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News and events from Somerset and Exmoor

June 26, 2018 Destination Europe No Comments Email Email

The Bishop’s Palace, Wells, Somerset, BA5 2PD

Following the success of last year’s critically acclaimed debut production of Hamlet, Wells Theatre Company is returning to The Bishop’s Palace to perform another Shakespeare masterpiece; King Lear.

The play will again be performed in promenade, a format which proved a hit with residents and visitors; walking with the actors from scene to scene through the rooms and grounds of the Palace, whilst enjoying the dramatic action.

King Lear has ruled for many years. As age and ill judgement overtake him, he divides his kingdom amongst his children. Misjudging their loyalty, he finds himself stripped of all the trappings of state, wealth and power that had defined him.

Shakespeare’s Lear is undoubtedly one of his supreme achievements particularly noted for its observations on the nature of human suffering and kinship.  As George Bernard Shaw wrote, “No man will ever write a better tragedy than Lear.”  Directed by Edgar Phillips with Neil Howiantz as King Lear, the play will be performed on three evenings at 7pm; Thursday 12th, Friday 13th and Sunday 15th July.

Tickets are on sale now via the Palace shop and website www.bishopspalace.org.uk. Tickets prices: Adult £15, Child £10, Family (2 adults, 2 children) £44.  This year guests can pre-book a delicious BBQ prepared by The Bishop’s Table at a supplement of just £5.50.  Guests are also asked to a picnic rug or low backed camping chair to comfortably enjoy the second act in the historic gardens.  In the event of the weather being a bit too British, both acts will be performed inside.  There is a maximum capacity of 180 per night so theatre goers are advised to book early to avoid disappointment.  More details here: https://www.visitsomerset.co.uk/whats-on/king-lear-in-promenade-at-the-bishops-palace-and-gardens-p2472333

Top tips for enjoying Exmoor’s International Dark Sky Reserve

In 2011, a large part of Exmoor National Park became Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve.  It sounds impressive – but what does it mean and why is it important?

  • It is official world recognition, based on collected data, that Exmoor’s night sky is among the darkest in the world;
  • It is a commitment by EPNA to maintain its Dark Sky;
  • This is important because, in a Dark Sky area, millions (yes, literally Millions) more stars, star clusters and even distant galaxies are visible with the naked eye than can be seen in an urban area polluted with street, car and building lights.

Stargazing is a healthy, free activity needing no equipment.  Just choose a dark night on Exmoor, lie down on a ground sheet, eyes open and wait for 20 minutes to allow your eyes to adjust – then just gaze at the stars and contemplate how small we are in comparison to the cosmos.  You won’t find a better place in Europe to do it.

For the best dark nights for stargazing, choose a date when there is little or no moon.

And following a successful first year, the Exmoor Dark Skies Festival will return in October 2018 with a two-week long programme of events aimed at inspiring young and old about the wonders of the night sky. Events will take place across Exmoor suited to beginners and interested families, as well as those more experienced in astronomy.  The line-up so far includes a fun family Astro Party at Wimbleball Lake, a mobile planetarium offering an immersive 360 degree experience of the solar system, a night walk during the exciting Orionid meteor shower, during which up to 20 meteors an hour may be visible, as well as traditional stargazing and astronomy talks.  For the more adventurous, there’ll be night time outdoor pursuits, such as night-navigation walks guided by National Park Rangers, night swimming and mountain-biking.

Dates: Saturday 20th October to Sunday 4th November 2018.  For more information see: http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/enjoying/stargazing/dark-skies-festival

So, if you’re visiting Exmoor this Summer, don’t forget to make time to enjoy the stars.  For more information on how to enjoy Exmoor’s International Sky Reserve and where to stay, visit: https://www.visit-exmoor.co.uk/dark-skies

*Last minute accommodation availability*

Pear Tree Cottages, Stoughton Cross, Nr Wedmore, Somerset, BS28 4QR

Luxury award-winning self-catering accommodation in Somerset for those who want to enjoy a Somerset country escape, and experience a luxurious, spacious and modern home-from-home break. 

Pear Tree Cottages are located on Pear Tree Farm which is perfectly positioned for cycling, walking, nature reserves and visiting the many West Country major attractions, including Bath, Wells, Glastonbury, Cheddar, Bristol, Somerset Levels and the outstanding Mendip Hills.

The two cottages combine the traditional with every modern convenience. Converted from cow byres in 2007, both dwellings are spacious and beautifully light and airy, with private south facing natural-stone patio areas with table and seats allowing guests to soak up the Somerset sunshine.  Indoors, both cottages are furnished and equipped to luxury standard, with underfloor heating as well as a cosy woodburner and all the kitchen and entertainment appliances you’d expect in a comfortable modern home.

There is ample parking at the cottages and the cottages also offer a portable barbecue and sun umbrella to make the most of the sunny patios.  Cider Apple cottage sleeps 4/5 and Cherry Plum cottage sleeps 2 and a welcome package of local produce will be waiting to greet every visitor.  A fold-up Jay-be bed, travel cot, high-chair and baby bath are available on request.

Pear Tree Cottages still has availability for July, please see the following link for further information: https://www.visitsomerset.co.uk/accommodation/pear-tree-cottages-p2057763=purgepage=1

Have you seen the Somerset and Exmoor Images Gallery?  For magnificent images of Somerset and Exmoor, click here: https://www.visitsomersetimages.co.uk/, then contact Rebecca Clifford-Jones at Visit Somerset becky@visitsomerset.co.uk to discuss licensing.

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