There’s only one circus on this planet that I’d consider running away with. If you’ve yet to make it to Giffords Circus then really I implore you to head over this year. I know it’s not the cheapest day out (especially if you have a large family) but it’s such a unique show it really is worth it. For me a trip to see them is one of the ways I celebrate the arrival of summer. It’s a firm tradition in our house.
We went last bank holiday Monday, on a gloriously sunny day. The brand new big top stood proudly at the winter home of Giffords, Fennells Farm in Stroud and the sounds of the traditional circus calliope welcomed visitors to come and sample pop corn. candy floss, delicious cakes or wood fired pizzas in advance of the show. The Cheltenham Bébé tottered around in heaven in the lush green grass not sure what to look at next!
Then out comes Tweedy the clown and his pet iron Keith to meet the crowds and entice everyone into the tent.
The costumes are always one of the highlights of the show and this year doesn’t disappoint. The traditional circus girls with feathers in their hats rock, velvet jackets, leotards and tights and welcome everyone to their seats.
Each year the show visits a different era and culture in time – this year they celebrate London and in particular the birth of the circus near Westminster Bridge in 1768, in a show entitled My Beautiful Circus. Expect glitter and sparkle, top hats and tails and sloany English accents and song.
The show splits into two halves and highlights include breathtaking acrobatics, hilarity with Tweedy, a team of miniature ponies, some impressive juggling, trapeze work and more. We debated whether to take the little one but she actually loved it (though definitely choose a day time showing if you want to take a tiny one.)
If you’d like to catch Giffords on their summer tour this year here’s a list of dates
- 17th – 21st May: Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe
- 24th May – 4th June: Daylesford Organic Farm, Kingham
- 7th – 11th June: Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
- 14th – 25th June: Oxford University Parks, Oxford
- 28th June – 9th July: Chiswick House & Gardens, London
- 12th – 16th July: Windsor Great Park
- 19th – 23rd July: Stonor Park, Henley-on-Thames
- 26th July – 6th August: Barrington, Burford
- 9th – 13th August: Frampton on Severn, Village Green
- 16th – 28th August: Minchinhampton Common
- 31st August – 10th September: Marlborough Common
- 13th – 24th September: Stratton Meadows, Cirencester
- 27th – 30th September: Fennells Farm, Stroud
It makes me exhausted just looking at that line up! They must all be absolutely shattered by the end of the run!
I managed to chat briefly to owner Nell Gifford (mum of two) during the interval. We chatted about how she keeps it fresh and and how she comes up with new creative ideas year on year. She was so keen to know how I enjoyed the show, what I thought of the new big top and whether we’d be coming back again.
So if you love where you live and the people that make this county shine then Giffords Circus is a must do for you. Go and support these people who are helping to keep the profile of the Cotswolds sky high and enjoy barrel laughing, feeling sick to your stomach with thrills and tensions and marvel in the luscious attention to detail and music that delights the senses.