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31 March 2015
My children have both been to Marlborough College Summer School and every day they come back with big grins on their faces and tales of all the fun they’ve had – whether it’s canoeing or sliding down an inflatable slide covered in bubbles. When you walk around the impressive grounds you can hear the sound of laughter from people having a fabulous time. Many families and individuals feel so well looked after and have so much fun, that they’ve been coming to enjoy the fantastic courses on offer since it began in 1975. You often see grandparents meeting up with their grandchildren for lunch, or enjoying a cup of tea and a treat in the marquee at the end of the day. It’s the largest of its kind and there’s nothing else that caters for all ages in so many different areas. This year it’s extended to 4 weeks for the first time (12th July to 8th August) so customers have an even wider range of courses and opportunity to enjoy them.
The types of courses you can enjoy are endless. There are…. Arts & Crafts, Landscape & Architecture, Literature & Creative Writing, History, Art History and Culture, Music, Dance & film, Science and Technology, Body & Mind, Life skills & Outdoor pursuits & Sport and varied and entertaining courses for children. Need I say more – there’s something for everyone. The most popular courses are History & Cookery but it does vary and Ukulele for beginners is already full, closely followed by metal-detecting!
Originally the Summer School was run by a few staff part-time but now it has a dedicated team of 5 and many more during the Summer School itself. They have recently been joined by new Director John Blake whose previous experience includes Chelsea Flower Show and Ascot Racecourse. The Summer School helps raise much needed funds for bursaries and upkeep of the Marlborough College Estate.
There are lots of local regulars as well as Londoners but it also draws customers from countries such as Spain, France, America and China. There’s plenty of accommodation at the college with meals in the Norwood Hall, as well as some lovely local accommodation options nearby. Some people love to stay in the dormitories as they get the feel of what living in a boarding school must be like, and if you stay at the College it’s easy to stay and enjoy a drink with friends in the evening in the Court. The lovely High street with its independent shops and cafes is right on your doorstep as well as access to all the College’s amazing sporting facilities.
There are some fabulous new courses this year. For those who dream of hitting gold, or finding a Roman artefact in their garden, metal detecting is proving a massive hit. There’s a Learn to Brew Course, a Teddy Bear making course from the lady who made the Teddy Bears for Downton Abbey, and Dance Fusion for teenagers run by 3 incredible dance teachers. For 9-12 year olds Summer Baking looks at different recipes and a new goalkeeping course is perfect for football enthusiasts.
The Gala performances form part of the evening entertainment and have also extended this year to include Tuesdays as well as Fridays. There’s a range of acts from Jazz artist Courtney Pine, Cellist Julian Lloyd-Webber, political figure Giles Brandreth to an Abba Tribute band. It’s first class entertainment that can be enjoyed by Summer School attendees as well as local residents who just want to take advantage of the shows on offer.
There’s no better way to enjoy the long summer days but places are booking up fast so get in quick…..
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