Do I need to prepare in any way in advance?
In our experience the night can be a late one so we recommend that you get a good night's sleep the night before. We have a suggested finish time but we can never guarantee we will end as expected, as the night can go in so many different ways. No two nights have ever been the same and we like to let the magic of what happens take its own course, rather than be bound by timetables.
Can I park my car?
All of our sites have parking in close proximity, although the distance between car park and site varies at each location.
How do I get home afterwards?
With the late finish it can prove tricky for those who have not come by car to get home again after these events. We have been able to arrange shared taxis for guests needing transport home in previous years, and will be happy to do so again in 2018. If you are interested in this option, please let us know when you purchase your tickets.
How accessible are the events for those limited mobility?
All the events take place in natural, outdoor locations and involve some walking, which may not be suitable for people with limited mobility or special access needs. Please do get in touch with us if you have accessibility requirements and we will do our best to advise and assist. Guide dogs are welcome.
What if I am late?
This is not such a problem. Let us know as soon as you can, and we will hold some food back for you. Please try not to arrive too late, as every part of the evening is a part of the process of dropping into the state of calm, magic and wonder.
If you are late the most important thing is to not stress about it and arrive flustered – we will welcome you whenever you make it and do our best to fill you in on what has happened. It is the inevitability of life’s demands that we can't always be on time and also the Nightingales’ fault in choosing hard to find, remote locations!
What should I wear?
We will provide you with a suggested kit list when you purchase tickets, with the obvious need to stay warm, dry, and well shod (it can get muddy). Perhaps controversially, we also ask that you pay close attention to your clothes regarding the noise they make when you move. We practise lots of deep listening and immense stillness in the journey, and there is nothing that masks the sound of the far off landscape more than the swish of a crisp pair of trousers. Please think carefully about the stealth of your outfit and the nimbleness of your shoes.
We know from experience in the wild that the best all weather gear is actually tightly woven wool. Coats made from it are impervious to water, almost noiseless, and very warm. The grass will be dewy so waterproof footwear and thick socks are also a must. Wellies are good but make for clumsy walking. It can get very cold with lots of standing in the dark so if you want to bring a hot water bottle we can provide the hot water!
What happens if the nightingales don’t sing?
As naturally vocal as they are, the nightingales have not signed a contract with us. The birds were willing on most nights at our previous events, and we have carefully chosen sites that have well established nightingale populations. While we are not able to guarantee that the birds will sing, we have ensured that you will have a gifted artist present to entertain you, even if their feathered collaborator proves bashful.
What happens if it rains?
All the venues are outdoors with limited shelter. We will press ahead with the evening unless the weather is particularly inclement. In these cases we will contact you if we feel it is not possible to go ahead. Please remember to bring appropriate wet weather gear just in case, even if the outlook is ok. The birds will often sing despite bad weather so we do see this as an all weather experience.
What will we be eating and drinking?
Our campfire feasts will consist of two courses of gourmet delights, cooked using the finest, often locally-sourced, ingredients; often flavoured with foodstuffs carefully foraged from the surrounding countryside, served in filling and warming portions. You will also be provided with a selection of wine, beer, hot and cold soft drinks, which are all included in the ticket price.
The menu is wholly vegetarian. Please let us know when you make your booking if you have any special dietary requirements (e.g. vegan option, allergies). With forewarning, we can cater for most diets!
Can I bring a musical instrument?
We welcome guests bringing offerings for the fireside in the way of songs and stories. However we do recommend that instruments are thought about carefully as it gets dark and damp - a treacherous time for fragile instruments. Time for songs and tunes from guests is all dependent on how each evening pans out, and we make no guarantee that we will be able to fit you in. So please don’t feel disappointed if the moment doesn’t happen. Also, we keep the time with the nightingales only for our invited artists.
Is this suitable for children and young adults?
That is very much up to you and your children. Under 18s need to be accompanied by an adult, and it is a late night journey so if they don’t mind staying up then they are very welcome.
We believe firmly that this is an experience that should be accessible to all ages but we accept that in this day and age many kids are not accustomed to the demands of patient listening and the experience can be demanding in its expectation of your commitment to the periods of quiet reflective listening. Each group depends on its members for that commitment to enter into a realm of guided silence and deep listening as any nature watcher would. If you feel your children may struggle with this then, maybe this is something discuss with them before booking.
I have nightingales in my garden; can you come and do this project at my home?
This is a growing project and we are looking to expand into other sites across the UK, especially the South West. If you know of somewhere that definitely has nightingales and could accommodate us in 2018 please get in touch. We would love to know more.