January’s Letter from the Curator (2021)

Dear Friends,

HAPPY AND HOPEFUL NEW YEAR!

It has been such a long time since I last wrote a Curator’s Letter, and it is with a sense of hope I write this one. May I firstly say how incredibly grateful I am for the huge numbers that respond to postings on Facebook, write emails and even send cards. Thank you from me and my husband Gareth, and from all our staff here at the Castle. This correspondence is so often filled with affection, which means more than I can hope to express. We have missed our fantastic crowds of visitors, lots of school parties and I have only been able to give two small live performances with much masked distancing. The castle feels strange without you.

However, the year ahead looks promising, at least beyond the difficult opening months, and those summer days will be upon us sooner than you think. The roses will be out, and the staff will be singing. We will be able to see friends and laugh together again. I am so thrilled and promising myself to never take life for granted again but to appreciate the freedom we knew before and will know again. Small things will be joyful for most people I am sure.

Our plans for the year ahead, restrictions allowing, are as you would expect from Tutbury Castle, with the large bank holiday events and the great firework celebrations for 2 bonfire nights. The outside bars that were so successful in 2020, will continue in the warm weather and these will be advertised.

Brunches and lunches in the Great Hall will also continue on days we are able to offer them. These will be well-advertised for booking in advance.

For now, we are offering and have given talks on Zoom to schools and groups such as W.I.’s watching from home with questions sent in advance. Elizabeth I on Zoom is quite a sight!!

I have one next Monday about inspirational women and looking forward to it. If you would like details of this type of booking do call 01283 812129, or email bookings@tutburycastle.com.

Finally, we send affectionate greetings to all our couples who planned to marry here last year and have had the move the date. We intend to give them the most wonderful day. We already had some weddings booked for this year, and I am delighted that new couples are also continuing to book. We look forward to seeing you all when it is safe to do so. This does mean that we are starting to fill up for weddings on Saturdays until late in the year, but we are happy to consider weddings on any day of the week, subject to availability. Obviously, the current situation means that many people are struggling a little financially, so we are about to launch a new range of wedding packages, including special rates for weekday and out-of-season weddings to help keep that special day affordable for those on tight budgets.

More information on our public programme and on our weddings, package will be available on the website soon. In the meantime, stay well and stay safe.

Sending you every good wish and thoughts.

Lesley Smith

Curator