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Hestercombe Gardens

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Jon & Jade were married at Hestercombe last summer and have shared this wonderful blog: whimsicalweddings.com Their style was natural, home-made and looked simply stunning. A beautiful combination of skillful craft (they did all the flower arrangements themselves!) with summer woodlands, the photographs look gorgeous.  Wooden chairs in the Orangery tied with white blossoms.     The couple enjoying a walk through the landscapes as the light begins to fade....
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Some lovely events happening at Hestercombe from now until the end of July. All tailored in the special Hestercombe way! They range from sunflower planting to workshops on dry stone walling and charcoal burning, tours with the head gardener  and even rescuing ducks from the 18th century lake (plastic, in aid of the RSPCA!) Info below. Don’t forget the press launch of the exciting new contemporary art gallery in Hestercombe House, right in the heart of the gardens, on Thursday May 22nd. – it opens to the public on the weekend of May 24th.   Spring Trails - Throughout April   Discover more about the gardens...
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We have some really beautiful weddings at Hestercombe - unsurprisingly I suppose, with the landscape and formal gardens acting as a backdrop - but this one was a little bit different.  Chris and Rhian were married on October 11th 2013 in the Temple.  For those who don't know, the Temple is situated at the top of the landscape gardens. It has incredible views out over the whole valley, perfectly framed by trees with the Pear Pond spreading out below. It is a short hike for visitors, let alone wedding guests to reach, but we like to think it's worth it, and...
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The Humdinger is fast approaching and to welcome new visitors (even if it is only a brief visit as they shoot past on the challenging Humdinger course!) we are putting on an extra catering space plus fantastic offers in the shop.  The catering tent will be set up nice and early for runners (and hardworking volunteers!) to grab a bit of breakka or to refuel after the race. On the marquee lawn, it's in the perfect position to pick up a pastry or a cup of tea whilst spectating the race.  Hannah in the Shop is also offering a a FREE...
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Those of us panicking that our Christmas shopping is not yet complete will be only too well aware that there’s barely two weeks left to get it done. But fear not! Shopping on the internet has never been as easy as it is now, meaning you can dodge those awful queues and shop in the comfort of your own home or on your lunch break at work. Indeed, it’s estimated that upwards of £17bn will be spent online this Christmas in the UK alone. Now just imagine if some of that could be turned into a charitable donation to Hestercombe, at...
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This time next week (Friday 13th) sees many Christmas events taking place at Hestercombe, not least to mention the CHRISTMAS JUMPER DAY!! This year we thought we’d join in with the national money raiser for Save the Children and bring the festive spirit to Hestercombe. The idea is that all staff (we’re extending the invite to all visitors too!!) wear a Christmas jumper to work and bring in £1 that will go towards the charity. As Hestercombe is a charity to we have spoken to Save the Children and have agreed to split the proceeds. We are hoping that this will...
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December is nearly upon us and Hestercombe is all ready for Christmas! This weekend we are launching our skating rink: Inside a festively decorated marquee, with winter creatures and magical lighting, Hestercombe’s very own artificial ice-rink provides families with a little bit of fun right through the winter months. The rink will be here for the whole of the festive season until Sunday January 5th. Pop on down to sneak a peak at our new bigger and better Christmas activities...  Saturday 30th November & Sunday 1st December will be the first chance for you to enjoy skating at Hestercombe this year. The...
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Hestercombe Shop Blog!! (a little message from Hannah - Shop Manager)   The shop is changing with the new wintery season........there's lots of new and exciting gifts arriving weekly, from stocking fillers to that extra special gift for someone in your life. Locally produced items available to support the area and community, all our cards are personally chosen, we are sourcing more new stock each month including our delicious fudge and unusual cheese biscuits perfect for the festive season.    An exciting new addition to the shop is 'Sweet Trees'.....they will make your Dinner table took extra special during the festive...
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Raise money online….at no extra cost to you! Give as you Live is a revolutionary new method of fundraising that has the potential to significantly enhance our income here at Hestercombe. Why is it revolutionary? Because you don’t have to do or give anything! Instead, any amount you spend online with companies like John Lewis, Sainsbury’s, Apple, Topman, Amazon, Debenhams, Argos, Tesco, Marks and Spencer, and over 3,000 others will see between 1% and 6% of the total transaction value donated to Hestercombe by that retailer. £100 spent on amazon.co.uk, for instance, will see £1.50 donated to Hestercombe by Amazon. A...
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Many thanks to all those involved in magical 'Mooncake Day'!  From the Art Workshops the previous week came many excellent creations that were combined to form a final installation on the Mill Pond. Each lantern was lit with a small red LED light and they were hung or floated around the edge of the pond.  It is through Arts Council England funding that we were able to open Illumina for one final night, and build these lanterns and we hope that all involved appreciated the chance to see their handiwork come together with the whole of the rest of Illumina on...
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You might have spotted us recently doing a spot of night-time projecting for Illumina. Over the few weeks leading up to Illumina we thought, what better way of getting the word out than using projections.  We have had great fun driving about with a generator in the boot, jumping out at the appropriate places and gearing it all up for a short period of time to run over the video of moving images. Last week we covered: Taunton (Thursday), Bristol (Friday) and Exeter (Saturday) - only one generator so can only be in one place at a time!!  We will be...
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With the early-bird offer to launch the Illumina ticket sales for 2013 we are pleased to see a massive uptake already! The tickets have now gone up to the full price but there are plenty left for those who are trying to plan their weekends. BOOK NOW. Meanwhile, on the practical side of things Ulf has been ordering bits and pieces to create his installations, some will be the same and we are looking forward to some new pieces. This year we have pinpointed the sunset times and are doing timed slots so the visitor will get the best experience. Ulf...
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I know this is a bit late as the Family Dog Day was in July... (even if at the end!) but I have collected various photos, thanks to the the Sydenham Camera Club who help get those extra special shots!  So here are a few for you to enjoy:  Some well behaved dogs by the Orangery... some not so behaved... like this little boy trying to teach his dog to shake hands!   The competitions were a great success. Here we have Joe Greenslade (recent winner of a youtube competition to perform his stand-up routine at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival!) who...
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As you may know, we have a rare colony of Lesser Horseshoe bats at Hestercombe. They come here every Spring (or early Summer) to have their babes and live inside the lofts of the Visitor Centre until the pups are big enough to fly off on their own. Last year we released a short film using infra-red footage showing how the bats hang from each other to learn to fly. It is on show just past the Visitor Reception, or follow this link: http://vimeo.com/46677664 This week we have a team of researchers from Bristol University Mammal Research and Bat Ecology Unit coming...
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A bit of a different Monday morning this week: our remaining student gardener, Hannah, went over to Barrington Court for a couple of days experience with their gardens team and so to help her on her way Claire and I thought we'd have an early morning look too!  Having not really (dare I say it) visited too many of the beautiful gardens local to us, I was interested to see how Barrington compared. Arriving early (8am) we went through the back entrance to meet the gardeners, who Claire knew well, having done her training at Barrington. So a quick catch up...
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Thank god this summer is so far so amazing compared to last! All our events so far have been such fun and all ran really well with no major hiccups and therefore we are already scheming how to tweak for next year!  Last week's Family Dog Day brought out many of our trusty members plus several new faces, all who were keen to get involved and let their dogs do the talking. Steph (Marketing) was a fantastic event manager for the day and with the help of a reduced Estates Team and some enthusiastic volunteers we hope that you enjoyed it...
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Cos finished his Level Two Catering qualification last week... here he is receiving his certificate!  But it's no rest for the wicked and he's straight back to work - especially as the kitchens and front of house staff are so busy with weddings  at the moment.   ...
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Make sure you look up when walking in the shrubbery to see the Styrax japonicus otherwise known as Japanese snowbell tree. It is a small deciduous tree on the right as you pass by the wall and at this time of year it has these remarkable flowers. It's really beautiful.......
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A PICNIC AND A PLAY IN THE PARK Open-Air Production of ROMEO & JULIET Touring in July & August This summer Folksy Theatre will be touring with an open-air production of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’.   Following last years successful national tour of ’Much Ado About Nothing’, Folksy Theatre are thrilled to be back this year, performing Shakespeare's famous tragedy ‘Romeo & Juliet’ at the beautiful Hestercombe Gardens on Sunday 4th August at 7.30pm. Set amidst the May Day celebrations, it’s Romeo & Juliet as you’ve never seen it before. This production promises to be filled with live music, dance and...
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This weekend was a busy one for events, a big wedding on Saturday and Father's Day BBQ on Sunday. Even though the weather wasn't perfect we still had some stalwarthy folk who came along to enjoy the food and games on Sunday. Here is a lovely photo of two young members who got married in 2010 here and have been members ever since!  Here is: Gary and Hannah Kennard with their beautiful daughter Elsie who is 20 months old!     "We came to Hestercombe today to celebrate Fathers day in the cafe and to enjoy the BBQ. We have been...
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