Tag Archives: holiday fun

Celebrate Springland in England with top discounts around the country.

English Tourism Week (March 17 to 25), Visit England’s annual promotion of all things English, kicks off tomorrow with discounts on all sorts of activities, events and attractions around the country.  And the good news this year is that some of the discounts are being offered all the way to the end of March.  

These are some of the highlights:

  • 20% off Raymond Blanc cooking classes in Oxford – Fancy yourself a master chef. Take any full day course, Monday to Thursday, at the Raymond Blanc Cookery School on Broad Street in Oxford and focus on the dishes that inspired one of Britain’s first French chefs to become the Michelin star he is today. To book, ring the reservations team on 01844 278881  Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons  and quote ‘Friends of Belmond Le Manoir’.
  • Dogs go free at Ellenborough Park Hotel in Cheltenham – There are 13 beautiful, dog-friendly rooms in this nearly 500-year-old country house hotel. Wallace the Westie and I enjoyed our stay in 2012 just after restoration had been completed. The dog friendly rooms, open right out into the gardens. Dogs are welcome all over the grounds and in some of the public spaces. In 2017 the hotel refreshed and refurbished some of those public areas. (I hope they’ve kept the atmospheric flagstone floors, and beautiful Tudor details) They’re waiving all charges for their doggie guests until the end of March. Find out more.
  • 30% off Brighton’s top three paid for attractions – From this week, until the end of the year, buy a combination ticket for a flight on the British Airways i360 – Brighton’s spectacular moving observation tower – plus the Royal Pavilion and SEA LIFE and enjoy a 30% discount on the price of all three. Find out more.

There are dozens more special events, days out, discounts, activities, shopping spectaculars, foodie, sports and fashion offers available all over the country on the Visit England  English Tourism Week website.   And, what’s more, the offers are organized by geographic region, themes, and types – so you are bound to find something that appeals, near where you live or where you’re planning to travel soon. Check out the events and offers.


Christmas at Waddesdon 2017

Winter Light at Waddesdon – Christmas 2017

Christmas festivities at Waddesdon Manor in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, are always extravagant fun.

This year, they’ll have a hard time topping the wonderful installations and events of 2016, when the grounds of the former Rothschild estate positively glowed with the Field of Light. But, in 2017, they’ve had a good go and they’ve given the video design students of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama a real chance to shine. 

In creating Waddesdon Imaginarium, seven Guildhall students experimented with 3D scanning and video projection technology to cover the entire front of Baron Ferdinand Rothschild’s faux French chateau with an animated parade of dancing clocks, 18th century portraits, fluttering butterflies and moths, flowers and porcelain animals – all scanned from objects in the Waddesdon Collection. 

The performance, accompanied by an original score and synchronized lighting effects, used 14 large format projectors to cover the1,700 square metre facade with a dazzling 12-minute display. The score was created by 111 Guildhall students in the BMus (Hons) programs in Electronic Music and Jazz.

My jittery videos should give you a taste of the spectacle.

Inside Waddesdon, artists and designers were invited to design decorations around the theme of an Enchanted Menagerie, drawing on the artworks and objects in the rooms for inspiration.

Enchanted Menagerie in the Smoking room
Imaginary animals decorate the Christmas tree in the Smoking Room.
Noah's Ark at Waddesdon Manor
Noah’s Ark on the Billiards Table

Meanwhile, The Electric Menagerie – neon animals, created by American multi-media artist Lauren Booth, lit up unexpected corners of the estate.

Electric Menagerie by Lauren Booth. The Aviary. Photo by Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor.

And because it wouldn’t be Christmas without an opportunity to stock up on holiday gifts, this year’s Waddesdon Christmas Fair is arrayed along the front promenade leading to the house. The fair features food, drink, produce and crafts from local artisan producers and national independent traders. Lots of it is very tempting.  We left with shopping bags full.

Waddesdon Christmas Essentials

  • Christmas festivities at Waddesdon are on from now to January 2 (except December 24-26), 11am to 6pm 
  • Waddesdon Imaginarium, the sound and light show, begins at dusk every evening during the holiday opening hours.
  • The Christmas Market, with 80 decorated wooden chalets is open until December 10.
  • Visit the Waddesdon Manor website to find out more.