Hotels Near Britain’s Finest Festivals
by Adrian Mourby (April 2013)
Does any country in the world have so many festivals per square mile? These days Britain’s arts festivals run from early spring to late autumn and cover pretty much the entire country. It can sometimes seem that there are very few cities - and even villages - that haven’t invited recently-published authors to come and promote their books. But my selection below highlights the bigger hitters, festivals that led the way and that remain unique events. Each has its own character and each is set in a part of the world that is well worth visiting, with some great hotels nearby.
Showing below are all 5 records in "Hotels Near Britain’s Finest Festivals"
4/7 Russel Street, Bath
Bath International Music Festival, Bath, 22 May – 2 June. Bath’s annual music festival dates back to 1948 and is boldly eclectic. The programme includes classical music; jazz, world, folk, contemporary and electronic. Over the years the festival has had some celebrity artistic directors including Yeheudi Menuhin, Sir Michael Tippett, and Sir Colin Davis. There is also a very active fringe during the festival and a number of free events. Stay in comfort at the Queensbury hotel which is well situated for Bath’s Assembly Rooms as well at the city’s bars, shops and restaurants.
43/44 Marine Parade, Brighton
Brighton Arts Festival, Brighton, 4 - 26 May. Founded in 1966, Brighton’s festival reflects the bohemian nature of the famous seaside town. Brighton commissions challenging new work and likes to put artists from different disciplines – music, poetry, dance and comedy – to work together. Since 2009 the festival has also brought in high-profile guest directors such as Anish Kapoor, Brian Eno, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Vanessa Redgrave. One of Brighton’s best hotels, Drakes, is an ideal place to stay during the festival. What could be more stylish – or Brighton – than to finish off your day in a roll top bath?
Castle Street, Hereford
Hay on Wye Festival, Hay on Wye, 23 May – 2 June. Bill Clinton described Hay as "The Woodstock of the mind”. Though a relative newcomer, this literary festival has made itself one of the most talked-about in the world by bringing in high profile, high octane writers. Set in a small Welsh border town that is famous for its second-hand bookshops, Hay has now created a dozen “sister” festivals all round the world. It’s a short but picturesque drive to and from the Castle Hotel in Hereford. If the festival programme allows try out the hotel’s Castle Bistro for a perfect informal dinner.
Lose Hill Lane, Edale Road, Hope, Hope Valley
Buxton Festival, 5-21 July. Buxton’s festival took off in the 1980s after the refurbishment of its Edwardian opera house. Since then it has hosted many new productions of rarely-performed operas, including the UK premiere of Kodály's Háry János, and is now home to the Northern Chamber Orchestra. These days Buxton presents five or six operas but also has an active literary wing. Its “fringe”, one of the biggest in Britain, presents smaller works in fifty venues around the town. After the show drive across the stunning Peak District National Park to Losehill House and relax in its al fresco hot tub.
Edinburgh International Festival, 9 August – 1 September. The mighty Edinburgh Festival was established in 1947 in an admirable effort to "provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit" in post-war Scotland. That same summer eight theatrical companies organised their own performances outside the festival proper and the concept of a festival "fringe” was born. These days Edinburgh’s fringe is as important a showcase for international musical and theatrical talent as the festival proper. In between forays into the busy city relax at Norton House with its quiet gardens and superb oak-panelled residents´ lounge.
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