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Current Events

AT HOME AT FIRST DESTINATIONS

ENGLAND

The Cross of St. George

St.

George's

Day:

April 23

SHAKESPEARE DAY:

april 23

William Shakespeare (?)
April 23 (?) 1564 - April 23, 1616
Portrait by John Taylor (?)
circa 1600-1610

Image courtesy the National Portrait Gallery,
Trafalgar Square, London

 

APRIL 23 — ENGLAND MARKS ITS UNOFFICIAL
 NATIONAL DAY AND THE ANNIVERSARY OF
THE DEATH OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.

THIS YEAR'S RUNNING OF THE LONDON MARATHON
WILL ALSO TAKE PLACE ON SUNDAY, APRIL 23.

Image purported to be William Shakespeare painted from life by John Taylor. Known as the "Chandos portrait",
this painting was the first portrait obtained for the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London.

 

CALENDAR OF SELECTED EVENTS

 APRIL–MAY 2017

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

BRITAIN, IRELAND, ICELAND,

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

LONDON  ENGLAND  SCOTLAND  WALES  IRELAND  PARIS  SWITZERLAND

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. Special exhibitions and guided tours at the Tower focus on various elements of its 1000-year-history. These discuss some of the best-known prisoners who were incarcerated there, many of whom were beheaded, 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: £24.80/adult, £19.30/seniors & students (16 & up), £11.50/child (5-15), £44.60/family (1 adult + kids), £63/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. Very popular — usually sold out up to a year ahead.
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


 MUSEUM OF                  LONDON

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
.

 


MUSEUM OF LONDON DOCKLANDS

THE SUGAR & SLAVERY GALLERY, MUSEUM OF LONDON DOCKLANDS
Photo courtesy the Museum of London's Docklands

Ongoing, daily from 10AM-6PM 
  LONDON, ENGLAND   - THE MUSEUM OF LONDON DOCKLANDS
10 Free Galleries Cover a 400 Years of the Port of East London

          The Docklands branch of London’s best museum offers ten permanent & free galleries focusing on the important history of London's port and its role in the growth of the Empire, its destruction by Nazi bombers during World War II, and its post-war renaissance as a financial center helping make London a world city.

SPECIAL EXHIBITION NOW THROUGH JUNE 4, 2017:

"The Royal African". Slavery was one of the lucrative markets served by London shipping. During the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries scores of thousands of Africans were abducted and forcibly transported in British commercial ships to Jamaica and elsewhere in the West Indies, to serve primarily as slave labor in the sugar industry. The history of London Docklands includes an important chapter on the slave trade, a chapter presented in detail in the "Sugar & Slavery Gallery" at the Museum of London Docklands. Now a special exhibition, "The Royal African", tells the story of one of the more unusual lives kidnapped, enslaved, worked, and eventually freed: William Sessarakoo, an African prince, son of a west African tribal leader, who in 1744 was abducted while en route to London for schooling, shipped to Barbados, worked in the sugar cane industry for four years, then discovered and freed by Britain's largest slave merchants,

 

 

WILLIAM SESSARAKOO
Image courtesy National Portrait Gallery, London

 

 

 The Museum of London Docklands occupies a converted warehouse
on the Isle of Dogs in East London.

the Royal African Company, who brought the Royal African to London in hopes of appeasing his high-ranking father, whose good graces the Royal African Company needed to continue smooth operations.

LOCATION: Museum of London Docklands, 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN.

OPEN: 10AM-6PM daily.
ADMISSION: Free to the museum & its galleries. Admission to the exhibition "The Royal African", free.

GETTING THERE: From HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON apartments walk 5-12 minutes to the Tower Gateway station of the Docklands Light Railway. Take the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) east 7 minutes to Westferry station, then walk 4 minutes east along the sidewalk paralleling the elevated DLR tracks, then under the tracks on Hertsmere Rd toward the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf to the museum just north of the North Dock. Total transit & walking time: 16-23 minutes.
MORE INFO, see:
MUSEUM OF LONDON DOCKLANDS
.

 


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 during from April 8-23. From 10AM-4PM from April 24 to May 26. From 10AM-5PM from May 27-31.

CASTLE ADMISSION: £19.20/adult, £16.80/child, £15.80/senior, £63.20/family (2 adults + 2 kids), £79.00/family (2 adults + 3 kids). 
Supplemental admission charged for entrance to the Castle Dungeon and/or Merlin: The Dragon Tower. NOTE: Book on-line in advance for discounted prices.

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


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 March 3, 2018. Prices from £20.

  

   “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 February 25, 2018, 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 Garde tube station. Rating: Family (ages 8+). Prices from £21.75.

  

   “Phantom of the Opera”: long running Gothic musical. Performances through at least
October 14, 2017, at Her Majesty’s Theatre, 57 Haymarket SW1Y 4QL.
Near Piccadilly Circus tube. Rating: Family (ages 10+). Prices from £30.

   “The Mousetrap”: Agatha Christie’s record-running mystery continues through at least January 6, 2018 at St. Martin’s Theatre, Drury Lane, Covent Garden WC2H 9NZ.
Leicester Square tube. Rating: Family ages 12+. Prices from £17.50.

   “Wicked”: musical prequel about the witches of “The Wizard of Oz”. Performances through
at least May 26, 2018, at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, 17 Wilton Rd. London S1V 1LG.

Victoria tube. Rating: Family (ages 7+). Prices from £19.50.

   “The Lion King”: Long-running blockbuster with spectacular staging though at least September 30, 2017, at the Lyceum Theatre, 21 Wellington St. WC2E 7RQ at the Strand.
Temple tube (closed Sundays) or Embankment. Rating: Family (ages 6+). Prices from £45.00.

   “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 October 14, 2017, 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 £32.00.

   “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 December 17, 2017, at the Cambridge Theatre, 32-34 Earlham St, Soho WC2 9HU.
Piccadilly Circus Tube. Musical. Rating: Family (ages 6+).
Tickets from £32.

   “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 November 18, 2017, 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 £25.

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.


THE RADICAL EYE:

Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection

Ongoing Daily
thru May 21, 2017

THE
TATE
MODERN MUSEUM

 LONDON,
  ENGLAND  
“The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography”

from the
Elton John
Collection

 

"GLASS TEARS" by Man Ray

          Special exhibition of the private modernist photography collection of wealthy pop-star Sir Elton John, who has gathered a remarkable collection from the 1920s through the 1950s, a critical period of experimentation and development that cemented photography's claim to being an Artistic (with a capital "A") form. This special exhibition at London's Tate Modern includes many of Man Ray's fanciful works as well as portraits of Matisse, Picasso, and Breton.

LOCATION: 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 May 21, 2017:
10AM-6PM Su-Th; 10AM-10PM Fr.
ADMISSION: £15/adult (£13.10/seniors & students; under-12s are free) for this special exhibition. Otherwise, the Tate Modern's collection and 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. 


 

detail from SEBASTIANO's 'THE VISITATION' (1518-19) 
BANNER PROMOTING THE National gallery's exhibition.

  Courtesy The National Gallery

Ongoing through June 25, 2017

 LONDON – The National Gallery 

“Michelangelo & Sebastiano”

          Special exhibition examining the 25-year-long relationship between Italian Renaissance masters Michelangelo and Sebastiano del Piombo with special focus on their collaborative artistry. This exhibition includes a number of important paintings, drawings, sculpture, and letters between the two friends.

LOCATION: In the North Galleries of the National Gallery, the imposing neo-classical edifice on Trafalgar Square, central London WC2N 5DN.

OPEN: 10AM-6PM Sa-Th; til 9PM Fr.

ADMISSION: although admission is free to the National Gallery's collection, admission is charged to this special exhibition: £16/adult, £14/seniors, £8/students 12-18.

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 Portrait Gallery is on the west side of St. Martin's Place behind (north of) the imposing neo-classical National Gallery on the north side of Trafalgar Square behind Nelson's Column.
MORE INFO, see:
MICHELANGELO & SEBASTIANO AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY.


THE LOUVRE, PARIS

Vermeer
   & the Masters
of Genre Painting

February 22 – May 22, 2017
Hall Napoleon, under the Pyramid
We-Mo 9AM-6PM; closed Tuesday
We & Fr evenings open to 9:45PM.

ADMISSION: €15; Under 18s free.
ADVANCE TICKETS HERE

Jan Vermeer's "The Milkmaid", 1658
Image © The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam courtesy The Louvre, Paris to promote its special exhibition

  PARIS, FRANCE    “Vermeer & the Masters of Genre Painting”

          The Louvre offers a special exhibition examining the masterpiece paintings of Jan Vermeer in the light of comparison with the works of his contemporaries. This second coming of Dutch masters — Vermeer, plus Dou, ter Borch, Steen, de Hooch, Metsu, Netscher, and van Mieris — used subjects from everyday life to illustrate the common nobility of man by showing them in familiar poses, but in the sublime light and and saturated color that had previously been reserved for portraits of secular nobility and the sanctified Christians. The exhibition displays an assemblage of paintings from the Louvre, and the National Galleries of Ireland and Washington DC to illustrate the points that Vermeer was neither an anomaly — a solo artist without peers — nor working alone without influence from others or upon others.

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!
MORE INFO, see: VERMEER AT THE LOUVRE.


 

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


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, 2017.
  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.


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 23APR) 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


APRIL
Several Times Weekly

  BERMUDA 

“Whale Watching Season”

      March and April are the months for guided day trips onto the open Atlantic to see migrating Humpback Whales traveling north pass close to Bermuda’s shores.

LOCATIONS: Various. Operators include: Tucker’s Point Dive & Water Sports Centre, Hamilton; Bermuda Underwater Exploration Unit, Pembroke; Fantasea Bermuda, at the Royal Naval Dockyard.

COST: $75-$100/adult.

 

SHE BREACHES!
Photo courtesy Fantasea Bermuda

ADVANCE RESERVATIONS: HERE.

GETTING THERE: Taxi or public transport from your Bermuda lodging.

MORE INFO: https://www.fantasea.bm/portfolio/sightseeing-cruises/?rid=2664. 


EVENTS IN APRIL 2017

 

THE

BERMUDA

AGRICULTURAL

SHOW

 

"bermuda homegrown" is the theme of the 2017 ag show
Photo courtesy the Bermuda Agricultural Show

 

Thursday-Saturday, April 20-22, 2017

  BERMUDA  

“Bermuda Agricultural Show” (Agricultural Exhibition)

          Bermuda's version of a county fair, with foods, domestic animals, crafts, and equestrian events. The 3-day fair draws 20,000 people and is a major event on Bermuda's social calendar.

LOCATION: Bermuda Botanical Gardens in eastern Paget Parish about 1/2 mile southeast of Hamilton city.

GETTING THERE from Home At First’s BERMUDA lodgings take the ferry or Route 10 or 11 buses to Hamilton city and change to the #2 bus to the Botanical Gardens, or take the Routes 1, 7 or 8 buses along the main roads of Bermuda and ask to get off at the Botanic Gardens.

OPEN: April 20-22, 2017, 8AM to 6PM daily

ADMISSION: $10/adult and $5/seniors & children (5-15).

TICKETS: ON-LINE SALES

CATALOG:  OFFICIAL BERMUDA AG SHOW CATALOG

MORE INFO, see: BERMUDA AGRICULTURAL EXHIBITION.

 


  Arrowtown Autumn Festival 

 Arrowtown, South Island, New Zealand 

Parade of old-time autos draws a crowd on a fine autumn afternoon at Arrowtown.
Photo courtesy www.arrowtownautumnfestival.org.nz

Thursday-Sunday, April 20-25 2017

  ARROWTOWN, Otago, South Island, New Zealand  

“Arrowtown Autumn Festival”

          Arrowtown, a former gold mining center that nearly disappeared, has re-emerged in recent years as a historic, gentile, village where New Zealand’s colorful pioneer past is the theme of its high end craft shops, galleries, boutique shops, and gourmet cafés. At no time of year is Arrowtown prettier than when the autumn colors change the palette of its tree-lined streets. The annual Autumn Festival brings a 5-day program of various events to Arrowtown, adding to the town’s history and culture as top reasons to make the 20-minute drive from Queenstown.

LOCATION: Arrowtown is 13 miles NW of Queenstown.

ADMISSION: Many events free. Some are not. See PROGRAM.

GETTING THERE: from Home At First’s nearest regional lodgings, QUEENSTOWN INN at QUEENSTOWN, drive northeast via Gorge Rd and Arthur’s Point to Malaghans Road for the scenic 20-minute drive to Arrowtown.

MORE INFO, see: AUTUMN IN ARROWTOWN.

 


Friday, April 21, 2017  1PM

 LONDON, England  

“Royal Gun Salute: The Queen’s (actual) Birthday”

          Today is the actual birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, born this day in 1926. At 1PM the Honourable Artillery Company will mark the anniversary with a 62-gun salute (a basic 21-gun salute for the birthday, plus 20-more guns fired because the location is a royal palace/fortress, plus 21 guns fired to honor the City of London). Despite the April 21 birthday, the United Kingdom declares a Saturday in June of each year the Queen’s “official birthday”, which is fêted with the famed “Trooping of the Colour” parade, one of the great military pageants of the world.

LOCATION: Along the River Thames on the south side of the Tower of London.

GETTING THERE from Home At First’s LONDON Apartments at St. Katharine’s Marina by the Tower of London: walk approximately 8 minutes west,

Queen Elizabeth II's annual birthday 62-gun salute at the Tower of London. Photo courtesy www.hac.org.uk.

Queen Elizabeth II's annual birthday
62-gun salute at the Tower of London.

Photo courtesy www.hac.org.uk.

following the Thames Path by the river, passing underneath the Tower Bridge abutment onto Tower of London grounds via Dead Man’s Hole. From Home At First’s LONDON Brewery Apartments on the south side of the Thames, walk approximately 10 minutes north across the Tower Bridge. Descend the staircase and pass underneath the bridge abutment onto Tower of London grounds via Dead Man’s Hole.

TIME: Cannon fire begins promptly at 1PM. Guns are fired across the river in the general direction of London’s City Hall.

ADMISSION: Free.

MORE INFO: QUEENS BIRTHDAY GUN SALUTE.

 


Sunday, April 23, 2017 

 THROUGHOUT ENGLAND

“St. George's Day - England's National Day?”

          Today might be England's National Day. Then again, it might be just another Saturday across England. Many English express interest in making April 23 an official holiday, or, at least, giving the feast day of St. George — patron saint of England — national prominence. After all, Ireland celebrates St. Patrick with festivals and parades that can last a week in March. Quasi-independent Scotland

St. George's Cross -- the flag of England, and part of the Union Jack.

ST. GEORGE'S CROSS — THE FLAG OF ENGLAND
AND ONE-THIRD OF THE UNION JACK STANDARD

has elevated St. Andrew's Day (Nov. 30) to quasi-national-day status. And the good folk of Wales relish wearing leeks and daffodils on March 1, St. David's Day, as gentle-but-earnest statements of national unity and anti-English sentiment.

          If many English envy the Irish, Scots, and Welsh their days of national celebration, perhaps even more wish not to remind their fellow Brits as well as former subjects and colonials around the world of the pride of England as a great power and conqueror of nations and cultures on every continent north of Antarctica.
          There are celebrations of St. George's Day around England. Many we have found celebrate St. George the dragon slayer with little mention of nation, save for the red cross on white banners and bunting that decorate the events. Many of the events we have found marking the feast of St. George are commercial events oriented for children, focusing on knights and dragons and never mentioning Churchill, Rhodes, Clive, Wellington,
Henry VIII, or Edward I. Some tie the death of William Shakespeare on April 23, 1616 to St. George's day..

          There is a movement afoot to set aside political correctness and boldly confirm the pride of nation and culture that many English — be they WASPy or recent — not-so-secretly feel. There are petitions, and bonfires, and other kinds of gatherings promotes to promote St. George's Day as a celebration of the greatness of England. There are calls for an official paid-day-off national holiday on April 23.

          But we note with interest that these efforts have largely not caught the public imagination in England. What we notice instead is an increasing affinity — especially among English youth — with a different commemoration as a kind of unofficial English national day: November 5, Guy Fawkes Day, which marks a failed 17th century attempt to blow up the English Parliament.

LOCATION: St. George's Day celebrations are scattered throughout England. Some are commercial (admission charges), most others are low-key and local. Perhaps the largest occurs in LONDON's Trafalgar Square from 12-6PM April 23.

 


THE LONDON            MARATHON

RUNNERS CROSSING the Tower BRIDGE DURING THE LONDON MARATHON. THE ROUTE TAKES RUNNERS PAST HOME AT FIRST'S ST. KATHARINE'S MARINA APARTMENTS LOCATION (left) and the tower of london (right).
Photo Courtesy Virgin Money London Marathon

 

Sunday, April 23 2017 — St. George's Day (a happy coincidence)
  LONDON, ENGLAND  
“The London Marathon”
         
Today, if the marathon route and timing is as projected, Home At First’s London guests staying at St. Katharine’s Marina Apartments by the Tower of London have a near ringside seat right outside their apartment to view one of the world's great foot races, the London Marathon. Between about 10AM to 2PM approximately 35,500 racers will be crossing the Tower Bridge from the south, turn right onto East Smithfield St. that borders the north side of the St. Katharine's Marina complex just before the race's halfway mark 1/10th mile further to the east. Racers pass along E. Smithfield St. again, this time westbound in the 23rd mile of the 26+mile event on their way to the finish line on The Mall just past Buckingham Palace.

          Want to rub elbows with other enthusiastic Marathon revelers? There are at least 35 planned live music sites along the raceway, including one at the north end of the Tower Bridge and one just east of St. Katharine's at the Marathon's halfway point.

          What if it rains? The BBC will devote 6 hours of TV coverage to the race. So watching from your apartment or local pub is an option. Some forty pubs line the route's 26 miles.

          The race kicks off with a staggered start at 9AM in Greenwich, east of London on the south side of The Thames. Racers cross to the north side of the river on the iconic Tower Bridge at mile 12.5 before heading east again, passing St. Katharine's Marina on the way to Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs, then turning west again, passing St. Katharine's a second time before running across Tower Hill and following the Thames northern embankment to Westminster. At Big Ben the route turns west from the river, running along the south side of St. James's Park, passing in front of Buckingham Palace, and turning down The Mall to the finish line.
LOCATION: Greenwich to The Mall, London, England.
GETTING TO THE NEAREST SPECTATOR POINT: Walk 2 minutes from
Home At First’s Apartments at St. Katharine’s Marina to East Smithfield St, the northern boundary of the St. Katharine's Marina. The Tower Bridge, Tower Hill, and the Tower of London are projected to be extremely crowded with spectators, and, while close to the Apartments at St. Katharine's Marina, may make for uncomfortable viewing and difficult access/egress.
ADMISSION: free.
MORE INFO, see:
THE LONDON MARATHON.

 


Mon. thru Sun. Apr. 24-30, 2017
Ribe Viking Center, Lustrupholm,
 Ribe, Denmark

International Viking Market
          Two to three hundred wannabe Vikings assemble in a reconstruction of Scandinavia’s oldest known market square to trade and hawk Viking crafts and show off their skills at combat, riding, dance, and archery, as well as their craftsmanship just as real Vikings did here more than 1300 years ago. The annual market at the Viking Center celebrates the anniversary of the

Not your usual shopkeepers at Ribe's Viking Market. Photo courtesy Ribe Viking Center.

You are invited to attend the market with these lads.
Courtesy The Ribe Viking Center

founding of Ribe, the most historic international market town of southwest Denmark.

LOCATION: The Viking Center is south of the town of Ribe in the satellite community of Lustrupholm.

GETTING THERE: Ribe is 77 miles west of Home At First DENMARK lodgings in ODENSE, and 172 miles west of COPENHAGEN. Take the E20 motorway west from Copenhagen past Odense. Leave the motorway west of Kolding: take Rt. 32 SW to Ribe, then Rts. 24 south around Ribe town. Exit Rt. 24 onto Strengevej. Drive south for ½ mi. Turn right (west) onto Lustrupvej ¼ mile to the Ribe Viking Center.

ADMISSION: DKK120/adult, DKK60/children 3-13.

OPEN: from 10AM daily; Mon-Fri to 4PM; Sat-Sun to 5PM.

MORE INFO: RIBE VIKING CENTER WEB SITE.


Fri-Mon  April 28–May 1 2017
  KINVARA, CO. GALWAY,  
  WEST CENTRAL IRELAND 

“Cuckoo Festival”
         
Family-oriented traditional Irish music & arts festival in a small, historic, coastal village with an iconic castle.
LOCATION:
Kinvara, south of Galway city, on Galway Bay. Just outside of town is the famous DUNGUAIRE CASTLE.
ADMISSION: free
GETTING THERE:
Home At First
Central Ireland guests drive the N52 north to the N65 west to the N6 at Loughrea. Take the
R347 from the N6 to the N67 coast road at Kinvara.
MORE INFO, see:
KINVARA CUCKOO FESTIVAL.

 

Kinvara Cuckoo Festival poster,
showing Dunguaire Castle by
Kinvara village, west Central Ireland.

Image courtesy Kinvara Cuckoo Festival

Kinvara Cuckoo Festival Poster showing Dunguaire Castle, Kinvara, West Central Ireland.

Sat-Mon Apr 29 – May 1 2017 11AM-5:30PM daily
 COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND
Jousting at Blenheim Palace”
          The palatial home of the Dukes of Marlborough and the Churchill family — including British Prime Minister Winston Churchill — is the backdrop for a medieval jousting tournament with mounted knights clashing twice each day in the park and the South Front of the palace

Jousting at Blenheim Palace, near Woodstock in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. Photo courtesy www.blenheimpalace.com.

JOUSTING AT BLENHEIM PALACE
Courtesy www.blenheimpalace.com

during this three-day tourney. Falconry will also be exhibited.
LOCATION: Blenheim Palace is in the eastern Cotswolds just SW of Woodstock (and NW of Oxford) just about 25 miles southeast of
HOME AT FIRST’S NORTHERN COTSWOLDS cottages in and near Chipping Campden and about 32 miles northeast of HOME AT FIRST’S SOUTHERN COTSWOLDS cottages in and near Tetbury.
GETTING THERE: From the Northern Cotswolds, drive SE on the A44 to Woodstock. From the Southern Cotswolds, drive northeast from Tetbury on the A433 to Cirencester. Then take the B4425 NE to Burford and the A40 east to
Witney and the A4095 NE to the A44 near Woodstock. From Woodstock follow the brown signs leading to Blenheim Palace.
ADMISSION:
Palace, Park & Gardens—£24.90/adults, £20.90/seniors/students,
   £13.90/children 5-16, £59.90/family.
Park & Gardens Only (minimum ticket for entry to Jousting Tourney)
   £15.30/adults, £11.50/seniors/students, £7.10/children 5-16, £41/family.
MORE INFO, see: BLENHEIM PALACE JOUSTING.

 


Sun., April 30 2017 3-4:15 & 8-10PM

 STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN  

“Walpurgis Night (Valborgsmässoafton)”

          This special night (really up to two nights and two days: carrying on throughout May 1) in SWEDEN has some ancient pagan associations (as does Halloween, exactly 6 months away): bonfires driving away winter’s witches, as spring arrives in Sweden – blended with a number of modern trappings: parades, socialist protests-turned-to-revelry (associated with May Day). Think BIG party in (hopefully) delightful spring weather. Youthful, boisterous – again,

Walpurgis Eve bonfire celebration in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo Frank Chmura - NordicPhotos - courtesy www.visitsweden.com.

Walpurgis Eve bonfire celebration in Stockholm
Photo Frank Chmura - NordicPhotos -
courtesy www.visitsweden.com.

like Halloween has become in America.

LOCATION: Although Walpurgis Night celebrations occur all over Sweden, visitors have a good opportunity to experience it in a cultural context at Stockholm’s Skansen open-air folk museum on the island of Djurgården, a 5-minute ferryboat ride from Slüssen.

OPEN: Walpurgis Night celebrated is celebrated twice this April 30: 3-4:15PM & 8-10PM at Skansen's Solliden Stage.

ADMISSION to SKANSEN:

• Walpurgis Day, April 30: 180SEK/adult; 160SEK/senior; 60SEK/kids 6-15.

• Two Days, April 30 & May 1: 250SEK/adult; 230SEK/senior; 90SEK/kids 6-15.

GETTING THERE from Home At First’s STOCKHOLM inn in the old city (Gamla Stan), walk (10 minutes) south to the Slüssen ferries, then take the boat (10 minutes) to Skansen on Djurgården. From Home At First’s inn in Östermalm, walk or take the tram east along the Strandvägen and across the bridge onto Djurgården to the Skansen entrance.

MORE INFO, see: WALPURGIS NIGHT AT SKANSEN.


 

Berkeley Castle
Courtesy Berkeley Castle

Sunday-Monday  April 30-May 1, 2017  Daily 11AM–5PM
  SOUTHERN COTSWOLDS — GLOUCESTERSHIRE, WESTERN ENGLAND 

“Jousting at Berkeley Castle”
          Historic Berkeley Castle displays original documents from the 12th century, including fragments of a charter from King John bearing the royal seal. Jousting — medieval combat by knights on horseback — takes place in the afternoon each day this weekend. You can also explore the castle and mingle with knights, jesters, minstrels, lords, ladies and lepers. Berkeley Castle is no show castle operated like a theme park, but a private residence that has been the home of the Berkeley family since Norman times (since the year 1117). Its appearance remains largely unaltered since medieval times.
LOCATION: Berkeley Castle is about 30 minutes drive west of
HOME AT FIRST’S COTTAGES IN THE SOUTHERN COTSWOLDS at Tetbury.
GETTING THERE:
from Home At First’s cottages in Tetbury, South Cotswolds, take the A4135 west to the B4066 to the A38 at Dursley, then the A38 south about ¾ mile to the B4066 leading west (left) for Berkeley. In less than a mile you reach the entrance for Berkeley Castle on the left as you enter the town of Berkeley.
          From HOME AT FIRST’S COTTAGES IN THE NORTHERN COTSWOLDS, drive the A44 NW to the A46 near Evesham. Take the A46 SW to Junction 9 of the M5 near Tewkesbury. South on the M5 motorway and exit onto the A38 south at Junction 13. Take the A38 south past Dursley, then the B4066 west 1 mile to Berkeley Castle entrance just before entering the town of Berkeley.
ADMISSION TO BERKELEY CASTLE
(includes entry to the Butterfly House May-Sept.):
 
£11/adult, £9/seniors/students, £6/child 3-16, £30/family (2 adults+2 kids).
Get Tickets in Advance
HERE.
MORE INFO, see:
BERKELEY CASTLE
MORE ABOUT HOME AT FIRST’S COTSWOLDS

 


EVENTS IN MAY 2017

 

 

Throngs celebrating  by strolling through the Tuileries park between Place de la Concorde and the Louvre.
Photo © Home At First

Monday May 1, 2017
  PARIS, FRANCE 
May Day — Fête du Travail
          Arguably, the two most important secular holidays in PARIS are Bastille Day (July 14 — France's national day) and May Day (May 1, France's Labor Day, the Fête du Travail). Although the holiday has been hijacked by labor unions and political groups from the far left to the far right to promote their causes in support of the average Frenchman, most average Frenchmen seem to spend the day off relaxing, picnicking, strolling, and enjoying the delightful spring weather. Still, in parts of Paris, parades, rallies and protests are expected this day. Express you wish for a happy May Day by wearing a sprig of lily-of-the-valley (muguet), for sale (tax-free!) by vendors everywhere.

WHAT'S OPEN TODAY? The May Day holiday means most shops and businesses are closed, but cafés and restaurants stay open.


Monday,  May 1 2017
  KINVARA, CO. GALWAY,  
  WEST CENTRAL IRELAND 

“Cuckoo Festival”
         
Family-oriented traditional Irish music & arts festival in a small, historic, coastal village with an iconic castle.
LOCATION:
Kinvara, south of Galway city, on Galway Bay. Just outside of town is the famous DUNGUAIRE CASTLE.
ADMISSION: free
GETTING THERE:
Home At First
Central Ireland guests drive the N52 north to the N65 west to the N6 at Loughrea. Take the
R347 from the N6 to the N67 coast road at Kinvara.
MORE INFO, see:
KINVARA CUCKOO FESTIVAL.

 

Kinvara Cuckoo Festival poster,
showing Dunguaire Castle by
Kinvara village, west Central Ireland.

Image courtesy Kinvara Cuckoo Festival

Kinvara Cuckoo Festival Poster showing Dunguaire Castle, Kinvara, West Central Ireland.

Mon May 1 2017 11AM-5:30PM
 COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND
Jousting at Blenheim Palace”
          The palatial home of the Dukes of Marlborough and the Churchill family — including British Prime Minister Winston Churchill — is the backdrop for a medieval jousting tournament with mounted knights clashing twice each day in the park and the South Front of the palace during this three-day tourney.

Jousting at Blenheim Palace, near Woodstock in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. Photo courtesy www.blenheimpalace.com.

JOUSTING AT BLENHEIM PALACE
Courtesy www.blenheimpalace.com

Falconry will also be exhibited.
LOCATION: Blenheim Palace is in the eastern Cotswolds just SW of Woodstock (and NW of Oxford) just about 25 miles southeast of
HOME AT FIRST’S NORTHERN COTSWOLDS cottages in and near Chipping Campden and about 32 miles northeast of HOME AT FIRST’S SOUTHERN COTSWOLDS cottages in and near Tetbury.
GETTING THERE: From the Northern Cotswolds, drive SE on the A44 to Woodstock. From the Southern Cotswolds, drive northeast from Tetbury on the A433 to Cirencester. Then take the B4425 NE to Burford and the A40 east to
Witney and the A4095 NE to the A44 near Woodstock. From Woodstock follow the brown signs leading to Blenheim Palace.
ADMISSION:
Palace, Park & Gardens—£24.90/adults, £20.90/seniors/students,
   £13.90/children 5-16, £59.90/family.
Park & Gardens Only (minimum ticket for entry to Jousting Tourney)
   £15.30/adults, £11.50/seniors/students, £7.10/children 5-16, £41/family.
MORE INFO, see: BLENHEIM PALACE JOUSTING.

 


 

Berkeley Castle
Courtesy Berkeley Castle

Monday  May 1, 2017  11AM–5PM
  SOUTHERN COTSWOLDS — GLOUCESTERSHIRE, WESTERN ENGLAND 

“Jousting at Berkeley Castle”
          Historic Berkeley Castle displays original documents from the 12th century, including fragments of a charter from King John bearing the royal seal. Jousting — medieval combat by knights on horseback — takes place in the afternoon each day this weekend. You can also explore the castle and mingle with knights, jesters, minstrels, lords, ladies and lepers. Berkeley Castle is no show castle operated like a theme park, but a private residence that has been the home of the Berkeley family since Norman times (since the year 1117). Its appearance remains largely unaltered since medieval times.
LOCATION: Berkeley Castle is about 30 minutes drive west of
HOME AT FIRST’S COTTAGES IN THE SOUTHERN COTSWOLDS at Tetbury.
GETTING THERE:
from Home At First’s cottages in Tetbury, South Cotswolds, take the A4135 west to the B4066 to the A38 at Dursley, then the A38 south about ¾ mile to the B4066 leading west (left) for Berkeley. In less than a mile you reach the entrance for Berkeley Castle on the left as you enter the town of Berkeley.
          From HOME AT FIRST’S COTTAGES IN THE NORTHERN COTSWOLDS, drive the A44 NW to the A46 near Evesham. Take the A46 SW to Junction 9 of the M5 near Tewkesbury. South on the M5 motorway and exit onto the A38 south at Junction 13. Take the A38 south past Dursley, then the B4066 west 1 mile to Berkeley Castle entrance just before entering the town of Berkeley.
ADMISSION TO BERKELEY CASTLE
(includes entry to the Butterfly House May-Sept.):
 
£11/adult, £9/seniors/students, £6/child 3-16, £30/family (2 adults+2 kids).
Get Tickets in Advance
HERE.
MORE INFO, see:
BERKELEY CASTLE
MORE ABOUT HOME AT FIRST’S COTSWOLDS

 


Sun May 7 at 10:35AM 2017
“Ceremonial Cheese Rolling”  and
Sat May 13 at 12:45PM 2017
“The Randwick Wap & Medieval Fayre”
 COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND

Carrying Randwick's mayor off to the ducking pool
Clive Bliss Photo

          In May the small Cotswoldian village of Randwick holds it annual celebrations of spring dating from the Middle Ages. On the first Sunday of May, there is a special Spring Service at the Randwick Church, followed by a Ceremonial Cheese Rolling at 10:30AM.
          On the following Saturday Randwick holds The Wap, a curious procession through the village, leads to a fair with Morris dancing, food, music, and local color.

ADMISSION: free.
MORE DETAILS (for the curious):

The Randwick Cheese Rolling: Following the special Spring Church Service, a procession leads to Well Leaze Hill where two blessed double Gloucester Cheeses are rolled down the steep slope, chased by loonies.

The Randwick Wap & 2nd Cheese Rolling: Meet at the War Memorial in Randwick village Saturday at 12:45PM for the start of the colorful, musical procession of villagers in traditional costume called “The Randwick Wap” dating from the Middle Ages. The procession makes its way from the War Memorial (at the village high point about ½ mile above St. John’s Church) to the Mayor’s Pool, led by the Mop Man who swishes his wet mop to clear the crowds. Randwick’s mayor and the parade queen are carried shoulder high and escorted by flag boys, ladies in waiting, cheese bearers, princesses, a sword bearer, and a flag man. The mayor is dunked in the Mayor's Pool before being doused with spring water. The procession leads to Well Leaze Hill where two remaining blessed double Gloucester Cheeses (from the prior Sunday) are rolled down the steep slope, once again chased by loonies.
          One tradition behind the festival suggests it originated 700 years ago when the village church was built, and drunken artisans went for a dip in the town pond. Another tradition suggests the “Wap” comes from Saxon “Wappenshaw”, when local men proved their readiness for warfare. Expect no battle. Rather, expect local color, music, Morris dancing, concession stands, entertainment, refreshments, and (perhaps) something for everyone.

GETTING THERE: From HOME AT FIRST’S SOUTHERN COTSWOLDS cottages, drive west from Tetbury 3 miles on the A4135, then north 7 miles to Stroud. From HOME AT FIRST’S NORTHERN COTSWOLDS cottages in and around Chipping Campden, drive 55 minutes south on the A46 to Stroud. Once in Stroud watch for signs pointing the way to Randwick village just NW of town.
For More Info, see:
RANDWICK WAP & CHEESE ROLLING. 

   



EQUESTRIAN JUMPING AT THE ROYAL WINDSOR HORSE SHOW — WINDSOR CASTLE IN THE BACKGROUND.
Courtesy www.rwhs.co.uk

Wednesday-Sunday May 10-14 2017 from 7AM daily
 WINDSOR CASTLE, ENGLAND
“Royal Windsor Horse Show”

          Large international horse show fair with jumping, dressage, showing, and driving on the grounds of the Queen’s thousand-year-old fortress castle west of London. Three rings, 200 stalls selling all kinds of horse items, apparel, food, drink, more.
LOCATION: Windsor Castle, Windsor, SL4

ADMISSION: We: free for all. Other days: adult admission from £17-£27.50.

TICKETS: Tel +44 (0)844 581 4960 or ON-LINE.
GETTING THERE: take the train & avoid congested roads and full parking lots at Windsor.

From LONDON: trains twice hourly from Waterloo (to Windsor & Eton Riverside Station) and also twice hourly from Paddington (change at Slough) to Windsor & Eton Central Station. From either station it’s a 7-minute walk to the showgrounds.

From TETBURY IN THE SOUTHERN COTSWOLDS: Take the train from Kemble Station, 7 miles NE of Tetbury on the A429 (direction Cirencester). Change at Swindon and Slough to reach Windsor & Eton Central Station. Trains are hourly. Journey time: 97min. Walk 7 minutes from Windsor station to the castle showgrounds.

From CHIPPING CAMPDEN IN THE NORTHERN COTSWOLDS: Take the train from Moreton-in-Marsh, 10 miles SE of Chipping Campden on the A44 (direction Oxford). Change at Slough (and possibly at Swindon) to reach Windsor & Eton Central Station. Trains are hourly. Journey time: 110min. Walk 7 minutes from Windsor station to the castle showgrounds.

MORE INFO, see: ROYAL WINDSOR HORSE SHOW.  

 


GWR 7903 steaming FROM CHELTENHAM TO TODDINGTON STATION
Photo courtesy GWR

Saturday May 13, 2017 7-9:30PM
 COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND
“'The Cheltenham Fryer' — Fish & Chips and Steam”

          Enjoy a traditional English evening meal on a traditional English steam train in the midst of traditional English countryside. Operating on a portion of an isolated 10.5 mile-long remnant of the defunct 100-year-old Birmingham-Bristol mainline route of the former Great Western Railway, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR) special train departs Toddington Station at 7PM and cruises through classic Cotswolds scenery for Cheltenham. The train returns to Toddington Station at about 9:30PM. The train will have a buffet car (diner) serving hot and cold drinks including local specialties: Rail Ale and GWR House Wines. 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: £22/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.


High Street, Chipping Campden, with St. James's Church tower in the background. Concerts occur at the church, within easy walking distance of several Home At First cottages in Chipping Campden. Photo © Home At First.

High Street, Chipping Campden, with St. James's Church tower in the background.
Concerts occur at the church, within easy walking distance of several
Home At First cottages in Chipping Campden.
Photo © Home At First

Sunday to Saturday May 14-27 2017
 COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND
“Chipping Campden Music Festival”

          Classical music festival to occur at Chipping Campden’s landmark gothic St. James’ Church. Evening (some formal) daily and occasional lunchtime concerts.
LOCATION:
Chipping Campden is a classic Cotswolds wool town, and the center of HOME AT FIRST’S NORTHERN COTSWOLDS region.
TICKETS: Evening concerts starting at 7PM or 7:30PM; most tickets: £22-£40. Lunchtime concerts (performed by university music students at 1:05 & 2:05PM on certain dates only); tickets: £5.
SEE PROGRAM.
GETTING THERE: Chipping Campden is
Home At First’s principal location for Northern Cotswolds cottages, several of which are within walking distance of St. James’ Church.
MORE INFO, see:
CHIPPING CAMPDEN MUSIC FESTIVAL. 

 


Annually – May 17
 THROUGHOUT NORWAY
“Constitution Day” (Norwegian National Day)
          An independent nation for just over 100 years, NORWAY gained its independence from Sweden without fighting a war. Maybe that’s the reason Norway’s independence day parades are not martial, although still very patriotic, with flag-waving children and citizens dressed in traditional Norwegian folk costumes. Expect the day to be marked everywhere, but no place more royally than in front of the palace in Oslo.
TRAVEL INFO: HOME AT FIRST’S NORWAY.

CONSTITUTION DAY CELEBRATIONS
AT THE ROYAL PALACE IN OSLO.
Photo courtesy visitnorway.com


 

PIPERS AT THE FLEADH NUA IN ENNIS, COUNTY CLARE, CENTRAL IRELAND
Photo courtesy fleadhnua.com

May 21-29 2017
 ENNIS, COUNTY CLARE, WEST CENTRAL IRELAND
“Fleadh Nua”

          44th annual eight-day festival covering all of traditional Irish culture with 120+ events: concerts, céilithe, music, song and dancing workshops, street entertainment, pageants and parades, including educational workshops in music, song and dance, exhibitions, lectures, and film shows. This year’s Fleadh Nua is expected to draw 50,000 visitors to the attractive, very walkable, old city of Ennis.

PROGRAM: While events are scheduled throughout the day, many events occur in the evening. See a listing HERE.

LOCATION: Ennis, County Clare, about 60-90 minutes west of Home At First Central Ireland cottages. Easily combine with a tour through the Burren or along the coast of County Clare including

Fleadh Nua parade in downtown Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland. Photo courtesy fleadhnua.com.

Fleadh Nua parade, Ennis, Ireland
Photo courtesy fleadhnua.com

the Cliffs of Moher.
ADMISSION:
most events free; others charge a fee; evening concerts: €5-€20.
MORE INFO, see:
FLEADH NUA.


Monday-Sunday May 22 to June 11 2017
  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. Once again Serena Williams (2015 women's singles champion) and Novak Djokavic (2016 men's singles champion) are favored, but the red clay surface of the French Open has a history of surprising upsets, such as in 2015 when Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka beat the otherwise indomitable Djokavic to win the men's singles title.

 

ADMISSION TO THE TOURNAMENT: Single
match tickets cost from €20 to €230, 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.

 


Wednesday, May 24, 2017
  BERMUDA 
“Bermuda Day”

          What once was a celebration of Queen Victoria’s  birthday has become the Atlantic island’s national day, celebrating its heritage with parades and races on land and sea, marking the unofficial start of summer in
BERMUDA when traditional Bermudians first bathe in the sea and consider it acceptable to wear Bermuda shorts to work.
LOCATION:
Home At First’s lodgings

Traditional Gombey dancers parade through the streets of Hamilton, Bermuda, celebrating Bermuda Day. Photo courtesy Bermuda Tourism.

Traditional Gombey dancers parade through
Hamilton, Bermuda, celebrating Bermuda Day.
Photo courtesy Bermuda Tourism

are located throughout Bermuda, including
close to the main parade route between Pembroke and Hamilton City.
ADMISSION:
free!
MORE INFO,
see:
BERMUDA DAY.

 


Thursday, May 25 2017
  LONDON, ENGLAND 
Ancient Tradition: “Beating the Bounds”
         
Home At First’s London guests staying at St. Katharine’s Marina Apartments by the Tower of London have one of London’s oldest and most historic churches nearby. All Hallows by the Tower is just west of the Tower of London. The church traces its roots to the original Saxon church built in 675AD on a site formerly paved by Romans. The church has associations with Sir Thomas More (whose headless

Friendly Neighbors - Beating the Bounds where the Tower of London borders All Hallows by the Tower Church. Photo courtesy All Hallows by the Tower.

Friendly Neighbors - Beating the Bounds where the
 Tower of London borders All Hallows by the Tower.
Courtesy All Hallows by the Tower

body was brought there following his execution on Tower Hill just yards away), with William Penn (baptized and educated in the church) and his father Admiral Penn (a wealthy parishioner who organized a force to save the church from the Great Fire of 1666), John Quincy Adams (who was married in the church in 1797), and The Blitz: the church was bombed by the Nazis in 1940, and rebuilt in 1948.
          All Hallows maintains several ancient traditions, especially the medieval boundary marking called “Beating the Bounds” which occurs every Ascension Day. (Every third year, the church’s Resident Governor is confronted by the Yeomen Warders of the neighboring Tower of London to commemorate the riot over boundary dispute that occurred in 1698. Visitors are welcome to follow the “beaters” as they whack key boundary points with cane. Here’s the schedule:

3:30PM – Beating the Bounds: In an ancient and obscure ceremony that occurs each Ascension Day, the parish boundaries the London’s oldest church (675AD), All Hallows by the Tower, are beaten with willow wands. One of the marks is in mid-Thames where a boy held by the ankles “whacks” the boundary over the edge of the boat.

5:30PM – Festal Evensong: After taking the “beating”, the procession moves into the church for a Festal Evensong at 5:30PM with the Lord Mayor of London and London’s sheriffs in attendance to keep order.

LOCATION: All Hallows by the Tower Church, just west of the Tower of London.
GETTING THERE: Walk 10 minutes from
Home At First’s Apartments at St. Katharine’s Marina past Tower Hill and the Tower of London to the church.
ADMISSION: free.
MORE INFO, see:
BEATING THE BOUNDS. 


Thursday-Saturday May 25-27 2017
  LONDON, ENGLAND 
“Chelsea Flower Show”

          The 104th Anniversary of the BIG one. Plants, flowers of all seasons, garden furniture, tools, theme gardens and greenhouses are all on display. The grounds of the Royal Hospital are alive with the sights and smells of the finest flower in the world. Nothing compares to the show’s gardens, created by some of the world’s leading garden designers whose ideas will leave lasting memories and endless inspiration.
LOCATION: Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 4SL.
ADMISSION: £33, £39, & £61 ticket prices; advance purchase only through the official
ON-LINE TICKET SOURCE; subject to £2 "fulfillment fee" & any applicable postal charges.

OPENING TIMES A: 8AM-8PM Th-Fr; 8AM-5;30PM Sa; Admission: £63.

London's annual Chelsea Flower Show is a treat for the senses. Photo courtesy rhs.org.uk.

London's annual Chelsea Flower
Show is a treat for the senses.

Photo courtesy rhs.org.uk

OPENING TIMES B: 3:30-8PM Th-Fr; £41 Admission.

OPENING TIMES C: 5:30-8PM Th-Fr; £35 Admission.

FOOD: Pre-book a table — Tel: +44 (0)844 338 7502 — in one of the show’s four restaurants for a three-course lunch or supper in the Rock Bank Restaurant. Or, visit The Drawing Room, The Chelsea Brunch, the Jardin Blanc with Raymond Blanc, or the Champagne & Seafood Restaurant. Cafés, food courts, and picnic areas offer open-accessible hot and cold meals, snacks, and drinks.
GETTING THERE: From
HOME AT FIRST’S LONDON apartments at St. Katharine’s Marina and The Brewery, walk 5-12 minutes to the Tower Hill Underground Station, then take the District or Circle Line west 10 stops & 16 minutes to Sloane Square station. Turn left out of the station down (south on) Lower Sloane Street. After 2 minutes, at the first major crossroads turn right onto Royal Hospital Road and left onto hospital grounds, site of the flower show.
MORE INFO, see:
CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW.


 

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

Th-Su  May 25 - Jun 4, 2017

  HAY-ON-WYE, MID-WALES  

"The 30th 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

 


THE MHOR FESTIVAL

NO, THIS ISN'T DEXy'S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS — but it is central scotland's highlands.
Photo courtesy the Mhor Festival

May 26-28, 2017
 BALQUHIDDER, CENTRAL SCOTLAND
“Mhor Festival”

          A celebration of food, theater, music, and Nature, the Mhor Festival is the idea of the oft-celebrated Mhor food mini-empire of this part of Scotland, and takes place on the farm near the original Monachyle Mhor restaurant about 5 miles west of Rob Roy's Balquhidder village in beautiful Balquhidder Glen.

LOCATION: Balquhidder Glen is one of Nature’s prettiest valleys, flanked by the celebrated Braes o’ Balquhidder, within the confines of Scotland’s Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park. The historic cemetery of the Balquhidder Church includes the gravesite of noted Scottish patriot/rascal Rob Roy MacGregor.
GETTING THERE: some HOME AT FIRST CENTRAL SCOTLAND guests reach Monachyle Mhor Farm by driving west from Balquhidder village on the narrow Loch Voil road ten minutes.
ADMISSION: £20/adult/day; children under 17 free.

MORE INFO, see: THE MHOR FESTIVAL
.
MORE ABOUT: THE BALQUHIDDER GLEN.

 


Sat.-Sun. May 27-28 2017
 CENTRAL SCOTLAND
“Blair Atholl Gathering
    & Highland Games”

          The Highland Games season in Central Scotland kicks off with a spectacle at Blair Atholl Castle near Pitlochry. The castle is still home to the Duke of Atholl and his private army (!) — the only such group permitted in Europe.
Saturday May 27 - 2:30PM:

Kilted hammer thrower at the Blair Atholl Highland Games. Photo © Home At First.

Kilted hammer thrower at the Blair Atholl Highland Games
Photo © Home At First

Parade of Atholl Highlanders and Pipe Band with inspection by the Duke of Atholl.

Sunday May 289 from 10AM: Highland Games with colorful marching bands, pipers in full Highland regalia, Scottish dancers, lots of concession stands selling everything from souvenirs to Scotch, and, most centrally, the track & field strongmen performing competitive feats of strength (caber tossing, tug-of-war, shot putting, many others) while trying to maintain modesty in their kilts. Sights for sore eyes? Or eyesores?

LOCATION: Blair Castle, Blair Atholl, Perthshire, 45-75 minutes east northeast of HOME AT FIRST’S CENTRAL SCOTLAND lodgings. From Killin take the A827 east northeast to the A9, then the A9 north through Pitlochry 6 miles to Blair Castle on the B8079.

ADMISSION:

Saturday's 2:30PM Parade of Atholl Highlanders with Pipe Band:
Garden Admission Fee applies:
£6.50/adult/senior/student, £3/kids 5-16, £16/family.

Sunday:
Highland Games: £7/adult, £5/seniors, £3/children 5-16.

Blair Castle & Grounds: £10.70/adult, £9.10/seniors & students, £6.40/child 5-16, £28.90/family (up to 3 kids).

OPEN: Castle & Grounds open 9:30AM-5:30PM.

PARKING: Free.
MORE INFO, see:
BLAIR ATHOLL CASTLE.

 


Sunday, May 28, 2017 - 10:30AM-4:30PM

 Near Kenmore on Loch Tay, Central Scotland

“Iron Age Ingenuity”

          Something very different today at the Scottish Crannog Centre reconstructed prehistoric lake dwelling: Iron Age crafts required an understanding of bronze and other materials for weapons, baskets, storage pots, arrowheads, and all sorts of practical items for cooking, housing, warfare, religion, and clothing. Primitive? Come see — and maybe change your opinion.

LOCATION: Scottish Crannog Centre, SW of Kenmore on the Loch Tay low road.

ADMISSION: £10/adult, £9/senior, £7/children, and £32/family. Festival Supplement may apply.

GETTING THERE from Home At First’s CENTRAL SCOTLAND lodgings: take the A84/A85/A827 north to Killin. Then follow the A827 east the length of Loch Tay to Kenmore. Proceed through the village to the narrow low road marked for Killin, Ardeonaig, and

The Scottish Crannog Centre on Loch Tay, Central Scotland. Photo courtesy The Scottish Crannog Centre.

The Scottish Crannog
Centre
on Loch Tay,
Central Scotland
Scottish Crannog Centre Photo

the Scottish Crannog Centre, which is about a mile west of Kenmore.

MORE INFO, see: IRON AGE INGENUITY.

 


 

ONLOOKERS ENCOURAGE A RUNNER climbing steep gumstool hill to tetbury's market square
Photo courtesy www.tetburywoolsack.co.uk/

Monday May 29 2017  From 11AM
  TETBURY, SOUTHERN COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND  
“Woolsack Race Day”

          Idiosyncratic local custom built around historic Tetbury’s successful past as a principal wool market town in the center of southern Gloucestershire’s sheep country. Since the late 1970s an annual day of races challenges strong men and women to carry heavy, wool-filled burlap bags while running 240 yards up the steep hill from a pub at the base of Tetbury to its elevated, late-medieval market square. The few pubs (including Tetbury's iconic Snooty Fox), several restaurants, and many antique shops, crafts stores, and art galleries of town do significant business this day. So do musicians, a fun fair, and a magician on the market square. The races and festival are colorful, curious, and quaint, just like Tetbury itself.
LOCATION: Tetbury, where the A433 Bath-Cirencester Rd crosses the B4014, is in the very center of the Southern COTSWOLDS, equidistant from Bristol, Swindon, and Cheltenham, England.
Home At First's nearest lodgings are in/around Tetbury. Highgrove, country estate of Charles, Prince of Wales, is just south of town.

GETTING THERE: walk 1-10 minutes from our cottages in or near Tetbury, or drive 1-hour south from HOME AT FIRST’S NORTHERN COTSWOLDS cottages.
ADMISSION: free!
TIMES: events (including an uphill bicycle sprint and children's races) & entertainment begin at 11:30AM; main races occur between 2-4PM.
PARKING: best to park at the base of the Tetbury village hill and walk up to the town center. Fee charged for in-town parking.
MORE INFO, see:
TETBURY WOOLSACK DAY.

 


Mon. May 29 2017 commencing at 12N
 COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND 
“Cheese Rolling on Cooper’s Hill”

          Maybe you’ve seen the videos on cable news: competitors sit on the edge of a steep slope, waiting for someone to start a 7 lb. Double Gloucester cheese wheel rolling down the 45º hillside. Cheese chasers plummet downhill after the accelerating cheese. The first person down the hill wins the race and the cheese. Lots of others fall, cartwheel, dive headlong, and crash. Injuries and laughter abound. Practiced by modern loonies, this comical lunacy may have roots in ancient nutcases among Phoenicians, Britons, or Romans. Cheese rolling was already an old tradition by the American Revolution. One theory links rolling to fertility rites, although we don’t readily see the connection. We think

Mirth, madness, and mayhem ensure that the now-illegal Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling continues in the Cotswolds annually. PA Photo courtesy The Telegraph.

Mirth, madness, and mayhem ensure that
the now-illegal Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling
continues in the Cotswolds annually.
Photo courtesy The Telegraph

too much idle time and alcohol may have been the causes. Today, it seems that lunacy continues simply for its own sake, and for the benefit of the charities that receive your admission fee.

POLITICS: Since 2010 the Cheese-Rolling on Cooper’s Hill has been an “unofficial event”, organized by a nameless and perhaps formless group of individuals. Officially discouraged by the locality, the landowner, the constabulary, and environmentalists concerned about safety, crowd control, insurance, and erosion as the event has gained popularity, the annual Cheese Rolling is now just “assumed” as a sponsorless tradition at noon on Cooper’s Hill each annual Late-Spring Bank Holiday Monday.
LOCATION: Cooper’s Hill is at Brockworth village just west of the A46 and about 3 miles east of the city of Gloucester.
ADMISSION: None.

PARKING: For 2015 authorities intend to close all roads within 2.5 miles of Cooper's Hill, and have promised parking, stopping, and standing restrictions designed to make it difficult to get to Cooper's Hill. Some local landowners may charge for parking on their properties this day. Meanwhile, local bus service will not be disrupted, suggesting that public transport routed near Cooper's Hill may be especially crowded this coming late-May Bank Holiday Monday.
IMPORTANT NOTE: There are no toilet facilities at the event.
GETTING THERE: Drive about 30 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 35 minutes. Watch for signs to Brockworth along the A46 about mid-way between the Cotswolds town of Stroud and the city of Cheltenham.
MORE INFO & DISCLAIMER, see:
CHEESE ROLLING ON COOPER HILL.

 


CHECK FOR MORE EVENTS EACH MONTH

 

 

Happy Holidays from
— HOME AT FIRST —