Giffords Circus

Giffords Circus

Giffords Circus

This summer, we FINALLY made it to Giffords Circus. Giffords is a travelling circus, that tours the Cotswolds for the summer months, and is a bit of a local institution.  I have intended to go for the last 4 years, but its either been in the wrong location for us, or something has come up.  Not this year ! Hurrah.

It was real old school fun. (Not quite Madagascar 3 “Polka Dot Circus” as the kids were hoping), but a great family afternoon out.

Circus Style

Giffords is a classic, traditional, travelling circus, that tours the Cotswolds over the summer months.  For many local families this is an annual family trip.  For our first trip, we weren’t disappointed.  From the moment you arrive on site, the styling is fabulous, with lovely details and little touches throughout.  Even “behind the scenes” looks pretty (we peeked).

The style is vintage, and on a sunny day, is just lovely.Giffords Circus

Giffords Circus

Giffords CircusGiffords Circus

Wonderfully clad ushers sell water and direct traffic.

Giffords Circus

And the styling continues inside the big top. Beautiful hand sewn fabrics line the tent, that have a lovely folk art quality, and the audience sit on lovely wooden benches around the ring.  We tactically sat several rows back to avoid becoming the show!

Giffords Circus

The Performance

Each year the theme for the circus changes.  This year the narrative is loosely based on a troupe of Romanies trying to take over the circus.  I’m not sure that children would pick up on this story, but its not overly important.  More of a vehicle for showcasing the fire jugglers, trapeze artists, an opera singer, as well as a clutch of compliance (and happy and extremely well cared for) animals including a goose, horses, chickens, and a bear (almost) to name but a few.  Unfortunately I don’t have my camera with me, only my iPhone, so apologies for the shoddy photographs.
The performers are clearly part of the “Giffords Family”, and love what they are doing. The acts were all nicely low tech, and the right level of cheesy.  The performance is jam packed with:

Trapeze artists

This one was dressed as Pan.  So Abbi has decided she now wants to be a trapeze artist.  But perhaps minus the fluffy trousers. (And hopefully with a top!).Giffords Circus

Compliant Farm AnimalsGiffords Circus

A Dancing Bear

Surprisingly realistic.  At one point this “bear” rode a bike while leading a dog. Giffords Circus

Fire JugglersGiffords Circus

A ClownGiffords Circus


The music this year was very atmospheric.  Think Romany folk music.  A glorious bank really adds to the performance, and a fabulous Soprano punctuates the performance at various intervals.
And there were lots of horses.  Ive always worried about circus animals, but these looked very well cared for, and definitely very happy


Lest face it.  Any trip to the circus needs decent refreshments.  Even the interval snacks are old school, like a stylish village fete.  Mugs of tea from Giant Giffords tea pots, served with large slabs of homemade victoria sponge.Giffords Circus

One of the myriad liveried vans sells pizzas.  Another popcorn sweets and candy floss.

Giffords Circus

Giffords Circus

There are a couple of performances a day.  If you attend the evening show,  It is possible to stay and have supper, and mingle with the performers after the show in the beautiful Circus Sauce Travelling restaurant. Pre booking is essential for this, as there are only 42 seats in a cosy tent.

We didn’t stay, but the food, which is seasonal and locally sourced certainly smelled delicious and eaten by candlelight, on vintage mismatched crockery.Giffords Circus

We all enjoyed the performance, but I suspect the kids I took with were at the upper end of finding this cute.  (a spattering of  7 kids with ages ranging from 9 -12).  They did very much like the snacks!
I think I possibly definitely I enjoyed it more than the kids…..
I loved all the decor, and am inspired to do some circus related arts and crafts after the summer, but that will have to wait until the kids go back, and my to do list returns to a manageable level.  In the mean time, here is some further  goodies of a circus variety.

Circus Art Ideas

Love this simple but cute print from All Things Brighton Beautiful:Circus Art Ideas

All Things Brighton Beautiful 

These wire sculptures from Homemadecircus are just stunning.Circus Art Ideas

Homemadecircus on Etsy

Mermag Blogspot makes the cutes kids crafts, and this Circus Train form tea boxes is no exception:Circus Art Ideas

 Mermag Blogspot

 Either of the whimsical Circus Posters from Andrew Banneker would be fabulous in a kids bedroom.
Circus Art Ideas
Circus Art Ideas andrew banneker
And how fabulous is this giant over sized scrip art from K Barteski
Circus Art Ideas kalbarteski
Finally – these little circus shadow puppets from Moulin Roti would be fabulous for a little shadow puppet show.Circus Art Ideas moulin roty circus shadow puppets

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