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Ludlow Self Catering Holiday Cottages, Shropshire
ludlow holiday houses

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Over the years an increasing number of people have decided to visit Ludlow for their holiday during the Ludlow Festival. Our houses are very busy during the Festival with many guests return year after year. In 2009, the Ludlow Festival celebrates its 50th Anniversary Season. So what is it that draws thousands of visitors over the last week of June and first week of July each year?

The centre piece is the open air Shakespeare play held in the inner bailey of the castle. There is something very magical about this setting in the twilight with the castle forming part of the imposing back drop. In 2005, Steven Berkoff directed Richard II, a production I thoroughly enjoyed and in which the castle played an important, theatrical part. Over the years, productions of Macbeth have used the castle to great effect creating great tension and menace. In 2009, the castle hosts Romeo and Juliet directed by Kate Saxon. An innovation in this production is the way the stage is configured. It will be of a thrusting design with the seating on three sides so that the audience can be closer to what is going on. Other events take place over the two weeks such as, country house concerts, concerts by the likes of Cleo Lane and Julian Lloyd Webber, lectures, dance , choirs, escorted walks and an audience with some prominent figure. In 2009 Sir David Frost was invited to provide an evening of “anecdotes, much laughter and revealing stories from his 40 year career.” On the final night, a pop finale is held with a fire work display to finish. This event is very popular and sells out fast. People take a picnic, rugs and chairs to sit on and wallow in nostalgia as they re-live their teens.

There are also a lot of fringe events and street theatre during the fortnight. There are, for example jazz held at local pubs and comedy acts assembled by the Gob Akimbo Comedy Lounge. The Gob Akimbo Comedy Lounge has been on the fringe for about 4 years and my friend Jaelith Mahoney is able to attract some big names to Ludlow as well as up and coming acts. Over these years, I have been pleased to accommodate them in Ludlow in one of our holiday houses.

When the Festival started 50 years ago, it was on a smaller scale and was held to raise funds towards the restoration of St. Laurence’s church. The opening production was not a Shakespeare play but Comus. The reason Comus, by John Milton, was chosen was because Comus was first performed in Ludlow castle on 29 September 1634 to celebrate the Right Honorable John Earl of Bridgewater becoming Lord President of Wales. The first festival in 1959, was attended by Princess Margaret and I can remember, as a school boy , standing in Broad Street watching her arrival before doing May Pole dancing in the outer bailey as part of an entertainment for her. I still have the special programme that was produced to commemorate the visit. Funnily enough, I was discussing that occasion with an old school friend, Pam who also took part in the dancing. She brought the occasion up because she had just found her programme when clearing out some things her mother had kept.

If you like the idea of the Festival and would like to try this unique experience then why not book one of our Ludlow holiday houses. They are all close to the centre of the town and make ideal bases to enjoy the various events from and, they have their own parking. TRG.3.09