Wednesday, 23 August 2017


It's difficult to describe Giffords Circus to those that haven't had the joy of visiting. It is like stepping into another world, one created by Nell Gifford in 2000, stitched together from her childhood dreams, with dancing ponies and costumes handmade from her mothers old velvet curtains. It has grown since the early years with a bigger big top, but retains that earnest 'handmade and simple' quality of its humble beginnings.

You are drawn to its beauty, the vintage showman's wagons with their burgundy livery, adorned with festoon lights and the storytelling and slapstick humour of Tweedy, the 'vaudeville style' clown, who this year is funnier than ever with trusty sidekick Keef - an iron!

This year Giffords newcomers include Nelson and Bruno, the moustache brothers, whose acrobatic capers and slapstick style compliment Tweedy and between them have the audience roaring with laughter from the moment they enter the ring.

There is a high-energy Cuban troupe with a swing act, almost touching the canvas roof of the tent with their jaw-dropping somersaults and an eerie hushed silence as the Russian gymnast Sergei performs the most amazing balancing act and all I can do is wonder whether he was an Olympic gymnast in a former life, he is so amazing.

I look around the big top and the rest of the audience like me are mesmerised, clapping and cheering until our ribs ache!

But wait, there's more to Gifford's, the food at the circus has got even better and this year there's a new wagon serving Field Food, a bit like 'street food' but from the fields and in places foraged along the way. The boys love the pizza's from the pizza wagon that uses Chadwick Ovens, but the new field food was absolutely delicious, with pulled pork and rhubarb brioche buns that I'm still salivating over weeks later.

You can find out more by visiting but be quick if you want to see it this year as it ends on September 24th with a big charity performance.

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