19th July 2015.
It was a crisp Sunday morning. I rather generously say crisp, more like the all encompassing it’s-just-been-raining-and-about-to-rain-again chill one feels, when unprepared with a flimsy umbrella and wafer-thin cotton top. On the plus side, there was the comfort of petrichor!
Much to my surprise, the rain had cleared by the time we parked the car. Upon arrival, too busy clearing away the coffee cups and remnants of a croissant (with 3 raisins), to stop and realise just how many cars and people – I’m talking easily a few thousand people – we were surrounded by. In the middle of a field home to sheep aplenty, basking in the atmosphere led to a dramatic shift from “I’m a Londoner, get me out of here”, to the pleasant sense of shared excitement of the triumph and anticipation of treasures to be discovered, accompanying tales of astonishment, hidden fortunes, and the wonderfully bizarre.
Aside from gawping at the length of the queue, we spent the day at the ceramics and jewellery tents, respectively. Jewellery experts Joanna Hardy and John Benjamin, provided excellent explanations and expressed genuine interest as they engaged with us.
Afterwards, for lunch we had a picnic and thirst quenching drink from the refreshments tent.
The surroundings were sumptuous. Apt for the nature of the items found and shown on the Antiques Roadshow – steeped in history, hidden meanings, and family links. I’d certainly recommend a visit to Walmer Castle. Pack a picnic; arrive early to ensure you take in the eight acre gardens and building interior. Allow yourself plenty of time to really explore the grounds (the gardens are exquisite), see the very first pair of wellington boots, this castle was previously the Duke of Wellington’s residence (for 23 years) after all.
When it comes to filming day, even if you don’t take along any items for valuation, it is worth going along to gauge and experience what goes into making this show the success that it is.
Have a look on their website to see if they are scheduled to film at a venue close to where you are based.
Overall a spectacular experience, with an indescribable atmosphere!