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—2019
DESTINATIONS

MANY PRICES STILL WELL
BELOW 10 YEARS AGO!

 

BRITAIN &

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LONDON

'WORLD CAPITAL'

 


 
 

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'LA BELLE'

 

 

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ALPINE SPECTACLE

 


 

 

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BELLA!

 

 


 

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Current Events

AT HOME AT FIRST DESTINATIONS

   

HIGHLAND GAMES SEASON COMES TO AN END
SEE: BRAEMAR SCOTLAND SEPTEMBER 7

          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 & SEPTEMBER 2019

 
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 our
apartments on the north side of Tower Bridge by the Tower of London and
on the south side of Tower Bridge in London's Bermondsey neighborhood
will take public transportation from the Tower Hill Underground Station,
reached by a walk of 8-15 minutes or a 5-12 minute bus ride.

 

 

— HISTORIC SITES

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: £27.50/adult, £21.50/seniors & students (16 & up), £13.10/child (5-15), £49.40/family (1 adult + up to 3 kids 5-15), £69.90/family (2 adults + up to 3 kids 5-15). Save 10% by buying tickets ahead of time
on-line.
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 in Bermondsey.
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 (on-line only), free of charge, but subject to a £1 booking charge. Book a
t least 12-18 months in advance. Maximum Group Size: 6 persons April-October; 12 persons November-March.

AVAILABILITY: The Ceremony of the Keys is CURRENTLY FULLY BOOKED THROUGH APRIL 2020. Tickets for MAY thru OCTOBER 2020 will become available NOVEMBER 1, 2019.
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.

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

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 in Bermondsey.
MORE INFO, see:
CEREMONY OF THE KEYS
  

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.

Falconer's Quest (daily from early April thru October) at the Birds of Prey Arena.

Warwick Dungeon (daily): 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: AUGUST thru 1SEP 10AM-5PM. 2SEP thru 18OCT: 10AM-4PM. 19-23OCT: 10AM-6PM. 24-31OCT: 10AM-9PM.

CASTLE ADMISSION: £31/adult, £28/child, £28/senior. Supplemental admission charged for entrance to the Castle Dungeon. 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

 

 

— MUSEUMS

 

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 or bus 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
.

 


 

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.

MORE INFO, see: BANK OF ENGLAND MUSEUM

 

 

— THEATRE

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 tube and Covent Garden tube,


 
ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE IN LONDON

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 March 28, 2020. 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 May 3, 2020, 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 £26.

  

   “Phantom of the Opera”: long running Gothic musical. Performances through at least April 4, 2020, at Her Majesty’s Theatre, 57 Haymarket SW1Y 4QL.
Near Piccadilly Circus tube.
Rating: Family (ages 10+). Prices from £32.

   “The Mousetrap”: Agatha Christie’s record-running mystery continues through at least March 28, 2020 at St. Martin’s Theatre, Drury Lane, Covent Garden WC2H 9NZ.
Leicester Square tube.
Rating: Family ages 12+. Prices from £23.

   “Wicked”: musical prequel about the witches of “The Wizard of Oz”. Performances through
at least May 23, 2020, at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, 17 Wilton Rd. London S1V 1LG.

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

   “The Lion King”: Long-running blockbuster with spectacular staging though at least December 15, 2019, at the Lyceum Theatre, 21 Wellington St. WC2E 7RQ at the Strand.
Temple tube (closed Sundays) or Embankment. Rating: Family (ages 6+). Prices from £42.

   “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 April 4, 2020, 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 £36.00.

   “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 May 24, 2020, at the Cambridge Theatre, 32-34 Earlham St, Soho WC2 9HU.
Piccadilly Circus Tube. Musical. Rating: Family (ages 6+).
Tickets from £26.

   “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 January 25, 2020, 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.


LONDON THEATRE DETAILS

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.
 

 

— ART EXHIBITIONS

Ongoing thru September 29, 2019 10AM-6PM daily (Fridays until 9PM)

  LONDON   – The National Gallery 

“Bartolomé Bermejo: Master of the Spanish Renaissance”

      Special exhibition examining the rare works of the 15th century Spanish Renaissance master painter Bartolomé Bermejo, considered the finest Spanish Renaissance works in Britain. Seven of the 20 known Bermejo paintings are displayed, demonstrating the artist's virtuoso skills with color, light, texture, and story-telling.

LOCATION: Room 1 at the National Gallery on St. Martin’s Place north of Trafalgar Square, central London WC2H 0HE.

ADMISSION: free to the National Gallery, and also for this special exhibition.

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:
BERMEJO: MASTER OF THE SPANISH RENAISSANCE.

 

bartolomé bermejo

renaissance master

BERMEJO'S 1468 St. michael triumphs over the devil TO PROMOTE THE EXHIBITION
Image courtesy the National Gallery, London


 

BERTHE MORISOT'S "IN ENGLAND" (EUGENE MANET ON THE ISLE OF WIGHT — 1875)
banner image promoting "BERTHE MORISOT" © MUSEUM marmottan-CLAUDE monet, paris

Promotional Image Courtesy The Musée d'Orsay, Paris
 

Ongoing through September 22, 2019, 9:30AM-6PM daily except Monday

  PARIS, FRANCE    – The Musée d'Orsay

“Berthe Morisot — French Impressionism"

          Berthe Morisot is no household name. Friend and talented contemporary of Degas, Monet, and Renoir, Morisot is somehow little remembered as a major player during the heady days of avante garde painting in Paris during the last decades of the 19th century. This extensive exhibition serves notice that Morisot deserved our respect and admiration for the contributions and collaborations to art at a seminal moment in time by HER.

LOCATION: 1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007 Paris. Left Bank of the River Seine, central Paris. Métro: Assemblée Nationale, Solferino, Rue du Bac. RER: Gare du Musée d'Orsay.

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

ADMISSION: €14/adult, Children under 18: free.

TICKETS: Save considerable time standing in line. GET ADVANCE TICKETS HERE.

GETTING THERE: From some HOME AT FIRST PARIS apartments in the 6th and 7th Arrondissements it is possible to walk to the museum. From Home At First's other central Paris apartments, take the Métro to Assemblée Nationale, or Solférino stations or the RER C to its Musée d'Orsay stop.
MORE INFO, see: BERTHE MORISOT, FRENCH IMPRESSIONISM.
 

 

— WALKING TOURS

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, 2019. CLOSED DECEMBER & JANUARY.
  YORK CITY - NORTH YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND   
  “Yorkwalks”

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

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

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

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

Just seen a ghost? Photo © Home At First.


Sundays at 2PM
  LONDON, ENGLAND   – Tower Hill Tube Meeting Point
“Guided Walking Tour of Bizarre 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 Sunday April 28) 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  

 

— FESTIVALS & FAIRS

August 30 thru September 29, 2019
  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

  


 TOTALLY THAMES

FESTIVAL

THE ANNUAL TOTALLY THAMES FESTIVAL RETURNS TO
THE RIVER THAMES IN LONDON EACH SEPTEMBER
 
Photo of the Pool of London viewed from Wapping © Home At First

ONGOING DURING SEPTEMBER 2019
 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 on both sides of the River Thames) one of the focal points. An on-going food festival and craft market, music, dancing, a carnival, art exhibitions, parades of 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.
LOCATION:
Most events occur along the Thames River between Tower Bridge and Westminster Bridge.
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
.

 


Selected Dates Sept. 4 to Oct. 11
 ASCONA & LOCARNO, TICINO, 
 ITALIAN SWITZERLAND 

“74th 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 one all-day, multi-venue, outdoor performance beginning at 7AM Sunday, September 8, and two 11AM Saturday special events held September 21 and 28 at the Palazzo Società Elettrica on Locarno's Piazza Grande.
LOCATION: Evening 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 CHF20-CHF140 depending upon seating and performance. Home At

 

 

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

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

First guests qualify for a 10% reduction by presenting their Ascona/Locarno Visitors' Card at the ticket office at the performance venue or at the Ascona and Locarno Tourist Offices.
MORE INFO
, see:
CLASSICAL CONCERTS IN ASCONA & LOCARNO
    


ABERGAVENNY FOOD FESTIVAL — SEPT. 21-22, 2019

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

Saturday & Sunday September 21-22, 2019 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 7PM. Admission: Sat. Day: £10. 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: £8.

MORE INFO, see: ABERGAVENNY FOOD FESTIVAL
 


 

COMPETITIVE OYSTER SHUCKING AT THE ANNUAL GALWAY OYSTER & SEAFOOD FESTIVAL
Photo courtesy Galway Oyster & Seafood Festival 

Saturday-Sunday Sept. 28-29 2019 from 2-7PM each day
 GALWAY CITY, CO. GALWAY,  
 WEST CENTRAL IRELAND  

64th Galway Oyster & Seafood Festival”
          Home of the World Oyster Opening Championships and the Galway Oyster Festival Parade. Non-stop entertainment that features the Festival Marquee at the

Nimmo's Pier at the harbor in center city Galway from 2-9PM: beer, wine, oysters, and a sumptuous menu will be served. The World Oyster Opening Championships begin at 2PM,

Readying a tray of Galway festival oysters. Photo courtesy Galway Oyster Festival.
 
Readying Galway festival oysters

Photo courtesy Galway Oyster Festival

with non-stop entertainment,  live music, and the crowning of the World Oyster Opening Champion. A Masquerade Mardi Gras ball begins at 8PM and carries on until the wee hours.

Admission: Tickets to Saturday's World Oyster Opening Championships (12N-7PM): €80/person (includes food stalls and live music). Tickets for Saturday evening's (8PM-??) Masquerade Mardi Gras ball: €120. Free admission to Sunday's Wild Atlantic Tastes event (also 12N-7PM at the Festival Marquee at Nimmo's Pier on the Galway center city waterfront.

TICKETS: Get them on-line HERE.

Proper Dress: Dressy, fashionable, trendy, hip, even over-the-top.

LOCATION: Galway city, approximately 90-120 minutes west of Home At First’s Central Ireland cottages.
GETTING THERE: From
HOME AT FIRST’S CENTRAL IRELAND cottages, drive north on the N52 from Nenagh to Borrisokane, then take the N65 northwest to the M6 north of Loughrea, then follow the M6/N6 west into Galway. Guests coming from Terryglass, drive the R493 to the N65, then northwest to the M6/N6 as above.
MORE INFO, see:
GALWAY OYSTER FEST

 


BALLINASLOE HORSE FAIR

Europe's Oldest!

FIND IRELAND AT BALLINASLOE EVERY OCTOBER
Photo courtesy Ballinasloe October Fair
 

Monday-Sunday  Sept. 30-Oct. 6 2019
  BALLINASLOE, COUNTY GALWAY,  

  CENTRAL IRELAND 
“Ballinasloe October Fair & Festival”

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

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

Saturday, October 5: Traditional Country Fair day with 140 stalls in the St. Michael's East and West parking areas, Ballinasloe. Horse fair on the Fair Green. Live music and dancing on the fair soundstage. Lasts all day.

Sunday, October 6: large craft and food market — all day in Ballinasloe town. Dog show with parade of champions — 1-5PM on St. Michael's Square. Vintage show of old-time vehicles and equipment all day in Ballinasloe town.


ONLOOKER AT THE BALLINASLOE 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 FAIR & FESTIVAL. 
   

 

— TRADITIONS & PAGEANTS

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.
   


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.
   

 

— ROYAL POMP & POPPYCOCK

BUCKINGHAM PALACE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

BUCKINGHAM PALACE
Photo courtesy RoyalCollection.org.uk

Ongoing through September 29, 2019

  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 2019 — and to celebrate the 200th birthday of Queen Victoria — there is a special exhibition, "Queen Victoria's Palace" detailing how Victoria converted Buckingham Palace into the grand focal point of the British Empire in the 19th century. 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: £25/adults, £22.80/seniors & college students, £14/kids 5-16, £64/family (up to 3 children). Children under 5: free.

TICKETS: Get advance tickets here ON-LINE.

OPEN: 9:30AM-7:00PM daily July 20 through August 31 (last entrance: 5:15PM).
OPEN: 9:30AM-6:00PM daily September 1-29 (last entrance: 4:15PM).

MORE INFO: BUCKINGHAM PALACE OPEN TO VIEW
 


 

EVENTS IN AUGUST 2019

 

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

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway passenger special between  CHELTENHAM & TODDINGTON.
Photo courtesy GWR

Saturday August 31  2019  7–9:30PM
  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 (the winter before departing for England) 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: £24/person, includes train fare and fish & chips dinner. Drinks available for sale in the buffet car.
GETTING THERE: From HOME AT FIRST’S NORTHERN COTSWOLDS cottages in and around Chipping Campden, drive 25 minutes south to Toddington Station.

PARKING: free at Toddington Station.
MORE INFO, see:
GWR RWY FISH CHIPS AND STEAM.
 

      


EVENTS IN SEPTEMBER 2019

 

 

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

Saturday, September 7 2019 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.

   


Sunday   September 8  2019    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: £8/adult, £4/seniors & children 5 and up,
£20/family. Car Parking — £1.
MORE INFO, see: BLAIRGOWRIE HIGHLAND GAMES.

 


 

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

Thursday, September 12, 2019
  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
 


 

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

Saturday   September 14  2019    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.
 


 

— 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 15   2019
 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

 


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

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

Saturday September 21  2019   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 25 minutes south from
HOME AT FIRST’S NORTHERN COTSWOLDS cottages in and around Chipping Campden to Toddington Station.
MORE INFO, see:
GWR RWY FISH CHIPS AND STEAM.
 


 

CHECK FOR MORE EVENTS EACH MONTH

 

 

Happy Travels from
— HOME AT FIRST —