Now booking for May Bank Holiday weekend: A Day At The Lake festival, Staffordshire

Many of the mesmerising feats which entertained thousands of visitors to a Staffordshire beauty spot more than a century ago are to be recreated for the Day At The Lake festival over the May Bank Holiday weekend.

For one weekend only, Rudyard Lake in Staffordshire will be reimagined as it was in the late 1800s as an excursion place for thousands of day trippers who were taken out of their day to day lives by watching spectacular feats and outdoor arts of the age.

A series of spectaculars on the lake will include

  • A recreation of Carlos Trower, “The African Blondin’s” daring tightrope walk by Chris Bull, high-wire walker otherwise known as ‘Bullzini’ of the Bullzini Family.
  • On a floating stage on the lake will be showstopping performances from “the finest purveyors of Circus Swing” Gabby Young & Other Animals, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Ensemble and glorious vintage dry land synchronised swimming routines from Yorkshire Life Aquatic.
  • Accompanying events on the shore will include walkabout performance, storytelling and marching bands.

Other attractions will include the Victorian Bather’s Juggling Show and other circus sideshows plus Mesmerising Mermaids who have emerged from the depths of Rudyard Lake and who will be joined by their fish-juggling, shanty singing sailors. 

Visitors will also be able to take in great views from the Helter Skelter and Swing Boats on the Dam Head, ride in rowing boats and enjoy boat trips on the lake and donkey and steam train rides along the shore.

Rudyard Lake is a Staffordshire beauty spot with an amazing past as one of the early examples of mass tourism in the UK. Known as “the Blackpool of the Potteries” the two and a half mile long lake is situated near Leek on the Staffordshire-Cheshire border. 

Designed by engineer John Rennie, work started in 1797 with completion 3 years later to supply water for the expanding canal system, a vital artery for the industrial revolution. It still supplies this water today under the management of The Canal & River Trust.

The arrival of the North Staffordshire Railway in 1849 and excursion trains from Manchester and the Potteries led to it becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations of the time.
A Day At The Lake is delivered in partnership with The Rudyard Lake Trust, The Rudyard Lake League Of Friends, The Canal & River Trust, Staffordshire County Council and Enjoy Staffordshire. It is supported by Arts Council England and the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Project.

A Day At The Lake is being organised by Wild Rumpus, organisers of the Just So festival.

30 April, 1 & 2 May 2016 11am-9.00pm 

Advance tickets £14 adults, £7 child, under 3s free.