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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

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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!

 

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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 JULY 4

          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

JUNE – JULY 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 August.

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.
 


 

DETAIL FROM MONET'S 1908 THE GRAND CANAL TO PROMOTE THE UPCOMING EXHIBITION
Image courtesy the National Gallery, London

Ongoing through July 29, 2018 10AM-6PM daily (Fridays until 9PM)

  LONDON   – The National Gallery 

“Monet & Architecture”

          Special exhibition examining the interest Claude Monet showed in architecture throughout his career. This rare one-man show focuses on one consistent aspect of Monet's work, to be documented by more than 75 paintings. We note with interest the curious thematic overlap with the Tate Britain's current exhibition (thru 7MAY), "Impressionists in London" (see below).

LOCATION: The Sunley Room 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: £20 (Mo-Fr); £22 (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:
MONET & ARCHITECTURE.

 


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.

 


Through July 23, 2018                THE LOUVRE PARIS

                                           Hall Napoleon, under the Pyramid

We-Mo 9AM-6PM; closed Tues.
We & Fr PM open to 9:45PM.

 

Delacroix's "LIBERTY LEADING THE PEOPLE", 1830
Image © The  Louvre, Paris provided to promote its special exhibition

Ongoing through July 23, 2018 at The Louvre

  PARIS, FRANCE    “Delacroix”

          The Louvre offers a special exhibition examining the paintings of French romantic master Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863). Over 180 paintings spanning Delacroix's working life will be exhibited in this special show marking the centenary of the artist's death. Delacroix is beloved in France and revered across the world. His dramatic paintings inspire patriotism and embody the concepts of the Romantic Age and the concurrent Age of Revolution.

GETTING THERE: From HOME AT FIRST’S PARIS APARTMENT LOCATIONS, take Métro Lines 1 or 7 to Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre, or, if your apartment is close enough, walk!

ADMISSION: €15 for the special exhibition and the permanent collections.
MORE INFO, see: DELACROIX AT THE LOUVRE.
 


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:
DEGAS, DANSE, DESSIN.
 


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.

MORE INFO: THE DERG INN.

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 JUNE 2018

 

 

THE HAY FESTIVAL DRAWS PEOPLE OF ALL AGES FROM AROUND THE WORLD TO MID-WALES
Photo courtesy hayfestival.com

Ongoing thru Su Jun 3, 2018

  HAY-ON-WYE, MID-WALES  

"The 31st Hay Festival"

       Bill Clinton called it "the Woodstock of the mind". We call it an invasion. Hay-on-Wye is normally a sleepy, quirky little town bridging the Welsh border with Herefordshire, western England, along the pretty River Wye. HOME AT FIRST has had some of our MID-WALES COTTAGES in/near Hay for 30 years. We have an unabashed fondness for the little place. The river runs

One of approximately two-dozen bookshops in downtown Hay-on-Wye, Mid-Wales. Photo © Home At First.

One of approximately two-dozen bookshops
in downtown Hay-on-Wye, Mid-Wales.

Photo © Home At First

wild and fishy. Its castle hulks as an unkempt ruin. Hay's convoluted, cobbled, confoundedly one-way streets discourage traffic and parking, and encourage walking. Its two-dozen or so USED BOOKSHOPS invite browsing, lingering, and time-forgetting. The pub is adequate, if a little sporty, and could feign a little sympathy to exasperated strangers who have circled Hay's maze of streets sometimes three times to find an address or a parking spot. Still, Hay's eccentricity appeals. Not quite Welsh or English, neither ancient nor modern, bookish Hay-on-Wye is overbooked just once per annum, and the cusp of May/June is the time. The Hay Festival draws several tens of thousands of readers, listeners, talkers, and writers to one of Britain's most important, and most eclectic, of international gatherings. Hippies and Harris-tweedies hobnob with hoodlums, high-rollers, hautocrats, and has-beens at Hay this week, and the town transforms totally caught in the onslaught. We recommend this fortnight not for visitors expecting sleep and sheep, but do so strongly to those who covet a chance to talk sleeplessly and gawk sheepishly.

LOCATION: Hay-on-Wye is at the junction of the B4348, B4350, and B4351, one mile east of the A438, wedged between the River Wye and the insignificant Dulas Brook, the border of WALES and ENGLAND.

GETTING THERE: A car is indispensable. Parking, however, is impossible.

TICKETS to events, lectures, performances, and happenings cost from free to upwards of £40. Most are priced under £10; others from £10-£25. PROGRAM

MORE INFO: WEBSITE

 


Ongoing thru Sunday June 10 2018
  PARIS, FRANCE 
“French Open Tennis at Roland Garros”

       The second of the tennis world's four annual major tournaments brings the best tennis players in the world to play the clay courts of venerable Roland Garros stadium. This year, with perennial favorites Serena Williams (2015 women's singles champion) a new mother, and Rafael Nadal (2017 men's singles champion) once again world #1, the red clay surface of the French Open may offer up new additions to its long history of surprising upsets.

 

ADMISSION TO THE TOURNAMENT: Single
match tickets cost from €25 to €240, depending upon date and location.
LOCATION: Roland-Garros Stadium is in the 16th Arrondissement of Paris west of the River Seine and the Arc de Triomphe. The nearest Métro stations are Porte d'Auteuil and Michel Ange-Molitor (Lines 9 & 10).
GETTING THERE: Depending on which
HOME AT FIRST PARIS apartment you have selected, your journey to Roland-Garros Stadium will take between 20-50 minutes.

MORE INFO, see: FRENCH OPEN TENNIS AT ROLAND GARROS.
  


Friday June 1, 2018

 CHIPPING CAMPDEN, NORTHERN 
 COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND 

"The Cotswold Olimpicks"

          This odd collection of rural sporting contests called "The Cotswold Olimpicks" has been held on a hillside just outside Chipping Campden for 400 years, and claims to be the inspiration for the modern Olympics. These old-fashioned games feature traditional sack races, the standing jump, putting the shot, throwing the sledge-hammer, spurning the barre (a form of tossing the caber), tugs of
war, and — the editor’s personal favorite — shin-kicking.

Friday June 1  2PM-Midnight — The Olimpicks: The festival begins Friday afternoon with a medieval fair and music

Shin Kicking at the Cotswold Olimpicks usually draws the attention of a curious international press. Betty Stocker Photo courtesy www.olimpickgames.co.uk.

Shin Kicking at the Cotswold Olimpicks
usually draws the attention of  a
curious international press.
Betty Stocker Photo courtesy
www.olimpickgames.co.uk

performances for families on Dover’s Hill one mile northwest of town. The Olimpick events begin at 6:30PM. The events include the sports plus displays, Morris dancing, and band entertainment. The day culminates at 9:45PM with a bonfire, fireworks, and a torchlight procession back into Chipping Campden, where there will be dancing on the town square until midnight.

LOCATION: The games take place in Chipping Campden and on Dover’s Hill, just NW of Chipping Campden direction Weston-sub-Edge. The hillside forms a natural amphitheater that overlooks Bretforton, the Vale of Evesham and the Malvern Hills.
GETTING THERE: walk from
HOME AT FIRST’S NORTHERN COTSWOLDS Chipping Campden cottages. From Home At First cottages outside Chipping Campden, drive northwest out of Chipping Campden less than one mile to Dover’s Hill. From HOME AT FIRST’S SOUTHERN COTSWOLDS Tetbury-area cottages, drive north 45 minutes on the A46 almost to Evesham, then east 5 miles on the A44, then left (north) on the B4632 approximately 2 miles to Weston sub Edge. Turn right at the crossroads and drive one mile to Dover’s Hill.
OLIMPICKS ADMISSION: £6/adult, £4/kids 5-14; unofficial; subject to change.

FREE PARKING: at Chipping Campden school.
SHUTTLE BUS from Chipping Campden town square to Dover Hill: £1/adult, 50P/kids 5-14. Prices subject to change.

PARKING AT DOVER HILL: £2 (could be wet or muddy). Price subject to change.
MORE INFO, see:
COTSWOLDS OLIMPICKS
  


CHIPPING  CAMPDEN

HIGH street, chipping campden, site of the annual scuttlebrook wake
Photo courtesy scuttlebrookwake.org

Saturday June 2, 2018

 CHIPPING CAMPDEN, NORTHERN 
 COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND 

"The Scuttlebrook Wake"

      The oddly-named Scuttlebrook Wake (after a Chipping Campden stream that has long been covered over) is primarily a children's event that begins Friday at 6PM with kids' races in town. The Scuttlebrook Wake parade (starts at 2:30PM Saturday) with floats and fancy-dress costumes moves along Chipping Campden’s High Street to the town square. Music, Morris dancing, floats, dancing around a Maypole, the crowning of the festival queen (3PM), and a street fair ensue.

LOCATION: The Scuttlebrook Wake takes place in Chipping Campden town center.
GETTING THERE: walk from
HOME AT FIRST’S NORTHERN COTSWOLDS Chipping Campden cottages. From Home At First cottages  

A new queen and court -- youthful royalty at the Scuttlebrook Wake. Betty Stocker Photo courtesy www.olimpickgames.co.uk.

A new queen and court -- youthful
 royalty at the Scuttlebrook Wake.
Betty Stocker Photo courtesy
www.olimpickgames.co.uk

outside Chipping Campden, drive to Chipping Campden, east of the A44 near Broadway, at the intersection of the B4081 and the B4035.
FREE PARKING: at Chipping Campden school.
ADMISSION: Free.
MORE INFO, see:
THE SCUTTLEBROOK WAKE.
   

TROOPING THE COLOUR — THE COLONEL'S REVIEW

 

Guards in full ceremonial regalia parading in front of Buckingham Palace at the culmination of the ANNUAL Trooping of the Colour
Photo copyright Home At First

Saturday June 2 2018 from 11AM
  LONDON    Royal Pomp & Ceremony:

“The Colonel’s Review of the Trooping of the Colour”
          A high-ranking military stand-in for the Queen will take the salute in this second rehearsal of the Queen’s Birthday Parade “Trooping the Colour” on Horse Guards Parade. This year the official parade occurs a week later, June 9, 2018.
ADMISSION: It’s very difficult for foreigners living outside of the UK to get tickets, which can only be obtained by mail using a check in pounds sterling drawn on a British bank. We recommend the more chaotic, more democratic, and free post-Horseguards procession down the Mall.
LOCATION: Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, London, between Westminster (Parliament) and Buckingham Palace.
GETTING THERE: from the Tower Hill Underground Station,
HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON guests take the District Line or Circle Line west 6 stops (10 minutes) to Embankment station. Walk 5-8 minutes west from Embankment station via Trafalgar Square to the Mall. Find a good place to observe the parade along the Mall. Total walking plus transit time: 25 minutes.
MORE INFO, see:
TROOPING THE COLOUR.
 


Saturday June 2 2018
at 12 noon and 1PM
 LONDON – Hyde Park   
 & The Tower of London

“Gun Salute Marking the Queen's 65th Coronation Day”

          Gun salute of 65 cannon rounds (Tower of London) and 41 rounds (Hyde Park) to mark the 65th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The salute will be fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Hyde Park at 12 noon (opposite the

Freshly minted Queen Elizabeth II with husband Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on Coronation Day, June 2, 1953. Photo courtesy www.royal.gov.uk.

Freshly minted Queen Elizabeth II with husband Philip,
Duke of Edinburgh, on Coronation Day, June 2, 1953.
 
Photo courtesy www.royal.gov.uk

Dorchester Hotel) and then by the Honourable Artillery Company at the Tower of London at 1PM (on London Wharf along the River Thames).
GETTING TO HYDE PARK:
For the Hyde Park event, from the Tower Hill Underground Station, then take the District Line or Circle Line west 11 stops to South Kensington station. Change to the Piccadilly Line (direction Cockfosters). Travel 2 stops to Hyde Park Corner. Walk north into Hyde Park.
GETTING TO THE TOWER:
For the
Tower of London salute at 1PM, HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON guests walk 5-12 minutes west from Home At First’s Apartments at St. Katharine’s Marina & The Brewery along the Thames Path walkway to the London Wharf by the Tower of London.
ADMISSION: Free!
MORE INFO, see:
THE QUEEN'S CORONATION ANNIVERSARY SALUTE.
  

FISH & CHIPS & STEAM

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

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

Saturday June 2, 2018 7-9:15PM
 COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND
“Fish & Chips and Steam”

          Enjoy traditional English fast food meal on a traditional English slow steam train in the midst of traditional English countryside. Operating on a portion of an isolated 12-mile-long remnant of the defunct 100-year-old Birmingham-Bristol mainline route of the former Great Western Railway, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR) Fish and Chips Special Train — "The Cheltenham Fryer" — departs Toddington station at 7PM and cruises through classic Cotswolds scenery for Cheltenham Race Course, where the fish & chips meal will be served. A reserved seat on the special, plus the large serving of fish and chips comes with the ticket. Hot and cold drinks — including local specialty brews: Rail Ale and Track Cider — will be available for purchase. 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.
TICKETS: £23/adult, includes train fare and fish & chips.
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.
 


 

PIRATES AT REYKJAVIK'S HARBOR CELEBRATE THE ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF THE SEA.
Photo courtesy hatidhafsins.is

Saturday-Sunday June 2-3 2018 from 10AM DAILY
  ICELAND    Reykjavik Harbor:

“Harbor Day and Festival of the Sea”
          Iceland's biggest industry is not tourism. This weekend celebrates the North Atlantic island-nation's maritime industry: its rugged sailors, its ocean-wide fishery, its fierce weather challenges, and its rewards and costs. There will be a memorial service on Sailor's Day, Sunday. There will also be sailors and their families, plus lots of other Icelanders and visitors enjoying games, food, fun, music, attractions, a market, and a culminating Sailors' Day dance Sunday evening.
ADMISSION: Free!
LOCATION: Between the Harpa opera hall and the Maritime Museum at Reykjavik's harbor, which will be full of boats of all sizes this weekend.
GETTING THERE: the harbor is one mile northwest of the nearest Reykjavik lodgings used by
HOME AT FIRST’S ICELAND guests. Guests can walk, take city transit or taxis to the harbor.
MORE INFO, see:
ICELAND'S FESTIVAL OF THE SEA.
 


THE ROYAL CORNWALL SHOW

 

dressed for success at the royal cornwall show
Photo courtesy royalcornwallshow.org

Thursday-Saturday June 7-9 2018
8:30AM-6:30PM daily
  CORNWALL - WEST COUNTRY - SW ENGLAND   
“Royal Cornwall Show”

          Major country fair and agricultural show with over 850 stands and thousands of animals and birds. Daredevils, parachutists, marching bands, flower show, entertainment, surprises, and food. Lots of local and regional Cornish heritage will be on display.
LOCATION: Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge, Cornwall, England.
GETTING THERE: from
HOME AT FIRST’S DEVON & CORNWALL cottages near the Cornwall county line north of Plymouth in and near the town of Tavistock, travel west on the A390 for 18 miles to the A38 near Liskeard. Drive 20 more miles west on the A38 to the A389, through Bodmin and onward to Wadebridge.

Cornish Heritage will be displayed at the annual Royal Cornwall Show. Photo courtesy www.royalcornwallshow.org.
Cornish Heritage will be displayed
at the annual Royal Cornwall Show.
Photo courtesy www.royalcornwallshow.org

ADMISSION: £19.50/adult, £5/kids 4-15, £41/family (up to 2 adults+2 children).
MORE INFO, see:
ROYAL CORNWALL SHOW.
   

THE ANNAPOLIS TO BERMUDA OCEAN RACE

St. Georges Harbour, Bermuda, finish line port of the biennial Bermuda Ocean Race. Photo courtesy www.bermudaoceanrace.com.
Bermuda, WELCOME GOAL of the WEEK-LONG biennial Bermuda Ocean Race.
Photo courtesy www.bermudaoceanrace.com

Friday June 8 to approximately June 15, 2018: Annapolis to Bermuda.

  HAMILTON BERMUDA  

“21st Biennial Annapolis to Bermuda Ocean Race”
          After a week and 750 miles at sea, dozens ocean-going sailboats will arrive at the Hamilton, Bermuda's capital city, with the colorful completion of the biennial Bermuda Ocean Race.

LOCATION: Hamilton is in the center of BERMUDA, the oldest English colony in North America.

NEAREST HOME AT FIRST BERMUDA LODGINGS are in on the bay a short ferry ride from the Hamilton.

ADMISSION: free to watch the boats come in; very expensive to participate in the race!
MORE INFO, see:
BERMUDA OCEAN RACE.
 


TROOPING THE COLOUR — THE QUEEN'S BIRTHDAY

QUEEN ELIZABETH II AT THE GATES OF BUCKINGHAM PALACE FOLLOWING THE TROOPING
OF THE COLOUR JUNE 13, 1981. ONLY MINUTES BEFORE THIS PHOTO WAS TAKEN,
THE QUEEN WAS SHOT AT SIX TIMES BY A "FANTASY ASSASSIN" AT CLOSE RANGE.

Photo © Home At First

Saturday June 9, 2018 starting at approximately 10AM
  LONDON:  Horseguards Parade – The Mall – Buckingham Palace  
Royal Pomp & Ceremony: “The Trooping of the Colour”

          Queen Elizabeth’s Official Birthday Parade. The Queen herself will take the salute and review her colorful troops in the annual “Trooping the Colour” on Horse Guards Parade. After an enclosed official ceremony at Horseguards Parade behind Whitehall, the parade leaves the parade grounds and marches along the Mall to Buckingham Palace, all free to public view. The Queen used to ride the route sidesaddle, but now, sadly, travels in a regal carriage. When the Queen arrives at Buckingham Palace, a 41 Gun Royal Salute is fired by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in nearby Green Park at 12:10PM. The ceremony concludes with a low-level military jet fly-over occurs at 1PM. Also, a 62 Gun Royal salute is fired by the Honourable Artillery company at the Tower of London (5-minutes walk from
Home At First’s Apartments at St. Katharine’s Marina) at 1PM.
ADMISSION: It’s very difficult for foreigners living outside of the UK to get tickets, which can only be obtained by mail using a check in pounds sterling drawn on a British bank. We recommend the more chaotic, more democratic, and free post-Horseguards procession down the Mall.
LOCATION:
Starting at the Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, London. Parade route follows The Mall west to Buckingham Palace.
GETTING THERE: from the Tower Hill Underground Station,
HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON guests take the District Line or Circle Line west 6 stops (10 minutes) to Embankment station. Walk 5-8 minutes west from Embankment station via Trafalgar Square to the Mall. Find a good place to observe the parade along the Mall. Total walking plus transit time: 25 minutes.
MORE INFO, see:
TROOPING THE COLOUR.
 


 

ROYAL GUN SALUTE IN LONDON'S HYDE PARK
Photo courtesy royalparks.org.uk

Sunday June 10 2018 12 noon & 1PM
  LONDON – Hyde Park & The Tower of London  
“Gun Salute to mark Prince Philip’s Birthday”

          Gun salute of 62 cannon rounds (Tower of London) and 41 rounds (Hyde Park) to mark the birthday of the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh. The salute will be fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Hyde Park at 12 noon (opposite the Dorchester Hotel) and then by the Honourable Artillery Company at the Tower of London at 1PM (on London Wharf along the River Thames).
GETTING TO HYDE PARK:
For the Hyde Park event, from the Tower Hill Underground Station, then take the District Line or Circle Line west 11 stops to South Kensington station. Change to the Piccadilly Line (direction Cockfosters). Travel 2 stops to Hyde Park Corner. Walk north

Royal Birthday Gun Salute at the Tower of London by the Tower Bridge.

Royal Birthday Gun Salute at the
Tower of London by the Tower Bridge.

into Hyde Park.
GETTING TO THE TOWER:
For the
Tower of London salute at 1PM, HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON guests walk 5-12 minutes west from Home At First’s Apartments at St. Katharine’s Marina & The Brewery along the Thames Path walkway to the London Wharf by the Tower of London.
ADMISSION: Free!
MORE INFO, see:
PRINCE PHILIP’S BIRTHDAY SALUTE.
 

Sunday June 10 2018
  SHROPSHIRE & NORTHERN  
  COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND        

“RAF Cosford Air Show”

          Major air show featuring RAF Red Arrows aerobatic team and Falcons parachute team, several Battle of Britain and World War I warbirds, plus market and trade fairs, funfair, craft fair and static airplane displays.
LOCATION: RAF Cosford air base is just east of Telford 1 mile south of the M54 on the A41.

A famed RAF Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will be featured at the RAF Cosford Air Show. Photo courtesy www.cosfordairshow.co.uk.

4 famed RAF Spitfires from the Battle of Britain
will be featured at the RAF Cosford Air Show.

Photo courtesy www.cosfordairshow.co.uk

GETTING THERE: HOME AT FIRST SHROPSHIRE
guests drive south approximately 40 minutes on the A41 direct to RAF Cosford.
HOME AT FIRST NORTHERN COTSWOLDS guests drive approximately 1-hour north on the M5 then west on the M54 to exit 3 for the A41 south at Cosford.
ADMISSION: £29/adult, Children under 16: free!

TICKETS must be purchased in advance. ON-LINE TICKETS.
PARKING: Free.
MORE INFO, see:
RAF COSFORD AIR SHOW.

 


Fri - Sat  June 15 - 30, 2018

Various Times Daily
  YORKSHIRE DALES, NORTH ENGLAND 
“38th Annual Grassington Festival”

          One of our annual favorites, Grassington lets you see some of the best and most varied talent in Britain and peer into the folk traditions of the Yorkshire Dales. Grassington draws crowds with its festival of music, comedy, lectures, poetry, guided walking, crafts, and art. Expect an eclectic range of music performances including pop, rock, choral, folk, classical, British cabaret, opera, and piano. Expect lectures from politicians, heroes, and adventurers. Expect nonsense from stand-up

Village Post Office, Grassington, Yorkshire Dales, England. Photo © Home At First.

Village Post Office, Grassington, Yorkshire Dales
Photo © Home At First.

comedians. Then Grassington adds its own Dales flavor to these headliners with customary local demonstrations about the art of beer tasting, the crafts of building sand castles and kites, and (for the premium of a £25/person ticket!) lectures on how to construct Yorkshire dry stonewalls. Also planned are walks about the village and its beautiful valley setting. Great Fun! See web site for daily events listing and prices.
LOCATION: Grassington is a classical Dales village of tearooms, antique shops, flower boxes, and stone cottages, centered in a very scenic part of the Yorkshire Dales.
ADMISSION: £0-£45/person depending upon event, with most ticket prices under £20 and many events free. See
PROGRAM.
GETTING THERE: Grassington, Wharfedale, is on the B6265 20-25 miles west of
HOME AT FIRST’S NORTH YORKSHIRE lodgings.
MORE INFO, see:
GRASSINGTON FESTIVAL.

   


FISH & CHIPS & STEAM & MURDER!

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway passenger special between Cheltenham and Winchcombe. Photo courtesy GWR.

steaming ACROSS STANWAY VIADUCT NORTH OF TODDINGTON
Photo courtesy GWR

Saturday June 16 2018 6:30-9:30PM
  COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND  
“Fish & Chips and Steam & Midsummer Murder Special”

          Enjoy a traditional English evening meal (and a traditional English murder mystery!) on a traditional English steam train in the midst of traditional English countryside. Operating on a portion of an isolated 12-mile-long remnant of the defunct 100-year-old Birmingham-Bristol mainline route of the former Great Western Railway, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR) special train departs Toddington Station at 6:30PM and cruises through classic Cotswolds scenery for Cheltenham. The train returns to Winchcombe 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 sells out quickly.
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. Drinks available for sale in the buffet car. NOTE: due to the murder mystery performed underway, this trip deemed unsuitable for children.
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.

 


Saturday & Sunday June 16-17 2018, 10AM-5PM daily
  LEYBURN, NORTH 
  YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND 

“The Dales Festival of Food
   and Drink”

          Festival of food and drinks produced throughout the Yorkshire Dales. Over 80 trade stands, cooking and other demonstrations, farming demonstrations, farmers

The Yorkshire Dales are among England's garden spots: producers of fine foods. Photo courtesy The Dales Festival of Food and Drink.

More than just a pretty place, the Yorkshire Dales are
among England's garden spots, the producers
of fine foods for the nation and the world.

Courtesy The Dales Festival of Food and Drink

market, real ale festival-within-
the-festival, teashop trail plus bands and bunting.
LOCATION: Leyburn, Yorkshire, England.
ADMISSION: Free. (Parking charge: £5/car. Comes with program.)
GETTING THERE: Leyburn is about 25 miles NW of
HOME AT FIRST’S NORTH YORKSHIRE
cottages. Take the A61 north to Ripon, then the A6108 NW to Leyburn, the “capital” of the lovely glen of Wensleydale. Alternatively, make the journey part of the adventure by taking the WENSLEYDALE RAILWAY or THE DALES BUS.
MORE INFO, see:
YORKSHIRE DALES FOOD FESTIVAL and
BY TRAIN & BUS THROUGH THE YORKSHIRE DALES (be sure to check current schedules for changes & disruptions).
 


THE CAVALRY OF HEROES

IS COMING!

JOUSTING RE-ENACTORS TO APPEAR AT SUDELEY CASTLE IN THE CENTER OF ENGLAND'S COTSWOLDS.
SUDELEY WAS HOME OF CATHERINE PARR, WIDOWED QUEEN OF HENRY VIII, AFTER REMARRYING.
Photo courtesy Sudeley Castle

Sunday June 17 2018 10AM-5PM
  COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND  
“Medieval Jousting at Sudeley Castle”

          Jousting returns to Sudeley Castle this Fathers' Day after a few years absence
. The exhibition — performed by a troop of professional re-enactors called "The Cavalry of Heroes" — will represent the pageantry of King Henry VIII's reign at the end of the Middle Ages, when knights and armor still existed, even if chivalry was being tested by a king quick to replace his queens.
          Medieval Sudeley Castle — reconstructed following its ruination by Cromwell in the English Civil War — has a long history and notable associations with several English Tudor monarchs, especially
KING HENRY VIII, his second wife, QUEEN ANNE BOLEYN, his sixth wife, QUEEN CATHERINE PARR, the once-and-never queen Lady Jane Grey, and Henry’s daughter QUEEN ELIZABETH I.
LOCATION: Sudeley Castle, near Winchcombe, Gloucestershire.
GETTING THERE: Sudeley Castle is just east of the old town of Winchcombe.
HOME AT FIRST’S SOUTHERN COTSWOLDS guests staying in cottages near Tetbury drive north about 35 minutes to Cheltenham, then take the B4632 northeast 8 miles to Winchcombe. HOME AT FIRST NORTHERN COTSWOLDS guests staying in cottages in the Chipping Campden area drive south about 20 minutes from Broadway on the B4632 to Winchcombe. Once in Winchcombe, turn east on Vineyard Street to reach the castle’s main entrance.
ADMISSION: Includes horticultural and historic guided tours offered: Adult £16.50, Child 3-15 £7.50, Seniors £16.50, Family (2 adults 2 children) £43.00.
MORE INFO: Tel: +44 01242 604244 or see:
SUDELEY CASTLE.
  


Wednesday June 27 2018, from 8:30PM
        MÜRREN, BERNESE       
  OBERLAND, SWITZERLAND 

“Mürren Folklore Evenings”
      Tonight is the first of six consecutive Wednesday evenings 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.

ADMISSION: Free. Visitors present their Guest Cards.

 

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

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 IRISH DERBY AT THE CURRAGH

 

Horseracing at The Curragh, shrine of Irish sport.
Photo courtesy www.curragh.ie

Saturday June 30, 2018

  KILDARE, CENTRAL IRELAND  

"THE IRISH DERBY AT THE CURRAGH"
          The 153rd running of biggest race in Irish horseracing featuring occurs today at the greatest Irish shrine in the sport, The Curragh, in County Kildare, Central Ireland. The 1.5mi. race is the culminating climax of the annual three-day Irish Derby Festival. The Irish Derby, seventh race of the 8-race day, begins around 5:20PM.

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 cottages in CENTRAL IRELAND, drive northeast approximately 90 minutes to Kildare on the N7

(M7). At Kildare, exit the highway and follow signs for The Curragh.

ADMISSION: €35/adult; €25/seniors & students. Premium packages up to €259/person for admission, lunch, cash bar.
MORE INFO, see:
RACING AT THE CURRAGH.
  


EVENTS IN JULY 2018

 

 THE PALIO

SIENA, TUSCANY, ITALY

THE FIRST OF TWO ANNUAL PALIO HORSE RACES OCCURS IN SIENA JULY 2.
Photo By Photojournalist Roberto Vicario (Photojournalist Roberto Vicario) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, July 2, 2018, 7:30PM
  SIENA, TUSCANY, ITALY 
“Palio di Siena”

          The first of the two annual Palio horse races occurs every July 2 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: 7:30PM.
      


July 2-15 2018
  GREATER LONDON, ENGLAND 
“Wimbledon Tennis Championships”

            The annual fortnight that brings the best tennis players in the world to this south London suburb proves that Britain is still a player on the world sports stage, and that it has never forgotten how to throw a party. Expect tennis royalty and royal tennis fans. Expect to see new mother Serena Williams to curtsy, Andy Murray return as Britain's favorite son, and European men and women to dominate. And expect another epic battle among Murray (too emotional?), Nadal (back from the dead?), Federer (too old?

rejuvenated?), and Djokavic (what's up with him?) to decide the men's championship.

ADMISSION TO THE TOURNAMENT: Most tickets are subscribed by ballot, with ballot applications due by December 31 of the prior year. Tickets cost from £42-£210, depending upon date and location. Not all tickets are pre-sold. Approximately 500 tickets are retained for sale on the day of play for Centre Court and Courts #1 and #2, and several hundred Ground Admission tickets are available daily (except for the last 4 days of the tournament). Queue for these daily tickets at Gate 3 turnstiles, and expect long lines.
VISITING WIMBLEDON: Those wanting to visit Wimbledon at a time other than during the Championships, the site has a modern museum with guided tours of the grounds, including Centre Court, tennis’s most hallowed place. Enter museum using Gate 4 on Church Road.

ADMISSION: To the museum: £13/adults, £11/seniors, £8/children under 16.
To the Museum + Tour: £25/adults, £21/seniors, £15/children under 16.
OPEN: 10AM-5:30PM daily with restrictions during the Tennis Championships. Tennis tournament ticket holders will have access to the museum.
LOCATION: Wimbledon is a suburban south London town reachable by rail and by tube.
GETTING THERE: Total 55 minutes for
HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON guests from Tower Hill Underground station. Ride 42 minutes on the Underground (to Southfields tube on the District Line direction Wimbledon) plus 5 minutes on
connecting bus 493.

MORE INFO, see: WIMBLEDON TENNIS TOURNEY.

MORE INFO: TENNIS MUSEUM & TOUR.
   

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.
  


The 1,000 year old Oratory of St. Lua atop the hill in Killaloe town, a relic of the time of Brian Ború set near the location of his castle. Photo © Home At First.

The 1,000 year old Oratory of St. Lua atop the hill in Killaloe town,
a relic of the time of Brian Ború set near the location of his castle.

Photo © Home At First.

Thursday-Sunday July 4–8,  2018

  KILLALOE/BALLINA, CENTRAL IRELAND 

"FÉILE BRIAN BORÚ" (The Festival of Brian Ború)

          One thousand years ago a young man, born to become chief of the clan O'Brien, rose to become the first and greatest High King of Ireland, and led the unified Irish clans in victory against their allied enemies of Viking colonists and bands of Irish collaborators. The boy was born in KILLALOE, eastern County Clare, a town twinned with its close neighbor, Ballina, County Tipperary, connected by a bridge across the River Shannon in CENTRAL IRELAND. The great Irish king was killed at the apex of his life, the victorious Battle of Clontarf in 1014, by a retreating Danish warrior. The martyred king who had liberated Ireland was called Brian Ború. His hometown of Killaloe (along with its cross-river twin Ballina) celebrate the life of their greatest native son every year at the start of July. The Brian Ború Festival (Féile Brian Ború) has grown to four days, with a wide variety of events planned for every day.

LOCATION: Killaloe and Ballina are at the southern end of the large central Irish lake, Lough Derg, along the section of the River Shannon between the lake and the Shannon Estuary. The city of LIMERICK is fewer than 20 miles to the south.

NEAREST HOME AT FIRST LODGINGS: are in Killaloe (see NOREEN'S TOWN HOUSE) as well as in several other towns and villages along the eastern shore of Lough Derg.

GETTING THERE: Unless you are staying in Killaloe, you will need a car to get to the festival. Free parking is available at several locations in and around both Killaloe and Ballina.

ADMISSION to most events, lectures, performances, and happenings is free. Some few events cost a few euros. Free Fireworks over the Shannon Rive Saturday at 11PM. Killaloe Farmers' Market Sunday at 11AM — free. Féile Fest at the Lakeside Hotel at 2PM Sunday — free. See the program at the festival website.

MORE INFO: WEBSITE.
 
 


Wednesday    July 4, 2018    5:30-9:30PM 
 KENMORE, CENTRAL SCOTLAND
“Kenmore Highland Games”

          Unusual mid-week evening games in a beautiful
setting on the east end of Loch Tay. Heavyweight events including hammer throwing, sheaf tossing, caber tossing, shot-putt, and throwing the 101-pound Tirine Stone, as well as tug-o-war, track and field events, and a grueling hill race. Traditional highland dancing and bagpiping will occur throughout the games along with fun events for children and adults. Expect concessions for candy, cake, clothing, and crafts. Food and bar concessions, too.
LOCATION: Sports Field, Kenmore village.
GETTING THERE: Kenmore is the northeastern corner of HOME AT FIRST’S CENTRAL SCOTLAND. Local guests should

Highland Games Shot Putter. Photo © Home At First.
 
HIGHLAND GAMES
SHOT PUTTER

Photo © Home At First

take the A827 northeast from Killin along Loch Tay to its eastern end at Kenmore village and watch for signs.
ADMISSION:
£5/adults, children free.

PARKING: free.
MORE INFO, see:
KENMORE HIGHLAND GAMES
MORE ABOUT: CENTRAL SCOTLAND

 


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

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

Saturday July 7  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.
 


JULY 4-8, 2018 at BALLYLIFFIN —

Rory McIlroy, NORTHERN Ireland's FAVORITE SON, favored contender,

& tourney host WILL HOPEFULLY appear IN 2018'S  Irish Open

at BALLYLIFFIN'S top links COURSE, IRELAND.
Irish Open Photo

Sunday, July 8, 2018

  BALLYLIFFIN, COUNTY DONEGAL, NORTHWESTERN IRELAND 

"IRISH OPEN GOLF AT BALLYLIFFIN — Championship Sunday"

          The 2018 Irish Open will once again be played on a classic Irish links, this year in remote Ballyliffin in the far north of County Donegal, nearly the northernmost point on the Irish mainland. This scenic region on the north Atlantic coast is as close to Islay, Scotland, as it is to Donegal's namesake county town more than 90 minutes to the southwest. The nearest city to Ballyliffin is in another country: Londonderry (Derry), Northern Ireland.

          During the heady times of the Celtic Tiger in the first decade of the twenty-first century, the Irish Open became a premier event in the run-up to the British Open Championship, offering sufficient prestige and purse to draw the world's top golfers, including Tiger Woods. But the Celtic Tiger — like Tiger the golfer — proved to be anything but invincible during the second half of the aughts, as the excesses of an overextended optimism brought the Irish economy along with many of its ambitious golf resort dreams to their knees.
          The pendulum swings both ways, even in Ireland, and recent years have helped right the foundering ship of Irish golf — thanks in large part to the charismatic, if uneven, local hero, 2016 tourney winner, and tournament host, Rory McIlroy — along with the help of, curiously, Dubai Duty Free, as well as the recovering Irish economy.

          While the Irish Open is not a major tournament on the European PGA calendar, it has sufficient cache to draw many top players from the European PGA tour. Other notable former winners include: Pádraig Harrington, Thomas Bjørn, Colin Montgomerie, and Sergio Garcia. And, while Ballyliffin's links does not rank among the best-known of Irish courses, its location, national reputation, and facilities have won it Ireland's top international tourney in 2018.

NEAREST HOME AT FIRST LODGINGS: NORTHERN IRELAND (to the east-southeast) and DONEGAL, NORTHWESTERN IRELAND (to the southwest) are each about 90 minutes drive from Ballyliffin Golf Club.

TICKETS to daily tournament rounds are £20-£44/adult, £20-£34/seniors & students. TICKETS.

MORE INFO: WEBSITE.
  


RAF FAIRFORD

SPITFIRE TAKE-OFF AT THE RAF Fairford Tattoo
Photo courtesy Royal Air Tattoo

Friday-Sunday July 13–15, 2018

  COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND   
“The Royal International Air Tattoo”

          Known simply as "RAF Fairford", this annual extravaganza ranks among the most prestigious & popular air shows in the world. Taking place on the runways of the Royal Air Force base at Fairford, near Cirencester, Gloucestershire, and in the skies of the Southern COTSWOLDS, the Royal International Air Tattoo has become an event to see and be seen, a competition among men, international corporations, top aerobatics teams, and countries showcasing their latest technologies,

their hottest fighters, and their prototype airliners.


 RAF Fairford Tattoo —
Red-Arrows Starburst

Air Tattoo Photo by Rich Cooper

LOCATION: RAF Fairford is in the southern Cotswolds, about ten miles north of Swindon, about ten miles southeast of Cirencester, and about twenty miles west of Oxford.

TIMES: Fri. 14JUL: showground is open 10AM-6PM; flying display 1PM-5PM.
Sat-Sun 15-16JUL: showground 7:30AM-7:30PM; flying display 10AM-5:30PM
.
ADMISSION: £55-£516 depending on choice of package.
ADVANCE TICKETS MANDATORY:
BUY THEM HERE.

MORE INFO: RAF FAIRFORD AIR TATTOO
 


Saturday July 14, 2018

  PARIS, FRANCE  

"Bastille Day Celebrations —

  the National Day of France"

          The French equivalent of America's July 4 Independence Day, Bastille Day commemorates the popular uprising, the Storming of the Bastille — an infamous prison in Paris — on July 14, 1789, and, the Fête de la Fédération, which marked the unity of the French people exactly one year later. Both moments are high points of the French Revolution, being influence by the American Revolution of Independence. Unlike Independence Day in the United States, the Bastille Day celebrations commemorate the principals espoused in the French "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen", a document adopted by the National Constituent

 

Bastille Day fireworks at
the Eiffel Tower, Paris.

Photo by Yann Caradec, Wikipedia CC

Assembly in August, 1789, that remained

 

largely a dream unrealized until the Fifth Republic of France rewrote the French Constitution under President Charles de Gaulle in 1958. The French Revolution, though in principal commemorated this day, quickly went from enlightenment to an age of darkness for France: popular chaos, murders of the aristocrats and plutocrats, the Reign of Terror, the rise of Napoleon, and a series of seismic Napoleonic Wars with aftershocks lasting, arguably, until de Gaulle and the Fifth Republic in 1958.

LOCATION: Celebrations are held throughout France and around the world, but the biggest events occur in Paris, with the focus being the large military parade along the Champs-Elysées the morning of July 14.

NEAREST HOME AT FIRST LODGINGS: are found throughout central PARIS (some within walking distance of the Champs-Elysées parade route).

GETTING THERE: If not within walking distance of the parade route, take the Métro to stations at Charles de Gaulle Étoile, George V, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Champs-Élysées-Clemenceau, or Concorde. Expect crowds, a fly-over, music, and noise.
 


INVERARAY HIGHLAND GAMES

HAMMER THROWER AT THE ANNUAL INVERARAY HIGHLAND GAMES
Photo courtesy Inverary Games

Tuesday, July 17, 2018    10:45AM–5PM
  CENTRAL SCOTLAND - INVERARAY     “Inveraray Highland Games”

          Unusual Tuesday Highland Games held in historic Inveraray at Winterton Park. Men's and women's heavyweight events include the Caber Tossing World Championship, hammer throwing, shot-putt, sheaf toss, hammer throw. Other events including running, cycling, long jump, high jump, and wrestling. Traditional highland dancing and bagpiping will occur along with fun events for children and adults. Expect concessions for candy, cake, clothing, and crafts. Music tents, food and bar concessions, too.

LOCATION: Inveraray Castle, home of the Duke of Argyll PA32 8XE.
GETTING THERE: Inverary is west in HOME AT FIRST’S CENTRAL SCOTLAND. Local guests should take the A85 west to Crianlarich, then the A82 south to Tarbet (along the west shore of Loch Lomond), then the scenic A83 west around Loch Fyne to Inveraray. The castle

 

INVERARAY CASTLE, SITE OF THE CABER TOSSING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Photo courtesy Inverary Castle

is on the northern edge of Inverary town on the west side of the A83. Drive time is about 75-90 minutes.
PARKING:
The games' free parking lot is at Winterton Park on the castle grounds.
ADMISSION:
£8/adults, £5/seniors/students, £3/children 5-15, £20/family.
MORE INFO, see:
INVERARY HIGHLAND GAMES
MORE ABOUT: CENTRAL SCOTLAND

 


THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

JULY 19–22, 2018

CARNOUSTIE, ANGUS, SCOTLAND

JORDAN SPIETH (USA), WINNER OF THE 2017 OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

Photo courtesy theopen.com

Thursday–Sunday  July 19–22  2018

  CARNOUSTIE, ANGUS, SCOTLAND 

"THE (BRITISH) OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP" — GOLF AT CARNOUSTIE

          There are four majors on the PGA calendar. Only one is played outside of the United States, where the non-US major is known as "The British Open". However, the rest of the world call it what the Brits call it, "The Open Championship", as if, because it came first, this tournament is the only one of its kind. Almost all golfing nations have national "opens". But only the UK's open championship calls itself "The Open". Sporting arrogance? Maybe. But perhaps it's just the British taking their due as the founding fathers (& mothers) of golf. And, as for sporting arrogance in the world of golf, there's plenty of that to go around.
          The best part of The (British) Open Championship is that its rotation of courses includes only true seaside links courses. This guarantees at least one major being played each year on landscapes similar to the settings of the original game: sandy "wastelands" outside of seaside towns in (first) Scotland, then around the coastal perimeters of England, Wales, and Ireland. While the US Open is occasionally played on seaside links courses (Pebble Beach, Shinnecock Hills), all nine of the courses on the British Open rotation are true seaside linkses.
          Despite playing on unfamiliar links courses — which require different strategies and tactics than do most parkland and resort courses found in the US and other countries — the British (& Irish) do not dominate The Open Championship. In the last decade four Americans, three Irishmen, two South Africans, and one Swede have won Britain's greatest sporting prize, the Claret Jug. Current champion Jordan Spieth (USA) will defend his title against all comers for four days in July. Expect all kinds of weather, drama, and play at The Open, a tournament where unknowns and best-knowns have competed at the highest level since 1860.

          Carnoustie's championship course (often called "Car-NASTY") is currently ranked #28 in the world (by golf.com). Originally laid out as a 10-hole track in 1842, the course had a major redo in 1926 by golf legend James Braid, and hosted its first Open Championship 5 years later. After an 11-year absence, the Open Championship returns to Carnoustie for the 8th time in 2018. Back in 2007, when Carnoustie last hosted The Open, Ireland's Padraig Harrington won the first of his two Open Championships — won in consecutive years 2007-2008.
LOCATION: The 2018 British Open will be played at
CARNOUSTIE on the east coast of Scotland north across the Firth of Tay from the Home of Golf, ST. ANDREWS in a region where golf has been played on unused sand wastes since at least the 16th century.

NEAREST HOME AT FIRST LODGINGS: Carnoustie is within 45 minutes drive time from HOME AT FIRST locations in: THE KINGDOM OF FIFE NEAR ST. ANDREWS.
TICKETS to daily tournament rounds begin at £80/adult. TICKETS.
PARKING: from £10/car. PRE-PAID PARKING PERMIT.

MORE INFO: WEBSITE.
 


LOCHEARNHEAD HIGHLAND GAMES

PIPE BAND PARADE AT THE ANNUAL LOCHEARNHEAD HIGHLAND GAMES
Photo courtesy Lochearnhead Highland Games

Saturday, July 21, 2018    12 Noon to 8PM
  LOCHEARNHEAD, CENTRAL SCOTLAND 
“Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Highland Games”

          Traditional Saturday afternoon Highland Games held in the land of clans MacGregor, McLaren, MacNab, Stewart, and Campbell at a beautiful setting on the west end of Loch Earn. Heavyweight events including hammer throwing,
caber tossing, shot-putt, weight over the bar, tug-o-war as well as track and field events, and a grueling hill race. Traditional highland dancing and bagpiping will occur throughout the afternoon along with fun events for children and adults. Expect concessions for candy, cake, clothing,
and crafts. Food and bar concessions, too. The traditional Scottish folk band Pure Malt performs in the beer tent from 4:39-8PM.
LOCATION: Games Park, Lochearnhead village.
GETTING THERE: Lochearnhead is in the middle of HOME AT FIRST’S CENTRAL SCOTLAND. Local guests should take the A84 or A85 to their intersection at Lochearnhead village,

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

Photo © Home At First

and follow signs to the Games Park by Loch Earn.
ADMISSION: £6/adults, £4/seniors & kids.

PARKING: free.
MORE INFO, see:
LOCHEARNHEAD HIGHLAND GAMES
MORE ABOUT: CENTRAL SCOTLAND
  


GWR 7903 steaming FROM CHELTENHAM TO TODDINGTON
Photo courtesy GWR

Saturday July 21 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.
 


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
    


CHECK FOR MORE EVENTS EACH MONTH

 

 

Happy Holidays from
— HOME AT FIRST —