July’s Letter from the Curator (2017)

Dear Friends,

Warmth at last and blue skies . We are feverishly planting bedding flowers and enjoying the scent of the lavender.  I have caught more than one gardener speaking to the bees and butterflies as they dance around the blooms in the herb garden. The river Dove is also proving a happy place for paddling in the cool waters and I am struck as how that will have been a fun thing to do going back through time. Overseas visitors who read this monthly letter – and there are quite a few out there would be delighted to discover on visiting the castle that it really is a glamorous ruin with some parts intact and perched high on a great green ledge overlooking the Dove river valley below. The surrounding countryside and views are breathtaking. The best of England.

The Jacobites are here laying siege on Sunday 23rd July – come and help see them off!   Usual admission fees apply. People are often astonished to learn that the Jacobites came down as far as Swarkestone Bridge which is pretty close to the castle and they also arrived in Derby in force.  That is some invasion and they were utterly determined to take the throne back to a Stuart King. I wonder how bonny “Bonny Prince Charlie” really was! It is surprising how royalty and power can make a person seem much more attractive to many. I suspect Henry VIII when he came here to the castle as a magnificent and athletic young king was pretty attractive in his own right.

We have lots of weddings of various types here this year so we are keeping Cupid busy .  Our brides always cause a great sigh amongst the staff when they are seen for the first time. Romance is alive and well, living in the heart of England it seems.

Tickets are now for sale in on our website for the August Bank Holiday Fairytale celebrations. This hugely popular annual event is enjoyed by families year in and year out. Many of you will know that the most popular fairytales of our youth are hundreds of years old and repeated in one form or another across Europe. On our fairytale days Princesses will rub shoulders with Sleeping Beauty and wild pirates will consider making Dad “walk the plank”. The children’s faces are just such a picture as they see their favourite fairytale characters comes to life. Do come and join in the fun. Limited tickets are available on our website and sometimes we have to close the castle if we are up to capacity so do buy your tickets in advance to be sure of entrance.

Enjoy those summer holidays


Best wishes

Lesley Smith