Last weekend in May; a chance to get out and about while Britain is at is verdant best. And, in my view, one of the best weekends for historic house and garden visiting, even the weather forecast is good for once.
Here’s where I might go, if I were you:
Head for Clovelly Village in North Devon but don’t slip on those picturesque cobbled streets after joining the Celebration of Local Ales and Ciders.
Arundel Castle in West Sussex will apparently be under siege all weekend; a great chance to help the defenders and see what medieval warfare was like and have a fun day out for all.
East of England
No question here: the Houghton Hall Horse Trials in Norfolk over this weekend give you chance not only for an exhilarating time watching the eventing but also to catch Houghton Revisited , the unmissable exhibition of paintings returned to the house this summer from the Hermitage in St Petersburg.
If you’ve a competitive streak, pick your champion from a group of fully armoured medieval knights at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire for a noisy, fierce and thrilling 2 day tournament.
Heart of England
Vintage Eastnor is the name given to a weekend of all sorts of great traditional activities at Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire – admire working steam engines, row a boat across the castle lake and listen to live music.
There’s a Medieval Faire at Harewood House in Leeds that promises battles, costumes (you can hire one there if you’ve lost your wimple), music, comedy, banqueting, crafts and pageantry plus the chance to explore the archaeological dig at Gawsthorpe Hall or the 14th century castle hidden in the grounds.
If Jane Austen appeals more than medieval maidens, then try the Regency Revival Weekend at Belsay Hall in Northumberland with dance, duelling, fencing and food as a herald to a display of the film and TV costumes from all the great film and TV versions of Austen’s books.
The Muncaster Festival at Muncaster Castle in Cumbria has a style all its own with husky dog sled rides, chainsaw carving and wood turning demonstrations as well as archery and local food.
Seeing the annual muster of the Atholl Highlanders – the last private liveried army in Europe – at Blair Castle in Perth and Kinross with a day of Highland Games to follow is something you’ll never quite forget and Scottish tradition at its best.
There’s a Really Wild Food Festival at St David’s Palace in Pembrokeshire; I bet there’ll be delicious fresh samphire there from the famous Pembrokeshire beaches but am sorry to say that my choice is made – you have to understand that my four legged friend Walpole has something to say about this – it’s the Dog Fun Day at Fonmon Castle on Monday 27th. The bags are packed, dog biscuits provided for the journey and we’re all set!
Hope your weekend is as much fun.