March 18, 2014 | Pride of Britain Hotels
Whatever the time of year, Britain enjoys an overflowing calendar of events; it’s particularly jam-packed in the run-up to summer. From flower-arranging and cricket to rowing and worm charming, here is a selection of quintessentially British (and quirky) goings-on up and down the country – all of which can be combined with a stay at a Pride of Britain hotel.
Glorious gardens at Gravetye, Sussex
Once home of the influential gardener William Robinson, Gravetye Manor is steeped in horticultural history. Today, the luxury hotel’s gardens – which, in summer, provide 95% of all fruit and vegetables used by the kitchen – are lovingly tended to by Head Gardener Tom Coward who continues to preserve Robinson’s gardens. A number of flower-arranging workshops (7 & 28 April, 12 & 28 May and 16 & 23 June) are planned this spring, all hosted by head florist Sue Flight. Making the most of seasonal spring flowers, the courses take place in the oak-framed gazebo and cost £50 pp including a half-day workshop, coffee and a light lunch. Tours of the garden with Head Gardener Tom Coward are scheduled throughout the spring, each followed by lunch. Taking place 24 March, 16 April, 13 May and 9 June, the tours cost £75 pp and include a three-course lunch with drinks and an aperitif. A night’s stay costs from £120 pp (two sharing), including breakfast.
International Festival of Worm Charming, Devon
One of the more unusual events in Devon’s calendar is the village of Blackawton’s annual International Festival of Worm Charming. The event has taken place since 1983, when the founder and friend came up with the idea after a trip to the pub. This year’s worm charming extravaganza is on the 4 May when, following a toast raised to the worms, teams of three will set out to charm as many worms out of the ground as possible. There are strict rules to which competitors must adhere, and curiously-dressed worm-charming officials to ensure they are followed. Other events include live music, a beer festival, a dog show, a fancy dress procession and Morris dancing. Stay five miles down the road from Blackawton at Buckland Tout-Saints, a pretty 17th century manor house hotel with 16 bedrooms. A night’s stay costs from £50 pp (two sharing), including a full English breakfast.
Seaham’s summer of sport and spectating, County Durham
Often referred to as ‘the Henley of the North’, Durham Regatta – now in its 181st year (it pre-dates Henley) – takes place from 14-15 June. With a race every two minutes from morning to evening, the regatta takes place along a 750m-long course on the River Wear, with the stunning backdrop of Durham cathedral. The activity is not just limited to the water. On shore there are numerous food and drinks stands, a traditional classic car rally and brass bands. Other local events include the Royal London One Day International between England and Sri Lanka at Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground (25 May) and the Sunderland International Airshow (25-27 July) – an action-packed weekend with displays by the Red Arrows, the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the RAF Acrobatic Team. Stay 20 minutes from Durham (and 10 minutes from the airshow) Seaham Hall, a luxury hotel on Durham’s heritage coast with a fabulous spa. A night’s stay in a Junior Suite costs from £148 pp (two sharing), including breakfast and use of the spa.
Pembrokeshire Fish Week, Wales
Celebrating the Welsh county’s seafood, coastline and beaches, Pembrokeshire Fish Week (28 June – 6 July) consists of hundreds of fishy events across the area. As part of the festival, The Grove hotel in Narberth will hold its Annual Fish Week Barbecue on 3 July – the ideal opportunity to try the delicious local sea bass and Caldey lobster – cooked expertly by the hotel’s Head Chef Duncan Barham and enjoyed with white Sangria and live music. Welsh beef steaks will also be on the menu for those wishing to ‘Surf and Turf’. The week-long festival includes numerous hands-on events – try coasteering, mackerel fishing, art and craft workshops and kayaking. The Grove’s Annual Fish Week Barbecue costs £40 pp including food, welcome drinks and live music. A night’s stay during the festival costs from £75 pp (two sharing), including breakfast.
Meet a barefoot shepherdess, the Lake District
Holbeck Ghyll in the Lake District has recently partnered with Alison O’Neill, the legendary barefoot shepherdess. Get close to nature with Alison, who will guide you around some of the most beautiful parts of Cumbria whilst you connect with the earth. Enjoy soft grass tickling the soles of your feet while you tuck into a Michelin-starred picnic, gazing at some of the most beautiful views in England. Come night, return to your fine country house hotel, where you’ll find complimentary damson gin awaiting. Breaks start from £125 pp (two sharing), including breakfast and dinner. A day’s walking with the barefoot shepherdess costs £250.
To book an overnight stay, and for the best available price, call Pride of Britain Hotels on 0800 089 3929 (www.prideofbritainhotels.com).
Ends – 10 March 2014
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