The Victorian Era is a fascinating subject. From modern-day corsets to steampunk fashion, the Victorian Era has inspired a menagerie of reclaimed objects and clothing couture. It’s very magical to those of us living in the 21st century. England’s proud Victorian history is being celebrated in Ilfracombe from June 11-19, 2016 at the Grand Victorian & Steampunk Festival and Gala Weekend. Come visit Ilfracombe for their annual Victorian Week and take a step back in time!
Steampunk is a recent trend inspired by technology, movement and creativity to the backdrop of the Victorian era, modern technologies are re-imagined and realised as elaborate works of art, mechanics and of course, fashion. If Jules Verne or H.G. Wells were alive and writing their science fiction today, it would be considered “steampunk.”
Ilfracombe Victorian Week: Celebrating An Era
The Victorian era was named after Queen Victoria (of course!) and spanned 1837 to 1901. Queen Victoria was loved by many, and many famous English authors emerged during the time of her reign, including Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, both equally famous in their own right. The Victorian era is when Ilfracombe was in its prime as a seaside getaway. Most of the buildings in Ilfracombe were built in the Victorian era, something that can easily be seen in the superb architecture.
Victorian Week 2016 Festivities
There’s loads going on for Ilfracombe’s Victorian Week, but we’ve gathered a few of the highlights to get you started.
The Grand Opening Ceremony
Runnymede Gardens will be host to the Grand Opening Ceremony at 4pm for Victorian Week in Ilfracombe. The Mayor will be there, along with Charles Dickens himself who will be present throughout the week to join in on the festivities. The Mayor’s Tea Party will be held right afterwards, along with the Beatrix Potter & Steampunk Art Competition Awards.
The Grand Promenade
June 12th is a very special day indeed! Victorian Week and the people of Ilfracombe will be celebrating Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday, and a celebratory toast will be held in the early afternoon, but that’s not the only high point of the day. Queen Victoria will be joining Ilfracombe in the Grand Promenade, after which there will be a group photograph of everyone in their Victorian wear.
Those attending are welcome to wear either classic Victorian or steampunk costumes in honour of Victorian Week. The election of Mr. and Mrs. Ilfracombe will take place around 12:30pm. If you’re not too tired after that, you can pop on by the Lala Voices concert on the Landmark Green.
Boots & Saddles
The famous gunfight at the OK Corral will be re-enacted before your very eyes. Although the story of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday finds its roots in the annals of American history, it was a very historic moment in Victorian history as well. You can watch the gunfight on Celebration Lawn by the seafront. Not only will the views be spectacular, but the entire display will be historically accurate – right down to the boots.
Open Air Film Night
If you fancy learning more about the Victorian Era, and you love the great outdoors, you can attend the Open Air Film Night at Celebration Circle. You’ll be under a blanket of stars as you watch an award-winning documentary presented by Rhys Edwards. All ages are welcome to attend – make sure to bring popcorn!
Everyone loves a good ghost story, especially in the dark of night. Notourious is a ghost tour that takes you on a fright night walk by the seaside. Old tales include those of murder, crime and the people who committed them. Some are gruesome, while others are simply mysterious. The walk will begin at the Ilfracombe Museum and is hosted by tour guide Susan Pengelly. Prepare to be spooked as you learn the sordid history of Ilfracombe after nightfall.
Grand Firework Display
As Ilfracombe Victorian Week comes to a close, the bursting blooms of fireworks will light up the sky at the Grand Firework Display. The show starts at 10:15pm, and a fire show will be held afterward on the beach for those who want to stay up a little later. If you think that’s the end of the festivities, however, you’d be wrong! Sunday, June 19th is Steampunk Day! Bring your best steampunk costume and see Steampunk Alice, a new spin on the classic novel and play by Lewis Carroll.
To enjoy Victorian Week to its fullest, you’ll need first class accommodations to get rested up for each day. Celebrate Victorian Week June 11-19, 2016 with the Ilfracombe Carlton. If you’re staying with us during Victorian week and you dress up in costume, you can enjoy a free dinner at the hotel.
Terms apply – call 01271 862446 for more information.