The summer holidays have just begun and there’s so much to do with your children; visiting the beach (when the weather decides to be nice), going to the play park daily and holidaying both in the UK and beyond. However, sometimes ideas can run a little dry and be rather repetitive, so why not do something a little different from your summer holiday routine and visit Minsteracres in Consett in the North East of England for the flower festival.

There’s nothing more attractive to children then bright, bold colours, and flower show is expecting a lot of variation; the flower ladies of St Elizabeth’s church are teaming up with the Stocksfield South of Tyne Flower Club to stage ‘Floral Splendour’ – a huge shower of flowers throughout the house and church to celebrate 250 years of a catholic mission at Minsteracres. Founder member and former chair of the flower club is Vivien Bolton who has been a keen flower lover since childhood who states “As a child I loved flowers and gardening. My mother put fresh flowers up at home every Friday, and I started doing displays in Blanchland and other local shows as a child”, she then goes on to say “As an adult I went on to more and bigger gardens. Then, when my children were little, a group of ladies came to see me from Stocksfield to ask if I’d help them set up a flower club. Funnily enough I came out as chair!”

A similar festival has been at Minsteracres previously, in 2004 the flower club joined Minsteracres to celebrate 150 years of St Elizabeth’s church. During that festival mannequin ball gowns were borrowed from Fenwick’s in Newcastle for the ballroom displays, minus the heads, so Vivien and her team had to improvise and covered the retreat with gypsophila and placed it where the heads should have been – very creative!

Vivien went on to demonstrate with her national demonstrator qualification at places such as Slaley, Durham Castle, Seaton Hall and many other places. She is also a five-time medal winner at the Chelsea Flower Show; so expect this flower show at Minsteracres to be busy!

The festival dates are Friday 31st July and Saturday 1st August both 10am til 5pm, and Sunday 2nd August from 2pm til 5pm. Entry and the cost of the programme is £4. For more information regarding the flower festival or to see what Minsteracres retreat has to offer, please visit www. minsteracres.org.