Abergavenny, Mid-Wales. The 12 miles of Forest Road between Hay and Llanthony take nearly 45 minutes to drive. From Abergavenny, the 10 miles of back roads to Llanthony take 27 minutes. The Llanthony Showgrounds are just southeast of historic, picturesque Llanthony Priory 45 or so minutes southeast of
Home At First’s lodgings in & near Hay-on-Wye, MID-WALES.
ADMISSION: £5/person (includes parking)
.
MORE INFO, see:
LLANTHONY SHOW.
 


 

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway STEAM passenger special
Paul Stratford Photo courtesy GWR

Saturday August 4  2018   7–9:15PM
 COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND 
“Fish & Chips and Steam”

          Enjoy a traditional English evening meal on a traditional English steam train in the midst of traditional English countryside. Operating on a portion of an isolated 10.5 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 7PM and cruises through classic Cotswolds scenery for Cheltenham. The train returns to Toddington Station at about 9:30PM. 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, which always sells out in advance.
LOCATION: Toddington station is 5 miles south of Broadway and 1.5 miles north of Winchcombe about 100 yards east of the junction of the B4632 with the B4077 where the B4077 crosses the railway.
ADVANCE RESERVATIONS MANDATORY: Use the GWR's
ON-LINE BOOKING FORM, or contact the GWR during its operating hours with your credit card information: TEL: +44 (0)1242 621405; email: fishandchips@gwsr.com.
ADMISSION: £23/person, includes train fare and fish & chips dinner. Drinks available for sale in the buffet car.
GETTING THERE: Drive about 35 minutes north from Tetbury, home to
HOME AT FIRST’S SOUTHERN COTSWOLDS cottages. From HOME AT FIRST’S NORTHERN COTSWOLDS cottages in and around Chipping Campden, drive 25 minutes south.
MORE INFO, see:
GWR RWY FISH CHIPS AND STEAM.
 


 

EDINBURGH'S FRINGE FESTIVAL TURNS 69 IN 2016,
EVEN IF ITS APPEAL REMAINS TO PATRONS OF LESS MATURE AGE.

Photo courtesy The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

Ongoing August 3–27  2018
  EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND 
“Edinburgh Fringe Festival”

          The other side of the looking glass. Running almost concurrently with the Edinburgh International Festival (see below), the Fringe Festival has largely outpaced its older, more staid counterpart in recent years as an attention-getter and trend setter that has introduced many up-and-comers to the world’s of music, dance, theatre, music and (especially) comedy. Think of it as a 3-week long Mardi Gras with crass.
LOCATION: Performances in more than 200 locations throughout Edinburgh.
GETTING THERE:
HOME AT FIRST’S EDINBURGH guests can take the bus, tram, or taxi or walk to performances. HOME AT FIRST'S GLASGOW
guests can take the train and be in Edinburgh in an hour. HOME AT FIRST’S CENTRAL SCOTLAND guests can drive to Stirling or Dunblane and park & ride the train into central Edinburgh. Don’t drive into Edinburgh this month!

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival has everyone not performing at the like-timed Edinburgh Festival or at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Poster courtesy Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
 
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival has
everyone not performing at the
like-timed Edinburgh Festival or
at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Image courtesy
Edinburgh Fringe Festival

ADMISSION: Over 1,000 performances daily, each priced separately, some quite inexpensively, others not so. Advance tickets on sale starting in June. Tickets still available to many shows on the day of performance. MORE PROGRAMME & TICKET INFO HERE.
MORE INFO, see:
EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL

 


EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL

Photo courtesy Edinburgh Festival

Ongoing August 4–28  2017
  EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND 
“Edinburgh International Festival”

          Arguably the best long-playing urban cultural festival in the world. Dance, theatre, music, and opera performed by internationally ranked artists. Think of it as a 3-week long Mardi Gras with class. (
HOME AT FIRST helps its guests secure tickets, but plan to book early!)
LOCATION: locations throughout Edinburgh.
GETTING THERE: HOME AT FIRST’S EDINBURGH guests can take the bus, tram, or taxi, or walk to performances.
HOME AT FIRST'S GLASGOW guests can take the train and be in Edinburgh in an hour. HOME AT FIRST’S CENTRAL SCOTLAND guests can drive to Stirling or Dunblane and park & ride the train into central Edinburgh. Don’t drive into Edinburgh this month!
ADMISSION: Over 120 performances, each priced separately, a few free. Some reduced price tix are available for seniors, students, and late-comers. See the
PROGRAMME for performances/dates/prices.
MORE INFO, see: EDINBURGH FESTIVAL

 


Sun. & Mon., Aug. 5-6, 2018

 CRAGGAUNOWEN, Co. Clare, 
 Central  Ireland 

“Lughnasa Festival”      TBC

          Re-enactors populate the ancient landscape at Craggaunowen this day, marking elements of Irish life from the Bronze Age crannogs, Iron Age forts, the Middle Ages, and into the 16th century. See, hear, touch, smell, and taste history as envisioned by the costumed inhabitants of the day.

Iron Age fort at Craggaunowen. Photo © Home At First.

Iron Age fort at Craggaunowen
Photo © HOME AT FIRST

TIME: 10AM-5PM each day
LOCATION: CRAGGAUNOWEN
, near Quin, south-central Co. Clare.

ADMISSION: €8/adult, €4.50/child 5-16, €6.85/seniors, €24.50/family of 2 adults and up to 6(!) children.

GETTING THERE from Home At First’s CENTRAL IRELAND lodgings: take the R463 south from Killaloe through O’Briensbridge to Clonlara, then the R471 west to Sixmilebridge, then the R462 north to Shandangan, then the R469 NW toward Knappogue. Watch for signs for the rural road to Craggaunowen as you near Knappogue.

MORE INFO, see: LUGHNASA AT CRAGGAUNOWEN.     TO BE CONFIRMED 
   


Monday  August 6  2018   10AM–6PM
  NENAGH, CO. TIPPERARY, CENTRAL IRELAND  
“North Tipperary Agricultural Show”
    TBC
          The Irish equivalent of a rural American county fair, the "North Tipp Show" has been running for 138 years. Animals (especially horses, cows, and sheep), farm machinery displays, and lots of competitive events from show jumping to baked goods to flower arranging to kids costumes to dogs’ obstacle course racing to the wonderful “most suitably dressed lady” contest. Expect lots of fun, great local color, food (& drink, this is Ireland, after all) stands. If you want to see the rural Irish at play, this is the place to go. And you won’t see another tourist there!
LOCATION: Nenagh Fair Grounds is on the N52 road just north of Nenagh town.
GETTING THERE: From
HOME AT FIRST'S CENTRAL IRELAND lodgings in/around Nenagh, take the N52 north from Nenagh about 1 mile direction Borrisokane. The show grounds are on the west side of the N52.

A champion's Blue Ribbon being pinned at Nenagh's North Tipperary Agricultural Show. Photo © Home At First.
 
A champion's Blue Ribbon
being pinned at Nenagh's
annual North Tipperary
Agricultural Show

Photo © Home At First

Parking is on the east side of the N52.
ADMISSION: €10/adults.
MORE INFO, see: NORTH TIPP FAIR     TO BE CONFIRMED 

 


Wednesday—Monday August 8–13 2018
  FEAKLE, CO. CLARE, CENTRAL IRELAND  
“Feakle Internat'l. Trad Music Festival”

         
The bars, streets, and community hall of Feakle village host five days of music, song, and dance with concerts, céili's, workshops, lectures, recitals, singing, and trad music sessions. Consult the
festival web site for performance type, time, and venue.
LOCATION: Feakle, eastern County Clare due west of Lough Derg, about 1.5 hours west of HOME AT FIRST’s Central Ireland lodgings.

Traditional Irish music is played in all sorts of venues during the Feakle International Traditional Music Festival. Photo courtesy Feakle Music Festival.
 
TRADITIONAL IRISH MUSIC IS PLAYED IN ALL
SORTS OF VENUES IN FEAKLE DURING THE FESTIVAL.

Photo courtesy Feakle Music Festival

GETTING THERE: Drive south along Lough Derg from HOME AT FIRST'S CENTRAL IRELAND cottages. Cross the River Shannon at Ballina-Killaloe. Turn north in Killaloe and follow the western shore of Lough Derg through Tuamgraney to
Scariff. Turn left (west) in Scariff on the R461 5 miles to Feakle village.
ADMISSION: many performances free. Others charge €5-€30/adult.
MORE INFO, see:
FEAKLE FESTIVAL

 


Friday & Saturday August 10-11  2018  9AM-5PM
  ABERFELDY, CENTRAL SCOTLAND 
“Aberfeldy Show & Highland Games”

          Two-day Highlands show featuring horse and pony events, a pet show, and a funfair with concession stands and craft stalls on Friday. Saturday morning cattle, sheep, Highland ponies and Clydesdale horses will be judged. Saturday afternoon a pipe band parade leads from Wade's Bridge to Wade's Park, where heavyweight Highlands Games events, highland dancing, piping and much more will occur. Accessible to the disabled.
LOCATION: Wade's Park, Aberfeldy, Central Scotland 30-60 minutes east north east of
HOME AT FIRST’s Central Scotland lodgings.

Highland dancers at the Atholl & Breadalbane Gathering at Aberfeldy. Photo courtesy Atholl & Breadalbane Gathering.
 
Highland dancers at the
Aberfeldy Show &
Highland Games

Photo courtesy Atholl &
 Breadalbane Gathering

GETTING THERE: HOME AT FIRST’S CENTRAL SCOTLAND guests should take the A84 north to Lochearnhead, then the A85 north (direction Crianlarich). Five miles north of Lochearnhead, turn right on the A827 at Lix Toll. Drive 25 miles
through Killin, along Loch Tay, and through Kenmore and on to Aberfeldy. As you enter Aberfeldy, turn left on Taybridge Rd (B846) and cross historic Wade’s Bridge to reach Wade Park on the north side of the River Tay.
ADMISSION: Friday: £3/adult, £1/children. Saturday: £10/adult, £5/kids<14.
MORE INFO, see: ABERFELDY SHOW & HIGHLAND GAMES

 



 

Kilkenny Castle in centRAL Kilkenny town
Some festival events take place at the grand palace-castle.

Photo © Home At First

Friday to Sunday    August 10-19   2018
  CO. KILKENNY CENTRAL IRELAND          “Kilkenny Arts Festival”

         
Major arts festival featuring international artists. For the 39th year the festival will feature theater, jazz, classical music, literature, visual art, traditional Irish music, and street performances. Kilkenny is a small city with a large history, especially in the form of its great Norman castle, itself the site of several scheduled classical music performances.
LOCATION: Kilkenny, County Kilkenny, about 1.5–2 hours east of
HOME AT FIRST'S CENTRAL IRELAND lodgings.
P
ROGRAM & ADMISSION: See
FESTIVAL PROGRAM PAGE. Many events free.
GETTING THERE: Drive east from Nenagh via Borrisoleigh, Templemore, Templetuohy, Johnstown, and Freshford direct to Kilkenny. This delightful cross-
country route is rural and beautiful in an understated Irish way — more poetry than drama.

MORE INFO, see: KILKENNY ARTS FEST
 


 

FREE FISH SANDWICHES TODAY AT Dalvík harbor
Photo courtesy
www.fiskidagurinnmikli.is

Saturday, August 11, 2018

  Dalvík, ICELAND  

“Free Fish Day in Northern Iceland”

          Dalvik is one of the northernmost habitations of Iceland, lying along the Eyja Fjord about 28 miles north of Akureyri, the principal town of northern Iceland and just a few miles south of the Arctic Circle. Every first or second Saturday in August Dalvik celebrates its place as a key fishing industry port by handing out free fish to all comers, and more than 20,000 visitors are expected to take Dalvik up on its generous offer.
HINT: Combine with a whale watching excursion on the Eyja Fjord!

LOCATION: Dalvik is on Iceland's Rt. 82, 45km north of Iceland's second largest city, Akureyri.

GETTING THERE: HOME AT FIRST’S ICELAND guests add the round-trip to Dalvik by car during their visit to Akureyri and their driving trip around Iceland.

ADMISSION: free.

OPEN: 11AM-5PM Saturday, August 11, 2018.
MORE INFO: FREE FISH AT DALVIK, ICELAND!

 


S T O C K H O L M

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN: CULTURE IS (MOSTLY) FREE HERE AUGUST 15-20.
Photo © Home At First

Tuesday through Saturday  August 14-18  2018

  STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN           “Stockholm’s Culture Festival”
          Stockholm’s ninth annual August festival is big (500 events), varied, accessible, and mostly (99%) free. Music of all kinds, comedy, guided walks (many in English), children’s events, the world’s longest book table, film, food, and fun.
LOCATION: Venues throughout Stockholm.
GETTING THERE: walk or take a tram from
HOME AT FIRST'S STOCKHOLM lodgings.
ADMISSION:
most events free.
OPEN:
various times daily.
MORE INFO: STOCKHOLM CULTURE FEST PROGRAM

   


Mid-August through September

  SWEDEN - Swedish Traditions  

“Crayfish Parties & Sour Herring”

          As summer winds down the Swedes break out two traditional foods. Watch for these during the second half of August throughout Sweden. You may (or may not) wish to join in.

CRAYFISH PARTIES: once celebrated only by the aristocracy, outdoor crayfish parties now draw everyone to picnic tables by paper lantern light. The crayfish

Swedish Crayfish Party for One. Photo © Home At First.
 
SWEDISH CRAYFISH PARTY FOR ONE

Photo © Home At First

(like small lobsters) are consumed cold with
strong cheese, beer, and schnapps.

SOUR HERRING (SÜRSTRÖMMING): Last spring’s (or last year’s) catch of Baltic small herring has been festering salted in tin cans until the cans themselves swell from the fermented fish. Dedicated connoisseurs of sour herring anticipate the late-August “premiere” of this year’s rotting crop. Most often in thin-bread sandwiches with butter, onions, and potato slices. Note: open the herring cans outdoors under water or risk ruining the indoor atmosphere with an unforgettable putrefying fish smell.

WHERE: These food traditions are practiced throughout HOME AT FIRST's SWEDEN.
   


 THE PALIO

SIENA, TUSCANY, ITALY

THE SECOND OF TWO ANNUAL PALIO HORSE RACES OCCURS IN SIENA AUGUST 16.
Photo By Photojournalist Roberto Vicario (Photojournalist Roberto Vicario) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, August 16, 2018, 7:30PM
  SIENA, TUSCANY, ITALY 
“Palio di Siena”

          The second of the two annual Palio horse races occurs every August 16 in the extraordinary setting the main hilltop plaza of the walled medieval city of Siena in Tuscany, Italy. Ten horses with jockeys riding bareback race frantically for three laps around the crowded Renaissance Piazza del Campo square to determine bragging rights among the 17 city wards, and is sure to raise passions among competitors and onlookers to the boiling point. The race — with origins extending to medieval times — is not without risk to jockeys, horses, and, occasionally, spectators. The Palio is much more than the race: parades, costumes, food, celebrations, and significant vino add colorful Tuscan pageantry to this world-renowned event.

LOCATION: The Palio happens at Siena's spectacular high Renaissance Piazza del Campo, a 25min walk from Home At First's SIENA, ITALY lodgings.

ADMISSION: Yes. Get tickets early in the year. Balcony perches can be very expensive, but safe from mayhem.

TICKETS: Available on-line from many sources (reputable and otherwise), or via Home At First to its customer in Tuscany. Expect to pay €500 or so per ticket. Remember, too, that visibility and comfort and not guaranteed at that price. Many tickets come with special add-ons: meals, souvenirs, wine parties, and/or tours of Siena.

RACE BEGINS: 7:00PM.
      


GWR's "Black Prince" steaming at Winchcombe. Photo courtesy GWR.

steaming ACROSS STANWAY VIADUCT NORTH OF TODDINGTON.
Photo by Jack Boskett courtesy GWR

Saturday August 17  2018   7–9:15PM
 COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND 
“Fish & Chips and Steam”

          Enjoy a traditional English evening meal on a traditional English steam train in the midst of traditional English countryside. Operating on a portion of an isolated 10.5 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 7PM and cruises through classic Cotswolds scenery for Cheltenham. The train returns to Toddington Station at about 9:30PM. 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, which always sells out in advance.
LOCATION: Toddington station is 5 miles south of Broadway and 1.5 miles north of Winchcombe about 100 yards east of the junction of the B4632 with the B4077 where the B4077 crosses the railway.
ADVANCE RESERVATIONS MANDATORY: Use the GWR's
ON-LINE BOOKING FORM, or contact the GWR during its operating hours with your credit card information: TEL: +44 (0)1242 621405; email: fishandchips@gwsr.com.
ADMISSION: £23/person, includes train fare and fish & chips dinner. Drinks available for sale in the buffet car.
GETTING THERE: Drive about 35 minutes north from Tetbury, home to
HOME AT FIRST’S SOUTHERN COTSWOLDS cottages. From HOME AT FIRST’S NORTHERN COTSWOLDS cottages in and around Chipping Campden, drive 25 minutes south.
MORE INFO, see:
GWR RWY FISH CHIPS AND STEAM.
 


 

HIGHLAND DANCING CHILDREN AT THE ANNUAL RANNOCH HIGHLAND GATHERING
Photo courtesy Rannoch Highland Gathering

Saturday August 18 2018 1:30-5PM
  KINLOCH RANNOCH, PERTHSHIRE, CENTRAL SCOTLAND 
“Rannoch Highland Gathering”
          Highland Games in a sensational Scottish setting — the drive alone is worth the trip. Attractions include heavyweight Highlands Games events, piping, dancing, children’s races, track and field, hill race, concession stands, and tug o’ war. Dancing commences at 1:30PM. Teas and barbecue available from noon.
LOCATION: Weller Poley Park, Kinloch Rannoch, Central Scotland.
GETTING THERE: Kinloch Rannoch is about 35 miles northeast of Killin. HOME AT FIRST’S CENTRAL SCOTLAND guests should take the A84 north to Lochearnhead, then the A85 north (direction Crianlarich). Five miles north of Lochearnhead, turn right on the A827 at Lix Toll. Drive through Killin, then follow directions of the scenic route to Kinloch Rannoch via Glen Lyon and the thatched village of Fortingall to Tummel Bridge and, finally, to Kinloch Rannoch on Loch Rannoch. Plan on 90 minutes to drive the scenic 35 miles from Killin. Plan to return more directly via the A827 along Loch Tay from Kenmore.
ADMISSION: £5/adult, £4/seniors, £3/kids, £12/family; plus £1/parking.
MORE INFO, see: KINLOCH RANNOCH GAMES.

 


 

Pipers parading at the Crieff Highland Games
Photo courtesy Crieff Highland Gathering

Sunday  August 19  2018  10AM-5:00PM
  CRIEFF, PERTHSHIRE, CENTRAL SCOTLAND  
“Crieff Highland Games”
          Traditional Highland Games featuring the Scottish Light Field Championships, and including cycling, running, solo-piping, highland dancing, pipe band parade, tug-o-war and heavyweight events (including tossing the caber). Disabled access. Crieff (pop. 6,000) is a large market town 20 miles east of Lochearnhead on the edge of the Highlands. The games kick off with a parade of pipe bands from James Square in central Crieff.
LOCATION: the games are held at Market Park, Broich Rd., Crieff, Central Scotland PH7 3HE.
GETTING THERE:
HOME AT FIRST’S CENTRAL SCOTLAND guests should take the A85 east from Lochearnhead 20 miles to Crieff. In town, turn right on the A822 (Burrell St.). Drive south 3/8 mi. Watch for signs for the games site.

PARKING: at Braidhaugh Park on the outskirts of Crieff, with a shuttle bus ferrying visitors to the games.
ADMISSION: £10/adult, £5/seniors & children.
MORE INFO, see: CRIEFF HIGHLAND GAMES.

 


 

Show jumping: one of the many events at the annual Blair Castle equestrian championships
P
hoto courtesy blairhorsetrials.co.uk

Thursday-Sunday August 23-26 2018  from 12:30PM
  BLAIR ATHOLL CENTRAL SCOTLAND  
“Blair Castle International Horse Trials & Country Fair”

          One of the premier equestrian events in Britain is located in one of Scotland’s most scenic castle estates. Augmented with the Bruadar Country Fair Saturday and Sunday, including a shopping village with over 200 stands.
LOCATION: Blair Castle, Blair Atholl, Perthshire, 45-75 minutes east north east of HOME AT FIRST’S CENTRAL SCOTLAND lodgings. From Killin take the A827 east northeast to the A9, then the A9 north through Pitlochry 6 miles to Blair Castle on the B8079.
ADMISSION: Tickets: Th-£12, Fr-£12, Sa-£22, Su-£17; Children under 13 free.
PARKING: £5.
MORE INFO, see: BLAIR CASTLE INTERNATIONAL HORSE TRIALS & FAIR.

 


 

DRUMMERS ATTRACTING ATTENTION AT THE NOTTING HILL FESTIVAL
Photo courtesy thenottinghillcarnival.com

    
Sunday & Monday  August 25-27,  2018
  LONDON, ENGLAND 
       “Notting Hill Carnival”
          A shocking reminder to many Americans that the British Empire in the Western Hemisphere did not come to an end at Yorktown in 1781, the West Indian (largely Jamaican) themed Notting Hill Carnival is London’s biggest, baddest festival of the summer — and the largest street festival in Europe. Expect the West Indies culture to take over this section of west London for two days: music, food, costume, dance, drink, and spliff. If you are going to London to discover Londoners, expect to meet West Indians, Asians (East Indians and Pakistanis), and other immigrant minorities from former Empire outposts who have made Britain into a society as diverse as America.
LOCATION:
the Notting Hill section of London, just west of Kensington Gardens and Bayswater, just north of Kensington.
GETTING THERE:
HOME AT FIRST LONDON guests should take the Circle Line tube clockwise to Bayswater station, then follow the crowds, the noise, and the smells to the festival.
ADMISSION:
free. Big, raucous parade Monday.
OPEN:
not much happens before 10AM, but a lot happens thereafter until late in the day.
MORE INFO: NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL

  


August 31 thru September 30, 2018
  LISDOONVARNA, CO. CLARE,  
  WEST  CENTRAL IRELAND 

“Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival”

         
The biggest singles event in Europe and one of the oldest festivals in Ireland takes place annually in this little village on the northwestern edge of The Burren in County Clare, western Central Ireland. Several inspired local pubs actively encourage a receptive

Prospecting for gold at Lisdoonvarna. Photo courtesy matchmakerireland.com.
 
Prospecting for gold at Lisdoonvarna, Ireland
Photo matchmakerireland.com

atmosphere among partner-seekers with music and dancing day and night (from 11AM until late) during the month-long affair.
LOCATION: Lisdoonvarna, County Clare, about 90-120 minutes from
HOME AT FIRST’S CENTRAL IRELAND lodgings.
ADMISSION:
of course. Did you think meeting your ideal mate could happen without cost?
MORE INFO, see: MATCHMAKING FEST

  


EVENTS IN SEPTEMBER 2018

 

 

BUCKINGHAM PALACE — THE THRONE ROOM
Photo courtesy RoyalCollection.org.uk

Ongoing daily through September 30, 2018

  LONDON, ENGLAND 

“Buckingham Palace Open to the Public”

          During these two-plus months when the Royal Family is at their Scotland residence (Balmoral Castle) and elsewhere, significant portions of their London residence, Buckingham Palace, are open to the public, for a fee. Guided tours tramp through the Royal Mews — the palace stables — and through nineteen state rooms — decorated with paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto, and fine English and French furniture — elegant spaces used to receive and entertain guests on British state and ceremonial occasions. See what it means to “live like a king” (or the Queen). For 2018 — and to mark the approaching 70th birthday of Charles, Prince of Wales — visitors will see a special collection of artworks Charles himself has chosen. The State Rooms and Garden Highlights Tour lasts three hours.

LOCATION: Buckingham Palace is in London’s West End at the intersection of Green Park, Hyde Park, and St. James’s Park.

GETTING THERE: HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON guests take the Underground to Green Park station or St. James’s Park station, then walk through the park south or west respectively to Buckingham Palace. Total journey time: 30 minutes door-to-door.

ADMISSION: £24/adults, £22/seniors & college students, £17/kids 5-16, £61.50/family (up to 3 children). Children under 5: free.

TICKETS: Get advance tickets here ON-LINE.

OPEN: 9:30AM-7:00PM daily July 25 through August 31 (last entrance: 5:15PM).
OPEN: 9:30AM-6:00PM daily September 1-30 (last entrance: 4:15PM).

MORE INFO: BUCKINGHAM PALACE OPEN TO VIEW
 


 TOTALLY THAMES
   AT ST. KATHARINE'S
    MARINA SEPT. 9-10

THE ANNUAL CLASSIC BOAT FESTIVAL RETURNS TO
ST. KATHARINE'S MARINA THE WEEKEND OF SEPTEMBER 7-9
AS PART OF TOTALLY THAMES 2018
 
Photo courtesy Totally Thames Festival

ONGOING DURING SEPTEMBER 2018
 LONDON, ENGLAND
“Totally Thames Festival”
          London’s grand, historic waterway, the River Thames, is the focus of a month-long festival that occurs on, alongside, and spanning the river between Richmond (upriver) and Greenwich (downstream) with the Tower Bridge (by
HOME AT FIRST’s London apartments at St. Katharine’s Marina and The Brewery) one of the focal points. An on-going food festival and craft market, music, dancing, a carnival, art exhibitions, parades of

Classic boats line St Katharine's Marina as part of the Mayor's Thames Festival. Free River Taxi service connects St. Katharine's Pier with Festival Pier by Waterloo Bridge 10AM-6PM during the Thames Festival. Photo by Jack Hardy courtesy The Thames Festival.
 
Classic boats line St Katharine's Marina
AS PART of the Mayor's Thames Festival.

Photo by Jack Hardy, courtesy The Thames Festival

boats, guided walks, and entertainment from schmaltzy to avante garde welcomes tens of thousands of strolling guests to both riversides and its road and foot bridges. One major weekend event easy for HOME AT FIRST guests to attend is the 10th annual Classic Boat Festival Friday, Saturday, and Sunday September 7-9 from 10:30AM (Sa-Su) or 12N (Friday) to 6PM at St. Katharine's Docks. Expect more than 40 historic boats, food, music, and activities for the whole family.
LOCATION:
Along the Thames River between Tower Bridge and Westminster Bridge. Most events to occur on the south side of the river.
GETTING THERE:
HOME AT FIRST LONDON guests need only walk from their apartments to the nearby riverside, then along the Thames Path (north side) or the Jubilee Walkway (south side) to see the action.
ADMISSION:
Most events are free.

PROGRAM OF EVENTS: PROGRAM.
MORE INFO, See: THAMES FESTIVAL
.

 


Ongoing through September

  SWEDEN - Swedish Traditions 

“Crayfish Parties & Sour Herring”

          As summer winds down the Swedes break out two traditional foods. Watch for these during September throughout Sweden. You may (or may not) wish to join in.

CRAYFISH PARTIES: once celebrated only by the aristocracy, outdoor crayfish parties now draw everyone to picnic tables by paper lantern light. The crayfish (like small lobsters) are consumer cold

Swedish Crayfish Party for One. Photo © Home At First.
 
SWEDISH CRAYFISH PARTY FOR ONE

Photo © Home At First

with strong cheese, beer, and schnapps.

SOUR HERRING (SÜRSTRÖMMING): Last spring’s (or last year’s) catch of Baltic small herring has been festering salted in tin cans until the cans themselves swell from the fermented fish. Dedicated connoisseurs of sour herring anticipate the late-August “premiere” of this year’s rotting crop. Most often in thin-bread sandwiches with butter, onions, and potato slices. Note: open the herring cans outdoors under water or risk ruining the indoor atmosphere with an unforgettable putrefying fish smell.

WHERE: These food traditions are practiced throughout HOME AT FIRST's SWEDEN.
 


Ongoing thru September 30, 2018
  LISDOONVARNA, CO. CLARE,  
  WEST  CENTRAL IRELAND 

“Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival”

         
The biggest singles event in Europe and one of the oldest festivals in Ireland takes place annually in this little village on the northwestern edge of The Burren in County Clare, western Central Ireland. Several inspired local pubs actively encourage a receptive

Prospecting for gold at Lisdoonvarna. Photo courtesy matchmakerireland.com.
 
Prospecting for gold at Lisdoonvarna, Ireland
Photo matchmakerireland.com

atmosphere among partner-seekers with music and dancing day and night (from 11AM until late) during the month-long affair.
LOCATION: Lisdoonvarna, County Clare, about 90-120 minutes from
HOME AT FIRST’S CENTRAL IRELAND lodgings.
ADMISSION:
of course. Did you think meeting your ideal mate could happen without cost?
MORE INFO, see: MATCHMAKING FEST

  


Selected Dates Sept. 6 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
    


 

PIPE BAND MASTERS MARCH EN MASSE AT THE BRAEMAR GATHERING.
Photo courtesy braemargathering.org

Saturday, September 1 2018 9:30AM-5PM
  BRAEMAR, CENTRAL SCOTLAND 
“The Braemar Gathering”

          Traditional Highland Games with numerous uniformed pipe & drum bands, light & heavy field events, running (including a hill race), tug o’ war, solo piping, Highland dancing, and craft and trade stands. Setting is close to Balmoral Castle, the Royal Family’s Scottish residence. Expect an appearance by the Queen and other Royals. Disabled access. Braemar is 85 miles east-northeast of Killin in the heart of the Cairngorm Mountains.
LOCATION: The Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park, Braemar, NE Central Scotland.
GETTING THERE: HOME AT FIRST’S CENTRAL SCOTLAND guests should take the A85 east from

Queen Elizabeth II receiving a gift of posies at the Braemar Gathering as Prince Charles looks on. Photo courtesy braemargathering.org.
 
QUEEN ELIZABETH II RECEIVING
POSIES AT THE BRAEMAR GATHERING
 AS PRINCE CHARLES LOOKS ON.

Photo courtesy braemargathering.org

Lochearnhead 20 miles to Crieff. In town, turn left (north) on the A822. Drive northeast to Dunkeld. From Killin, Home At First guests should take the A827 east to the A9, then drive south 8 miles to Dunkeld. At Dunkeld, take the A923 12 miles east to Blairgowrie. In Blairgowrie, turn left (north) on the A93. Follow the A93 30 miles across the high Glenshee Pass to Braemar.
ADMISSION:
£12-£35/adult, £2/children under 14 years old.

PARKING:
£15/on grounds; free outside of grounds.
MORE INFO, see: BRAEMAR GATHERING.

 


GWR's "Black Prince" steaming at Winchcombe. Photo courtesy GWR.

GWR's "Black Prince" steaming at Winchcombe
Photo courtesy GWR

Saturday September 1  2018   7–9:15PM
  COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND    “Fish & Chips and Steam”

          Enjoy a traditional English evening meal on a traditional English steam train in the midst of traditional English countryside. Operating on a portion of an isolated 10.5 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 7PM and cruises through classic Cotswolds scenery for Cheltenham. The train returns to Toddington Station at about 9:15PM. 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, which always sells out in advance.
LOCATION: Toddington station is 5 miles south of Broadway and 1.5 miles north of Winchcombe about 100 yards east of the junction of the B4632 with the B4077 where the B4077 crosses the railway.

ADVANCE RESERVATIONS MANDATORY: Use the GWR's
ON-LINE BOOKING FORM, or contact the GWR during its operating hours with your credit card information: TEL: +44 (0)1242 621405; email: fishandchips@gwsr.com.
ADMISSION: £23/person, includes train fare and fish & chips dinner. Drinks available for sale in the buffet car.
GETTING THERE: Drive about 35 minutes north from Tetbury, home to
HOME AT FIRST’S SOUTHERN COTSWOLDS cottages. From HOME AT FIRST’S NORTHERN COTSWOLDS cottages in and around Chipping Campden, drive 25 minutes south.
MORE INFO, see:
GWR RWY FISH CHIPS AND STEAM.
 


Sunday   September 2  2018    10AM-5PM
 BLAIRGOWRIE, PERTHSHIRE, CENTRAL SCOTLAND 
“Blairgowrie Highland Games”

          Bagpipes call the opening of Blairgowrie’s traditional Highland Games at 10AM. These games have all the favorites: heavy events, running (including a 4-mile hill race), tug o’ war, piping, Highland dancing, and craft and trade stands. Handicapped accessible.
LOCATION: Bogles Field, Blairgowrie, Central Scotland, 55 miles east of Killin.
GETTING THERE:
HOME AT FIRST’S CENTRAL SCOTLAND guests should take the A85 east from Lochearnhead 20 miles to Crieff. In town, turn left (north) on the A822. Drive northeast to Dunkeld. From Killin, Home At First guests should take the A827 east to the A9, then drive south 8 miles to Dunkeld. At Dunkeld, take the A923 12 miles east to Blairgowrie. In Blairgowrie, turn right on the A93, then right again on the B947 (Essendy Rd.) direction Lethendry.

Highlanders spotted at the Blairgowrie Highland Games. Photo courtesy Blairgowrie Highland Games.
 
HIGHLANDERS SPOTTED
AT THE BLAIRGOWRIE
HIGHLAND GAMES

Photo courtesy
Blairgowrie Highland Games

ADMISSION: £7/adult, £4/seniors & children 5 and up,
£18/family. Car Parking — £1. (
NOTE: 2017 prices subject to change.)
MORE INFO, see: BLAIRGOWRIE HIGHLAND GAMES.

 


 

HIGHLANDER DANCERS LINE UP AT THE PITLOCHRY HIGHLAND GAMES.
Photo courtesy Pitlochry Highland Games

Saturday   September 8  2018    10:30AM-5PM
 PITLOCHRY, PERTHSHIRE, CENTRAL SCOTLAND 
“Pitlochry Highland Games”

          Pipers and drummers parade through the streets of Highland Pitlochry Saturday at 11:45AM, leading onlookers to the annual Pitlochry Games at the town's Recreation Ground on the River Tummel. These games have all the favorites: heavy events, running, cycling, tug o’ war, piping, Highland dancing, and craft and trade stands.
LOCATION: Recreation Ground, Ferry Road, Pitlochry, Central Scotland, 37 miles (1 hour) east of Killin.
GETTING THERE:
HOME AT FIRST’S CENTRAL SCOTLAND guests should take the A85 north from Lochearnhead to the A827 at Lixtoll, then the A827 NE to Killin and beyond along Loch Tay through Kenmore and Aberfeldy to the A9. Drive the A9 NW 5 miles to Pitlochry. Exit the A9 onto the A924 for Pitlochry. Drive into the town center, and turn left onto Ferry Rd, which leads to the Recreation Ground, Pitlochry, PH16 5DZ.

Highlander Dance at the Pitlochry Highland Games. Photo courtesy Pitlochry Highland Games.
 
HIGHLANDER DANCER AT THE
PITLOCHRY HIGHLAND GAMES.

Photo courtesy
Pitlochry Highland Games

ADMISSION: £8/adult, £2/children 5-16. Parking: £2.
MORE INFO, see: PITLOCHRY HIGHLAND GAMES.
 


 

HARVEST FAIR DAY BRINGS CROWDS TO THE STALLS LINING GLENTIES' MAIN STREET
Photo courtesy Glenties.ie

Wednesday, September 12, 2018
  GLENTIES, COUNTY DONEGAL, 
NORTHWESTERN IRELAND  
Glenties Harvest Fair Day”
          Glenties’ Harvest Fair Day is a traditional event of the season in this beautiful setting in the interior mountains of County Donegal, with events all day long: animal sales, street markets, a carnival, and street entertainment, including a parade with floats and bands. Harvest Fair Day, with many street stalls and a large regional farmers market, as well as traditional Irish music and dancing. Combine with a visit to the nearby beautiful, rugged Donegal coast.
LOCATION: Glenties, County Donegal.
GETTING THERE: HOME AT FIRST NORTHWESTERN IRELAND guests drive west from Donegal on the N56 to Mountcharles, then north on the R262 to Kilrean, the east on the N56 to Glenties. Journey time: under an hour from Donegal town.

ADMISSION: Free!

MORE INFO, see: GLENTIES AUTUMN FAIR
 


ABERGAVENNY FOOD FESTIVAL — SEPT. 17-18, 2016

FRESH, ORGANIC, LOCAL, & DIFFERENT — FOODS AT THE ANNUAL ABERGAVENNY FOOD FESTIVAL
Photo courtesy Abergavenny Food Festival 

Saturday & Sunday September 15-16, 2018 from 9:30AM daily
  MID-WALES    “Abergavenny Food Festival”

          This giant annual Mid-Wales food festival in the region's largest town has been called "The Glastonbury of Food Festivals" by The Observer. Lots of local Welsh food exhibitors attending together with many more from around Britain and across the seas. Stalls in the market places, up and down the streets of Abergavenny, and even in the the ancient castle ruin. A busy night market, food academy for young learners, plus lectures and demonstrations by noted chefs, producers, and restaurateurs. Some of the fresh, local delicacies on display and for sale will be: Salt Marsh Lamb, Welsh pancakes, curries, honey, garden fresh vegetables, beer, and cider.
LOCATION: central Abergavenny, within 25-45 minutes of
Home At First’s lodgings in various parts of eastern MID-WALES.
SATURDAY HOURS: Open in the streets and town market from 9:30AM to 6PM.

Night Market from 6-10PM. At the Castle from 9:30AM to 5PM. Party at the Castle from 7:30PM. Admission: Sat. Day: £9. Sat. Castle Party: £20 in advance.

SUNDAY HOURS: Open stalls in the streets and the market 9:30AM to 5PM. At the Castle from 9:30AM to 5PM. Admission: Sunday Day: £7.

MORE INFO, see: ABERGAVENNY FOOD FESTIVAL
 


 

— irish champions weekend —

HORSERACING AT THE CURRAGH PROVIDES A GLIMPSE OF IRISH CULTURAL TASTES.
PLUS YOU CAN BET ON THE PONIES.

Photo courtesy irishchampionsweekend.ie

Sunday   September 16   2018
 THE CURRAGH, CO. KILDARE, CENTRAL IRELAND 
“Horseracing at the Curragh”

          Classic end of season Irish horseracing festival featuring the classic
Irish St. Leger Stakes race Sunday (1st race: 2PM; Irish St. Leger Stakes goes off at 4:55PM). An eight-race card over four hours (with purses from €150,000 to €350,000) promises lively entertainment centered on Ireland’s passion for horses.

LOCATION: The Curragh Racecourse,
near Kildare, County Kildare. Combine with visit to the nearby Japanese Gardens and the Irish National Stud.
GETTING THERE: From
HOME AT FIRST’S CENTRAL IRELAND cottages, drive northeast approximately 90 minutes to Kildare on the N7 (M7). At Kildare, exit the highway and follow signs for The Curragh.
ADMISSION: General Admission: €25-€30/adult (€22/seniors/students); Special Hospitality Restaurant Package from €259/person.

MORE INFO, see:
IRISH HORSE RACING CHAMPIONS WEEKEND

 


Saturday & Sunday   Sept. 22-23, 2018  9:30AM-5PM  to be confirmed
 LONDON, ENGLAND
Open House Weekend at The Bank of England & Its Museum

          A rare opportunity to tour through one of the financial pillars of the world, The Bank of England, and its fun, funky museum: 30-minute guided tours of the bank plus open-ended fun for kids of all ages in the bank’s museum. The bank is open today as part of London’s Open House Weekend, celebrating noteworthy architecture of the city. 
LOCATION: Bank of England Museum, Threadneedle Street, London EC2R 8AH.
 

The stodgy Bank of England has a family-friendly, free museum. Both are open to public view only one weekend each year. Photo courtesy The Bank of England Museum.
 
THE STODGY BANK OF ENGLAND HAS A
 FAMILY-FRIENDLY, FREE MUSEUM.
BOTH ARE OPEN TO PUBLIC VIEW
ONLY ONE WEEKEND EACH YEAR.

Courtesy The Bank of England Museum

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!
No advance reservations possible, so come to the museum early to avoid long queues.
OPEN: 9:30AM-5PM each day.
MORE INFO, see:
OPEN HOUSE LONDON

  


GWR's "Black Prince" steaming at Winchcombe. Photo courtesy GWR.

steaming ACROSS STANWAY VIADUCT NORTH OF TODDINGTON
Photo by Jack Boskett courtesy GWR

Saturday September 22  2018   6:30–9:30PM
  COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND    “Fish & Chips and Steam and Murder!”

          Enjoy a traditional English evening meal on a traditional English steam train in the midst of traditional English countryside. A special themed evening excursion occurs this night, as the railway's autumn murder mystery is acted out on board during dinner. (The GWR discourages bringing the children with you for tonight's mayhem-laced train journey.)
          Operating on a portion of an isolated 12.5-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 7PM and cruises through classic Cotswolds scenery for Cheltenham. The train returns to Toddington at about 9:30PM. 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 5 miles south of Broadway and 1.5 miles north of Winchcombe about 100 yards east of the junction of the B4632 with the B4077 where the B4077 crosses the railway.
ADVANCE RESERVATIONS MANDATORY: Use the GWR's
ON-LINE BOOKING FORM, or contact the GWR during its operating hours with your credit card information: TEL: +44 (0)1242 621405; email: fishandchips@gwsr.com.
ADMISSION: £30/person, includes train fare and fish & chips dinner. (Due to the adult-themed murder mystery, children are discouraged from attending tonight's trip.) Drinks available for sale in the buffet car.
GETTING THERE: Drive about 35 minutes north from Tetbury, home to
HOME AT FIRST’S SOUTHERN COTSWOLDS cottages. From HOME AT FIRST’S NORTHERN COTSWOLDS cottages in and around Chipping Campden, drive 25 minutes south.
MORE INFO, see:
GWR RWY FISH CHIPS AND STEAM.
 


Sunday  Sept. 23  2018  1-5PM  tbc
  BUNRATTY, COUNTY CLARE, 

  WEST CENTRAL IRELAND  
“Traditional Harvest Day Bunratty Folk Park”

          Traditional 19th century harvest events occur today from 1-5PM at
Bunratty Folk Park, Ireland’s supreme open-air museum. Watch the farmers demonstrating the art of threshing with the vintage threshing machine. Also see the traditional arts of bread baking and butter making. The Bunratty village schoolmaster greets children with their customary sod of turf for the tiny schoolroom fire. Musicians and Strawboys (a scary/funny Irish tradition) will be performing around the Folk Park

Farm implement by a thatched farm building at the Bunratty Folk Park, near Shannon Airport, County Clare, Central Ireland. Photo © Home At First.
 
FARM IMPLEMENT BY THATCHED BUILDING
AT BUNRATTY FOLK PARK, COUNTY CLARE

Photo © Home At First

during the afternoon. Traditional stories will be told by Bunratty’s resident storyteller. The village policeman will see to order in his 19th century uniform.
LOCATION:
Bunratty Folk Park & Bunratty Castle are just off the N18, near Shannon Airport and about 12 miles south of Ennis, County Clare.
GETTING THERE: From HOME AT FIRST’S CENTRAL IRELAND cottages, drive from Killaloe south on the R463 through O’Briensbridge and on to Ardnacrusha and the N18 west of Limerick city. Take the N18 motorway west to the Bunratty exit. This trip is easily combined with a visit to Quin Abbey and visits to CRAGGAUNOWEN PRE-HISTORIC SITE, KNAPPOGUE CASTLE, as well as a stroll through charming central Ennis town. See details in HOME AT FIRST’s “Ireland Activity Guide”, available exclusively to HOME AT FIRST guests traveling to IRELAND.
ADMISSION: Normal Bunratty Folk Park admission rates apply — €17/adult.
MORE INFO, see:
BUNRATTY HARVEST DAY 
 


Sunday-Sunday  Sept. 30-Oct. 7 2018
  BALLINASLOE, COUNTY GALWAY,  

  CENTRAL IRELAND 
“Ballinasloe October Fair”

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

Sunday-Monday, September 30-October 1: Horse Fair on Ballinasloe's Fair Green, while a large (120 stalls) open air market occurs. Lasts all day.

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.


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

Photo courtesy Ballinasloe October Fair

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, 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 OCTOBER FAIR.

 


CHECK FOR MORE EVENTS EACH MONTH

 

 

Happy Holidays from
— HOME AT FIRST —