In mourning for the pageantry and pizzazz of the Jubilee? Get involved with one of these jolly events this week to fill the void.

As with all the best parties, there is a certain flatness in their aftermath. The Platinum Jubilee saw whole streets converging to party and The Mall filled to capacity with revellers who wished to thank The Queen for her extraordinary 70 years of service – as well as for being a stalwart presence throughout the pandemic, demonstrably following the law to the letter. And, after two years in which we could not party, it stands to reason that this was – and was always going to be – a party to remember.

So, what to do with ourselves now? Happily, there are a multitude of summer fixtures to focus on in the wake of the affectionately termed ‘Platty Joobs’ – starting this weekend. Whether you immerse yourself in floral displays, celebrate the life of Thomas Becket, or dress up in Regency style in honour of another woman whose face graces our bank notes (Jane Austen), we’ll see you there amidst the fancy dress, frolics and flowers.

Jane Austen Regency Week


18 – 26 June


Jane Austen’s fictional creations are so enduring and beloved that they inspire a whole week of revelry every year in Alton and Chawton in Hampshire, her final home and the place where she wrote all six of her peerless novels. In 1870, Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote of her, ‘Miss Austen understood the smallness of life to perfection. She was a great artist, equal in her small sphere to Shakespeare…’ Her wit and social observations offer an enlightening window into the lives of women in early 19th-century – an exceptional feat for someone who was never recognised as a writer during her lifetime and completed her formal education by the age of eleven, a fact that only underscores how lucky we are to have any accounts of female life in the period at all, let alone those as searingly brilliant as her own.



Get dressed up for Regency Day, or why not try your hand a Regency dance workshop, attend a Regency ball, join fellow Austen fans for a picnic (Emma-style gaffs to be avoided at all costs), or have tea and promenade to St Lawrence Church? Empire line dresses at the ready – check the schedule of 40 events here, many of them free.


Blenheim Palace Flower Show


24 – 26 June


A trip to Blenheim Palace is always a good idea. The sight of the Capability Brown landscape and the John Vanbrugh/ Nicholas Hawksmoor English Baroque masterpiece is endlessly cheering to the soul – aided only by the palace’s excellent programming, which means that there is rarely a weekend that goes by without something exciting taking place within the grounds. Next weekend marks the prettiest of them all, as keen horticulturists descend for its annual flower show.



And if you missed Chelsea, now is the chance to glory in another of Britain’s most wonderful locations amidst the blooms. Some 20,000sqft will be given over to the Grand Floral Pavilion, where the UK’s finest nurseries and growers will be on hand to give expert advice and share ideas. Expect George Clarke, Alan Titchmarsh and Mary Berry to be in attendance, as well as the accompanying soundtrack of the clink of English sparkling wine glasses. Tickets must be booked but are free to annual pass holders. Book here.


Becket Pageant For London


17 – 18 June


If you’re keen to reinstate some of the pageantry of the jubilee in your life, head straight for London’s historic Guildhall Yard right now. There, today and tomorrow, you can discover more about the legacy of London’s former Patron Saint, Thomas Becket, some 850 years after his murder by four knights in Canterbury Cathedral in 1870. Though that event may have been violent and macabre, this one promises to be altogether jollier, featuring period entertainers who will perform just steps away from where Becket was born, as well as a craft fair. Revellers are encouraged to wear Tudor dress – and there will also be a chance to watch a brand-new musical based on Becket’s life. Inspired by a 1519 City pageant, London’s Turbulent Son will feature a live band and giant puppets. Find more info here.

By Nancy Alsop
June 2022

Nancy Alsop

Editor

Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.

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