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Walton Film Festival

Go See This contributor Shannon Taylor talks fills us in on the films we can enjoy at Walton Film Festival later this summer.

Walton Hall and Gardens in Warrington are hosting their very own film festival spread over 3 days in August and September, and boy have they picked some excellent films. With the recent warm weather we’ve been having, it should make for lovely film viewing weather. They are hosting it on their sprawling, picturesque gardens in the great outdoors. They are setting up deck chairs, blankets and champagne to boot.

The first evening is more of a chick flick night with a screening of that old romantic favorite; Notting Hill. I personally like this film. It’s typical Richard Curtis writing and you cannot help but love it. Hugh Grant plays the bumbling awkward Englishman, Will Thacker, opposite Julia Roberts as Anna Scott, the slightly egocentric American actress. This film is funny and immensely charming. A nice choice for a local film festival under the stars. This evening takes place on 31 August from 6pm until about 11pm.

The second instalment features a spookier affair with a double bill of cult horror films; Donnie Darko and The Blair Witch Project. These films are both rated 15 years of age,so not a night for the little ones. Horror fans unite as these films are renowned amongst horror cinema. Donnie Darko is not as scary as Blair Witch; I would place it more into the psychological thriller category, but it’s still good fun if you enjoy spookier films. Everyone knows about Blair Witch; it’s scary despite not actually seeing anything scary. It’s a good atmosphere builder for an evening in the gardens. The horror evening is being held on 1 September from 6pm.

The final day of the Walton Film Festival features a personal favourite of mine and definitely a family friendly classic. The Disney classic Mary Poppins is the final film to be shown, and what a film it is. This will be the best day for the whole family; the songs are amazing, the story is captivating, the morals are timeless and the acting is amazing (despite Dick Van Dyke’s slightly dodgy cockney accent). The kiddies will love this film and it will be a lovely night out for families. The family day is on 2 September from 2pm until 5pm. The film will be screened in the newly refurbished riding school in the gardens; I assume this is due to the date being later in the year and the likely presence of little ones who may prefer to be indoors. Despite this, it is still a different and exciting viewing experience.

Doors open a few hours prior to the film starting so you can tour the gardens. There’s a pay and display car park on site which is usually free for blue badge holders. There’s a large play area for the kids, a small petting zoo for people of all ages (I am 21 and I still love walking around that zoo!), and beautiful formal gardens. There’s a really nice pub within walking distance called The Walton Arms in case you fancy grabbing a bite to eat and making an evening of it. Walton Gardens will be selling picnics, but guests are welcome to bring their own snacks. Audience members cannot bring their own alcohol, but there will be a bar on site where you can purchase drinks. Plus those deck chairs and blankets I mentioned before are also for hire!

For tickets and more information, check out the Walton Hall and Gardens website.

Image credit: Clem Rutter

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