17 October 2013

Fenton House Blog - October 2013

As our main season at Fenton House is drawing to a close, we are beginning to look back over 2013 and reflect. It has certainly been a busy year, and here are some of the highlights... 

Our balcony has yet again proved to be a big hit with visitors – at the top of the house, it gives access to stunning views over London and is often one of the highlights of a trip to Fenton.

Music has played a big part in our 2013 season. We are lucky enough to have a world-class collection of early keyboard instruments, dating back as early as 1540, and this season we have had a great series of concerts which proved very popular with both volunteers and visitors. We have also continued our ‘Musical Wednesdays’, a weekly talk and demonstration of the collection. On top of all that, we have a number of talented volunteer musicians who drop in and play informally.  Aside from being wonderfully entertaining, these events really are valuable in enabling more of us to engage with the collection and gain a greater understanding of these fascinating instruments. We will certainly be continuing all this next season.

Apple Weekend, the biggest event in the Fenton House calendar, has come and gone, and was a great success this year – helped along by some fantastic late-September weather! A celebration of our 300 year old orchard, we hosted an array of crafts people and local food producers, provided lots of outdoor games and trails for children, and even had a zip-line through the trees on our front drive! Not to mention lots of apple-related produce, juicing demonstrations and tastings. We had just shy of 1,300 visitors over the two days, and everyone apparently had a great time. Bring on Apple Weekend 2014!

2013 is definitely not over yet, however! We’re busy planning our Christmas weekends and, after the success of the last few years, are open for a record four weekends this year, beginning on 30th Nov/1st Dec. There will be different activities going on each weekend, and whether you want to dip into some traditional Christmas crafts, listen to carol singers, hear our fantastic early keyboard instrument collection or are keen to meet Father Christmas in his grotto, there will be something for everyone. The house will be decorated for the festive season and it's very much a favourite time of year to explore – the beautiful interiors really lend themselves to being dolled up, to magical effect.


By Charlotte Milligan, Volunteer Visitor Experience Assistant at Fenton House

Image credit: Ellen Gates/National Trust