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U.K. Happenings: Belvoir Castle, Cliff Railway, Doncaster Steampunk Fests

Monday, May 8, 2023

It’s another busy weekend for steampunk fans in the U.K. with events at Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire; the Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway in North Devon; and Doncaster City Centre in South Yorkshire. Here’s a rundown.

Steampunk Fairytale at Belvoir Castle

The Regency-era castle is presenting this event with assistance from the Ministry of Steampunk, best known for producing the Asylum Steampunk Festival. Guests can shop at a steampunk market while possibly encountering odd creatures, a steampunk droid, and representatives from the National Institute for Monster and Paranormal Hunters.

The schedule also includes teapot racing, tea dueling, educational presentations, a group photo, Pied Piper’s Parades on Saturday and Sunday, and costume competitions for adults and kids.

Scheduled performers include The Cogkneys, The Brass Brothers, Belly Fusion Dance Collective, Steampunk Sallys, and Steampunk Choir of Notorious Excellence.

Elsie Tinker will discuss historical costumes and Simon Davison will present a “taster” of his feature-length film about Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem “The Hunting of the Snark.”

The Ministry will also host an art contest open to 2D and 3D works on fairytale themes. Entries will be on display in the Guards Room. Winning entries will receive the Ministry’s Lewis Carroll Medal during a ceremony on Sunday afternoon following that day’s costume competition.

The event takes place May 13 and 14. The Ministry has negotiated a discounted price for castle admission; instructions for booking are on the Ministry Facebook page. Learn more on the Ministry of Steampunk website and the castle website.

Cliff Railway Steampunk and Victorian Family Festival

The historic Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway in North Devon will host this free event on Saturday, May 13, featuring a steampunk market and live entertainment. Madam Misfit is set to perform at noon at the Ancient Mariner Pub. Other performers include Dynamix Steampunk Choir, Laurel & Hardy impressionists, Chloe Marie Aston (The Piano Bike Girl), and the Lyn Line Dancers.

Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway, in operation since 1890, is said to be the world’s steepest and highest water-powered funicular railway. Festival visitors in steampunk, Victorian, or pirate outfits can ride the railway for free.

Learn more on the railway website and Facebook page.

Doncaster Steampunk Spectacular

This festival, to be held May 13 at multiple locations in Doncaster’s City Centre, will feature a steampunk and vintage market along with a promenade, tea dueling, parasol dueling, live music, and more.

The city’s Market Square will host the market along with parasol dueling and three performances by Old Time Sailors, a 17-piece acoustic band that performs sea shanties and Celtic music.

The Doncaster Mansion House will host tea dueling and an exhibition by Jane Littlehales entitled “The Corset: Recreated, Reimagined, Recycled, Refashioned.”

Learn more on the website and Facebook page.

Later This Month

Filey Steampunk Weekend, May 20 and 21, will feature entertainment, steampunk traders, and tank rides on the beach. Aside from the tank rides, daytime activities are free.

Most events will take place in and around The Evron Centre, which will also host a ticketed Saturday evening event, Ellie Etoile’s Burlesque, featuring the music of Madam Misfit.

Learn more on the Facebook page.

The Walled Garden Baumber in Horncastle will host a Steampunk Weekend on May 20 and 21 with traders, games, tea dueling, live music, and more. Madam Misfit will perform on Saturday and The Rocket Dogs on Sunday. The Full Fathom Five Tea Shanty Band will perform both days. Admission is free. Learn more on the Facebook page.

Then it’s time to experience a “full weekend of quirky British steampunk eccentricity” as the spring edition of the Surrey Steampunk Convivial takes place May 27-28 at The Station in Stoneleigh, Surrey. The event typically features a steampunk market, live music, tea dueling, and unusual competitions such as Lemon Golf, Headstocking Bowling, and Corset Limbo.

See the website and Facebook page for more info.

Performer info: 

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