What a summer we had! Well, the weather wasn’t great, let’s be honest but we were blown away with the community participation and take up for our events this year - It’s been fantastic!
This summer, Torre Abbey hosted a series of exciting and diverse summer events that brought together individuals from all over our community, giving us the chance to share and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of our Abbey.
The outstanding Paddington: The Story of a Bear exhibition, on loan from the British Library attracted fans of all ages and allowed us to engage with visitors via various means throughout the summer.
We held delightful Teddy Bears Picnics for children aged 2-6, that captivated the hearts of both young and old. Families brought their favourite teddy bears and enjoyed lovely afternoons in the Abbey's gardens. Those attending the sold-out events participated in teddy bear themed games and activities, while parents and grandparents reminisced about their own childhood memories. It was a charming occasion filled with laughter, joy, and the warmth of cherished teddy bear companions. Luckily there was no marmalade in sight, so we avoided any messy mishaps.
Torre Abbey staff embarked on an adventure of their own, organising a Sandcastle Competition on Abbey Sands. 24 Families gathered on the beach, showcasing buckets of creativity and spades of enthusiasm as children and ‘big kids’ alike worked together to construct magnificent sand sculptures. Torre Abbey gave those who participated free tickets to visit the abbey which encouraged more children to engage with our local heritage and history. To complete our Paddington themed events, Clare Helen Walsh a local children’s book author lead a creative story telling workshop to inspire children to write and tell stories of their own.
The Abbey's summer events also included captivating outdoor theatre performances. The beautiful Abbey gardens provided a magical backdrop for these enchanting productions and thankfully the weather was kind to us too. The 440 Theatre comedy double bill was Shakespeare like you have never seen before – Monty python-esk, playful, fun, and brilliant! Then the Dukes Theatre Company came to town, providing two wonderful evenings and spectacular performances of the Twelfth Night The three sold out evenings were a real success, this was the first time we have ran outdoor theatre at the abbey for a few years, lessons were learnt, and we can’t wait to deliver even better evenings next year. Both troops and more will be back in our gardens next summer!
The summer highlight has to be our first Summer Fair, which was inspired by an 1849 print depicting a celebration on the front lawn. The grounds of Torre Abbey were bustling, as the vibrant occasion brought together local businesses, artisans, and performers. Over 3000 visitors strolled through stalls filled with a variety of crafts, art, and locally made products. The atmosphere was joyful and lively, with music and food, free carnival games, donkey rides, there was even a dog show! It was a true celebration of the community and a chance to support local talents and entrepreneurs. We want to make the event an annual feature of our calendar – so stay tuned for next years announcement.
We must not forget that our Café moved home too, taking up new residence in the Spanish Barn. As our restoration project continues, we want to say a huge thank you to those who have continued to visit and supported our café.
As we reminisce about the summer passing, it’s important to reflect, recap and re-evaluate what’s been achieved. We hope our summer spectacular truly made the season come alive and that the memories created will be cherished by those who saw the Abbey and delved inside!