GeorgeFest returns to celebrate Richmond’s Georgian heritage

GeorgeFest is back this summer with a ten-day festival celebrating Richmond’s rich Georgian heritage.

Taking place between Saturday August 12 and Monday August 27, GeorgeFest18 offers an exciting range of events and activities from evening musical promenades and lessons in Georgian etiquette to informal sing-alongs and gin sampling.

Many of the events are free of charge and have been organised by the Welcome to Richmond Group, a sub-group of the Richmond Business and Tourism Association made up of the town’s key visitor attractions and representatives of the local business community to encourage tourism to the area.

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It is the festival’s fourth successful year and 2018 brings a host of new initiatives designed to bring this colourful period of history to life.

Starting off the programme is the rare chance to look round one of the area’s most iconic buildings – Culloden Tower.

Now let as a holiday residence by The Landmark Trust, this impressive Georgian folly is normally closed for public viewing but there will be two open days on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 August (10am to 4pm) when admission will be free.

Culloden Tower will feature again as one of the venues in the ‘Secret Salons’ musical promenade on the evening of Saturday 18 August.

Here, participants are invited to walk between three of Richmond’s most exclusive Georgian residences – Temple Lodge, Millgate House and Culloden Tower – where they will be entertained by a lively programme of fantasias, dance tunes, duets and literary readings from the period.

Tickets for the event must be booked in advance and are available from The Georgian Theatre Royal.

The world of salon culture will also be revealed at an interactive event held on Sunday 19 August at the Green Howard’s Museum.

Led by The University of York’s Dr Chloe Wigston Smith, ‘Talking with Georgians’ will demonstrate how the Georgians shook up the art of conversation in the most surprising ways!

One way to really get under the skin of the town’s Georgian residents is to read their diaries.

This is what Jane Hatcher and Bob Woodings have done in their newly published book that reveals what one Richmond woman thought about a host of daily topics, including: shopping, gardening, ribbons and menfolk.

Her identity is shrouded in mystery and the talk on ‘The Secret Diary of a Georgian Lady’ taking place at The Georgian Theatre Royal on Tuesday, August 21 has all the intrigues of an Agatha Christie ‘whodunnit’.

Other talks throughout the festival include an entertaining insight into the battle between Methodist preachers and the theatre by Ian Small, chairman of the York Georgian Society; the lure of the town’s women to visiting soldiers by The Green Howards Museum’s director Lynda Powell; and authors Karen Lynch and Patrick Eyres will be exploring the Yorkshire-based work of the renowned landscape gardener Humphry Repton.

As a tribute to the Georgians’ love of gin, film buffs will be able to sample varieties of this favourite tipple while attending a special screening of The Duchess at the Station Cinema on Sunday, August 26.

Starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes, this is one of the most popular films in recent years depicting the period.

There are several walks taking place during the festival period to showcase the many 18th century features of the town’s landscape, including a walking tour of Temple Grounds and the landscaped area around Culloden Tower, together with ghost walks to entertain the family with stories of the supernatural and a series of town walks organised by the Richmondshire Museum.

For those interested in looking at the town’s Georgian landmarks through the lens of a camera, there will be a couple of photography workshops with local photographer Guy Carpenter.

Throughout the festival, there will be daily tours of the Georgian Theatre Royal – the UK’s oldest working theatre in its original form – conducted by guides dressed in period costume.

These will illuminate the habits and behaviours of 18th century actors and their audiences as well as offer an insight into life in a provincial market town.

We hope that as many people as possible will come to Richmond during the festival and sample some of the events making up this incredibly diverse and fascinating programme,” said Eileen Halliday, chair of the Welcome to Richmond group and manager of The Station.

Richmond is a town that is famous for its fine Georgian architecture and landmarks.

“GeorgeFest is all about celebrating this but also revealing what life was actually like in Georgian times through an exploration of the people themselves.

“How did they live, what did they do in their leisure time and what did they think about when they were going about their daily routines? These are questions that will all be answered at the many events and activities on offer,” she added.

All events and activities are featured in a GeorgeFest18 leaflet that has been distributed around the area and there is a GeorgeFest18 page with full event details on