2012 Events


South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman welcomed TV retail guru Mary Portas to the Hay Festival last week–and invited her back to visit Ross-on-Wye as well! The self-styled “Mary Queen of Shops” came to the Festival to talk about her plans to revive high street shopping up and down the country, following her review of high street retailing for the government last year. Her event, which was sponsored by Jesse, was a sell-out with over 1,400 people attending. Afterwards she visited shops with Jesse on the high street in Hay-on-Wye, talking to local retailers, setting out her ideas and drawing a crowd of interested spectators. Jesse Norman MP has been a strong supporter of local shops in Herefordshire, even organising and launching a local guide to good shops in 2009. Most recently he enthusiastically backed the bid by Ross-on-Wye to be a Portas Pilot town. Commenting afterwards, he said: “It is great to have Mary Portas come to Hay, and her event was terrific. But I couldn’t resist inviting her to Ross-on-Wye! Especially given all the fantastic work which has been done by local people on the Portas Pilot bid.”


Details of 1,000 vessels revealed Repertoire for all 10 music barges announced Large parts of Central London riverside and bridges pedestrianised Battersea Park tickets on sale to the public The organisers of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant have today released the final details of the 1,000-boat tribute to Her Majesty The Queen’s 60-year reign. The largest public event of the Diamond Jubilee weekend and potentially the largest live public event ever held in London, the Pageant will take place on Sunday 3rd June on the river from above Battersea to below Tower Bridge. The flotilla itself will be over seven miles long and – including mustering, dispersal and the avenue of sail – will include some 25 miles of Thames river bank. The flotilla will pass under all 13 Central London river crossings, from Battersea Bridge to Tower Bridge, and will take at least 75 minutes to pass any given point. This unique spectacle, inspired by a rich history and tradition of entertainment and theatre on the Thames, will include up to 20,000 participants on the water and up to a million spectators on the river banks and public spaces. The major broadcasters expect the global audience to number in the billions. Details of the boats participating in the Pageant are published at www.thamesdiamondjubileepageant.org. Lord Salisbury, Chairman of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Foundation, said: “The Pageant on 3rd June will be a unique occasion to celebrate a British Monarch. Our organising team, the hundreds who have entered their boats, the thousands on the river, the hundreds of thousands lining the banks and the many hundreds of millions watching on television, will want to pay a fitting tribute to The Queen for her 60 years of service. The Pageant will be an event that will fulfil this ambition.” Continue reading


The first ever Ross-on-Way May Fayre, which was held last Saturday, has proved to be an outstanding and stunning success. Blessed by beautiful sunny weather, the streets of Ross were jam packed with locals and visitors, who thoroughly enjoyed a very special day, which has truly been a credit to Ross and all those involved. Crowds began to build from early on in the day, and before long there was a continuous train of people filling the streets from Brookend St, right up and round to the end of Gloucester Rd. Crowd estimates are believed to have been around five thousand at the busiest time, and possibly up to 10,000 over the course of the day. Event Organiser, David MacGregor, ART Chairman and proprietor of Field Fayre – The Organic Store on Broad Street said, “I am thrilled with the turn out and all the positive feedback we have had from both the public and traders. So many people said they were lost for words to describe how wonderful the event was. The spirit of Ross was shining, and there were happy faces everywhere. Continue reading

Puzzlewood a magical day out in the Forest of Dean

Now the sun is shining and the weather is warmer why not take a trip to Puzzelwood in the Forest of Dean

Could it be the maze of pathways winding through the gulley’s of mossy rocks, the twisted roots of the yew trees or the bridges, lookouts and other things you can find on your way round?

Puzzlewood is a unique and enchanting place, located in the beautiful and historic Forest of Dean. Explore a mile of meandering pathways, with its fantastic tree and rock formations, through this 14 acre ancient woodland. It has an atmosphere quite unlike any other wood you have visited. JRR Tolkien is reputed to have taken his inspiration for the fabled forests of Middle Earth from Puzzlewood, and it’s easy to see why. Continue reading

At the Wye Valley Visitor Center you can enjoy three different attractions in one

The Wye Valley Visitor Centre is at the very heart of the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, where the spectacular Upper Wye Gorge opens out briefly into farmland before the River Wye plunges back between cliffs overlooking the Wye. In the picturesque Wye Valley, the rolling hills south of Hereford shake hands with the Forest of Dean across the River Wye at Symonds Yat. There you’ll find a community with famous attractions, exciting activities, specialty shopping, and great food beneath towering woods and hills to help you and your family get the most from your time in the countryside:

You can Walk with butterflies from around the world. Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo is indoors, it’s tropical and it’s teeming with exotic butterflies.Living butterflies fly around as you discover their fascinating lives in close-up. They’re amazing. See for yourself every stage of their life-cycle: Egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and some of the world’s most beautiful butterflies.The species they breed in their zoo have fascinating survival strategies, and there’s loads to learn. Take a camera for superb wildlife photography.The Zoo shop has wonderful gifts, butterfly plants, and books on wildlife. It’s a real treat.

You can explore one of Britain’s most famous traditional hedge mazes, with a romantic temple at the centre and over a kilometre of hedge planted by Lindsay and Edward Heyes in 1977.Find your way then play! This maze is a great place to play tag with all the family. Not up to running around? Play by stealth! There’s a viewing platform for calling directions.

You can  play a twelve-hole roman miniature golf course.This is an outstanding outdoor course with all-weather artificial-turf fairways. The design unites a picturesque roman ruin theme, retro minigolf style and adventure golf features for ultimate playability for all ages.Everyone loves the challenge of minigolf, and this course is a real leveller so you never know who’ll win.

For further details and opening times  please visit  www.wyevalleyvisitorcentre.co.uk

Thw Wye Valley Visitor Center is just 5 minutes away from the Wilton Court by car


Ross on Wye May Fayre Saturday 12th May

The Ross-on-Wye MAY FAYRE Saturday the 12th of May, will be a day to remember and not to be missed if you go into Ross-on-Wye Town Centre. The Town will be host to a full day of entertainment, excitement, wonderful food, shopping delights and real community spirit in action. Residents and visitors alike can enjoy a very special day. The May Fayre, a new community event organised by the Association of Ross Traders and community volunteers, will begin at 10am and continue throughout the day till 5pm. The main streets of Ross will be closed to traffic and pedestrianised. Continue reading


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Final tickets are still available for the KPMG Thames Clippers boats that will join the seven-and-a-half mile flotilla as it proceeds down the Thames from Battersea to Tower Bridge on this historic occasion.

A thousand vessels of all shapes and sizes will assemble on the Thames on the afternoon of Sunday 3 June to take part in the biggest celebration the river has seen for over 350 years. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, along with other members of the Royal Family, will travel on the Royal Barge in the royal section of the flotilla.

All passenger boats will travel together, between two music herald barges. One of these, the ninth herald barge, is still to be announced and the tenth, the final vessel in the flotilla, will feature members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, playing a stirring and triumphant ‘last night of the proms’-type repertoire.

Organisers of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant have been inundated with enquires about how members of the public can be involved in this glorious celebration of The Queen’s 60 year reign. Boat owners wishing to take part have been through a rigorous selection process which was completed at the end of last year. For non-boat owners, the only way to experience the thrill of actually taking part in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has been to buy tickets on allocated passenger boats. These have been on sale since before Christmas through individual operators listed on the Thames Diamond Jubilee website but have been sold out for some time.

Sean Collins, Managing Director of KPMG Thames Clippers, said: “Taking part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant will be literally taking part in history. We’re very pleased that we’ve been able to release tickets for our fleet of 12 passenger boats and we know people will be thrilled that places are still available.”

Tickets for the Pageant are priced along similar lines as tickets for New Year’s Eve. The KPMG Thames Clippers packages include Pimms welcome drink, lunch with wine, afternoon tea and a Champagne toast.

Tickets will be non-transferable and non-refundable. Individuals can apply for tickets at http://www.hospitalityline.co.uk/thames-diamond-jubilee-pageant/ or call 020 8289 9595 / 020 7001 2211


Roger Orton Painting Classes June, August and October 2012 at Wilton Court

Dear Helen

Thank you for your co operation and services throughout this year in connection with my painting classes. My students and I have found your hotel to be simply wonderful. Great location, great food and great service. I would like to reserve again for 2012.”

After another successful course held on the 25th and 26th April  2012,  Roger will  return  for his two day water painting classes for beginners and improvers on the 27th and 28th June, 21st and 22nd August and 3rd and 4th October 2012.

For further details please visit www.paintingcourse.org

They are fun informative, working in a no pressure relaxed environment. All painting tools and materials are supplied for the course. Two days tutoring from Roger Orton proffesional artisit including demonstration of techniques used. A maximum of six students allowing time to give each student individual tuition

For reservations please call Roger on 02476 735617

Price of £290.00 single occupancy and £263.00 per person double occupancy to include overnight accommodation for one night with a three course dinner, tea and coffee breaks and a sandwich lunch both days. Additional nights accommodation can be reserved directly with Wilton Court.  To attend the course without accommodation and dinner £230.00 per person £50.00 extra for partners sharing the room with dinner and breakfast not attending the course.



Hay Festival 2012 Celebrates 25th Anniversary

The Hay Festival sponsored by the Telegraph is Britain’s top festival of the arts. It will run over 10 days with over 700 events taking place.

This year the Hay Festival celebrates its 25th Anniversary and has brought together writers from around the world to debate and share stories ,writing from poets and scientists, lyricists and comedians, novelists and environmentalists, and the power of great ideas to transform our way of thinking.

This year the festival will run from Thursday May 31st until Sunday June 10th. Music will again be one of the night time delights of the Hay festival and this year there will be an off- site venue. The towns beautiful landmark castle which is 800 years old has undergone a £5million renovation. The Sound Castle as it will be known, will hold up to 500 people and will be showcasing a range of talent from jazz artist to hip hop acts.

You can see the programme at hayfestival.com/wales You can also see further details of the festival by visiting www.telegraph.co.uk/hayfestival

Featuring performances  include Martin Amis, Mary Portas, Ian Mc Ewan, Tim Minchin, Michael Frayn, Kate Humble, Harry Belafone, Hilary Mantel, Bryn Terfel, Salaman Rushdie, Matt, Alan Hollinghust, Jacqueline Wlson Jack Dee and many more.

The Wilton Court is just 40 minutes leisurely drive by car from Hay on Wye across  the Golden Valley. The Wilton Court  have welcomed many guests visiting the festival in the past needing to travel further afield from Hay to find accommodation  and look forward to the opportunity of welcoming more visitors this year. For further details of their accommodation packages please visit www.wiltoncourthotel.com 


Forest of Dean Morris Men return to Wilton Court on St Georges Day

We are pleased to advise that the Forest of Dean Morris Men and the Wimberely Cloggers will return to the Wilton Court as 8.00 pm  Monday 23rd April to celebrate St Georges Day.

They will dance in the courtyyard  and then perform their traditional music in the  Riverview Restaurant and  Bar.  

We look forward to welcoming  them back and hope that you will be able to join us for the celebration.