Kington Langley Scarecrow festival

Things to do in England: Village Fetes

British countryside feteWhether you’re visiting the UK on your travels or you’re a local, often overlooked is the fun of a village fete.

Over the spring and summer you can find village festivals, fayres and fetes held across the UK and I wouldn’t miss them for the world.

For a taste of a quintessentially English event I wouldn’t recommend you miss one either.

Easy to spot, you can find out about events near you by checking online, picking up a local newspaper or simply going for a country drive;

I love going out hunting for a hand painted sign that will lead you to another random event!

Village fete funFor the uninitiated, let me provide an introduction to what must be added to the ‘must see’ list of any traveller in England. These fetes usually take place on the village green or high street. Although this implies they’re quite small, you’ll actually discover that there’s enough there to keep you busy for an entire afternoon.

Stalls come out with games galore, such as crockery smashing, the coconut shy (try to knock a coconut off a stand and take it home as a prize!) and skittles.

I’ve discovered some new ones myself recently, including bash the rat: where you have to try to hit a toy rat as it falls out of a tube, ferret and even duck racing, and an interesting game where you have to try to throw toilet rolls into a toilet cistern.

It’s a very strange sight indeed, but still good fun.

One of my favourites has to be watching a village tug-of-war fight, where the local men team up and try to prove their masculinity in a show of brute strength. Whichever team pulls the other across a line marked on the ground gets a cheer from the village ladies and goes off to the local pub for a well earned pint!

Kington Langley Scarecrow festivalJust this month I took part in the Kington Langley Scarecrow Festival, a great event in a beautiful village in Wiltshire.

The villagers get into the spirit by spending the weeks (and possibly months if you look at the detail some put into them!) running up to the event building their masterpieces. Then, over the weekend you pick up your guide and wander the village trying to guess what the themed creations are.

With a prize of £100 for the most guessed correctly, even the rain didn’t keep people away, and it’s brilliant to stroll down the ‘children’s street’ and see that even the little ones have given it a good go too.

Food at a village feteOnce you’re tired out from all the fun, games and exploration, there’s always some great food and drink on offer, and you’ll definitely want a snack after you’ve walked past the Victoria spongecompetition stand.

Us Brits love a good Pimms tent so there’s something for those that like a little alcoholic tipple, but for a good old English cuppa, look out for the signs for cream teas. These are heaven on earth – a lovely cup of tea, complete with an English scone and lashings of clotted cream and jam. It’s a great way to recoup, fill yourself up and a chance to people watch.

There’s a real sense of camaraderie at these fetes, which always leaves you warm and fuzzy inside. It’s a time when the entire local community comes out together to have a giggle and raise funds for the village, which is where the cash usually goes. You can see neighbours have a good old chat and anyone new to the area is made to feel as welcome as those that have lived there all their life.

It’s a place of happiness and fun, and a great way to see what English country life is like. Throw in the fact that every good British village has an excellent pub to stop off at during your explorations, I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do during a weekend in the British countryside!

The burning of the clocks festival in Brighton

There are some weird and wonderful festivals and parades in the world. Once such oddity is “The burning of the clocks” which takes place every year in Brighton, England. The festival takes place on the winter solstice, the point at which the nights are at their longest and daylight is in short supply. Started in 1993, this is a new tradition rather than any ancient festival, pagan or otherwise. It’s growing popularity within the town has ensured it continues and hopefully will do for many years to come.

The burning of the clocksThe parade involves many local school children and adults who create lanterns from cane and tissue paper, often in the shape of clocks. There’s usually also dragons, mythical monsters, aliens and goblins. With each year they get more ornate and more impressive in size too. The parade also plays host to a number of local samba bands which are a growing fashion in this town. They seem to be part of a lot of parades in Brighton now and a welcome addition to liven up the atmosphere with music and dancing.

Paper lanternsStarting at the famous Royal Pavilion gardens in Brighton, the parade marches through the busy streets and along the sea front, past the Brighton Pier and down to an area along the beach known as Madeira drive. Thousands of people congregate here to watch the parade arrive.

The climax of the Burning of the clocks festival is the collection of the amazingly crafted lanterns in to large containers which are wheeled out on to the beach to a large cage adorned with more clock shaped lanterns. This process can take some time as each year there seems to be more and more lanterns! It must have taken days to create some of the amazing lantern structures, but after a few pyrotechnics the entire mountain of lanterns is set alight and burns ferociously for 2 minutes max.

The burning of the clocksThe crowd cheer and celebrate the last day of long winter nights and the dawn of shorter nights ahead. Fireworks explode in the sky above the burning pile to extend what would otherwise be a very quick burning. Tissue paper tends to ignite quickly and burn out in seconds!

The burning of the clocks is now a firm fixture on Brighton’s social calendar. A chance to take part in a relatively new tradition.

For more information check out the burning of the clocks website and the wikipedia page.

Things to do in The New Forest

Hampshire and the Isle of Wight’s popular family attractions is the New Forest.

This is an amazing place for families and other individuals to enjoy the outdoors and have some fun.

Here’s some things to do in this area.

About the New Forest

This area features rolling Heats, ancient Woodlands, and a coastline that’s unspoiled. Area is an amazing place that you’ll want to see. It has many natural attractions and a lot of activities for everyone to enjoy. There’s things here for history buffs, those looking for thrills, adventure, and other fun activities. Nature lover intends to land on the maximum natural places, BBC can give you valuable information regarding natural places like parks and forests.

the New Forest travel advice

On thing that you can do in this area is to explore it by bicycle. You can spend the entire day here just cycling around. There’s a large set of various trails that you can explore. There’s a cycling company that will cover all of your biking needs including route advice, bike hire, sales, service and, and bicycle repairs.  You’ll find other activities here such as archery, bushcraft, kayaking, and canoeing.

The Forest

The other things to do in this areaincluding viewing the natural wildlife in this area. You’ll be able to see the animals in this area in their natural surroundings when you go to the Wildlife Park which is located near Ashurst.  There’s many trails to explore and you’ll discover some interesting information about the various animals that you see.

Located near Ashurst you’ll find the Longden Activity Farm. You can take the family here for an entire day and enjoy some farm animals and take part in various activities. You’ll be able to feed several animals and there’s a trampoline barn and play areas for the children to explore. To study the history of this area, you can go to the museum which is in Lyndhurst. This museum is free to enter and there’s a gallery there which has a wide range of exhibits for the entre family for you to view. You learn about the people in the area, the history of the area, and the various traditions about these ancient woodlands. This area of the country is an amazing place to visit and you’re sure to enjoy your stay here.

Other Attractions

There’s other thing to do in the area as well. You could go to Beaulieu where you find the National Motor Museum and Palace House.  this area is quite famous and there’s a great collection of motorcycles, and various vehicles here. if you enjoy motoring memorabilia, you’ll have a great time looking at all the displays.

You could also ride the monorail and then explore the Victorian Gothic Country House. In Buckler’s Hard which is near Beaulieu, you’ll find a ship building village from the18th century.  You can go along the Beaulieu River in a boat trip. On the other river side there’s a steam Railway and the Exbury Gardens for you to visit. The gardens feature a wide selection of flowers.

There’s many things to do in the New Forest. You’re going to enjoy your stay in this area and have a lot of fun. There’s things here to do for the entire family and it’s a great area to explore on your own.

Where was full metal jacket filmed

Where was full metal jacket filmed?We watched Full Metal Jacket the other night. One of Stanley Kubrick’s finest films released in 1987 about the Vietnam war. One of my favourite movies too. I’ve watched it a few times now.

So this time, after watching, I thought I’d find out a bit more about where it was filmed. Some of the scenes are of epic proportions. With entire industrial landscapes on fire and crumbling buildings all around. In the days before computer animation these weren’t your normal movie sets either.

So where was Full Metal Jacket filmed?

A 3rd World country maybe? A baron, long since forgotten industrial area of Russia? Or possibly even somewhere in Vietnam itself?

Actually no, more like Beckton Gas Works in the East end of London. Full Metal Jacket was filmed in England! A manufacturing plant of Coal Gas until 1970 on the banks of the river Thames. Kubrick had buildings selectively demolished in places to make the buildings appear scarred from war. Signs erected on some buildings to make it look like an area of Hué, A Vietnamese city.

Full Metal Jacket filming location

This video from “Film ’87” a BBC show all about the latest movies features some interesting views of the filming locations.

The Boot Camp scenes at the start of the movie were not filmed at an American Marine Corps barracks or a Hollywood film set but at Bassingbourn RAF Barracks in Cambridgeshire. Just 3 miles from Royston.

Stanley Kubrick on locationThe fields of Vietnam, with palm trees and convoys of tanks and military vehicles were actually filmed on the marshes of a village called Cliffe in Kent. 200 Spanish palm trees were imported for the movie and over 100,000 plastic tropical plants from Hong Kong.

The cast and crew of Full Metal Jacket spent 6 months in England filming although production was halted for weeks at a time due to injuries on set. The entire film was made for $17 million.

Watch this fantastic youtube documentary on the story behind the film locations for Full Metal Jacket.

So who needs CGI to create spectacular effects. All you need is a disused gas works and some plastic plants! Although I’ve often thought parts of the East end of London looked like a war torn Vietnamese city actually.

Here’s a great youtube video showing some of the locations mentioned above.

Watch the movie again on Amazon Prime or grab the Bluray and look out for all the UK filming locations.