Slow Cotswolds

  • Celebrate American Independence Day in Bath

    The Cotswolds, Bath and American Independence - an unusual combination perhaps but it's perfectly possible to make the match. And for US residents in Britain and visiting the Cotswolds on July 4th who may be feeling a little homesick, the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bath, or Claverton Down to be exact, is the place to be.

    There, on Claverton Down sits Claverton Manor, a magnificent imposing stone house set in acres of equally magnificent and immaculately cared for gardens with the grounds overlooking the picturesque Limpley Stoke Valley. The house and grounds belong to the American Museum in Britain (pages 63-4). The museum, the only one of its kind outside the United States, is dedicated to exhibiting and educating about colonial America. And they know how to put on a summer party.

    Not able to fit all the partying into one day, this year the American Museum's Independence Day celebrations will span over two weekends. The first weekend of celebrations (June 30th and July 1st) will transport visitors back to 1776 in the guise of a living history weekend and the spectacle of the Crown Forces Association and the Society of King George the Third. You'll be able to marvel at the redcoats and revolutionaries as they display military might (plug your ears - expect loud bangs) and civilian comforts of the late 18th century America.

    Then it's on to the big day. Visit the museum on Wednesday 4th July between 10am and 5pm and you'll get free entry. In the evening there will be music from two folk performers: The Danberry's and Sarah McQuaid.

    To round off the celebrations on 7th and 8th July, the American Museum will have a weekend of razzamataz including music, a barbecue, fun and American games. Don't forget to wear stars and stripes!

    While you're there, immerse yourself in the museum's American culture with the fantastic folk art collection, amazing quilts and textiles. On display until 29th July is the oldest known patchwork coverlet in Britain. This year marks the 300th anniversary since the Coverlet was made, in 1718. It will join the Museum's own world-renowned textile collection that showcases more than 250 antique quilts, regarded as the finest collection of its type in Europe and equalling many premier collections in the United States. The Textile Room, which houses the collection, is indeed my favourite room in the Museum.

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