22 July 2018
Imagine the honky-tonk sounds of the old piano bar or the exciting high kicking of the cancan girls at the digger’s ball in the banquet hall of the old Royal Hotel with all dressed up in Victorian finery, experiencing the past.
This is what happens when the sleepy old mining town of Pilgrim’s Rest comes alive with one of its regular heritage weekends, this year on the weekend of July 20 to 22. Indulge in the splendour of yesteryear by booking into the charming Royal Hotel at a very special rate of R1 000 for two nights per couple, excluding breakfast. For groups of friends or families, a selection of self-catering house and cottages is also available.
A host of activities for the weekend has been arranged by all trading in Pilgrim’s Rest, as well as the local museums, starting on Friday evening with a famous pub crawl down the main road and at a few other unexpected watering holes as well. Brace the winter chill and answer the call of bagpipes and the convivial banter and laughter in the various cosy pubs along the way.
On Saturday and Sunday a whole programme of choices will be available. These include organised gold panning at the recently refurbished old mining camp, morning tea and scones at a quaint sidewalk tearoom or coffee shop, or a stroll down the high street, savouring the atmosphere of days gone by while wandering into the various shops and museums.
Do not miss a guided tour to the Allanglade Manor House Museum, with its splendid collection of art nouveau, arts and craft items and art deco furniture and artefacts.
The nine-hole golf course, with its antique club house resembling a gentlemen’s club of years gone by, offers a perfect rendezvous for afternoon drinks, later to be followed by catching up on the day’s sport on SuperSport at The Vine in downtown Pilgrim’s Rest. Fishing in the Blyde for rainbow trout and yellow fish can also be arranged here.
The highlight of the weekend will be dressing up for an early evening ghost tour followed by a jolly digger’s banquet and ball, complete with cancan girls, at the Royal Hotel. As usual this will include a barmaid on auction, as is the custom since the days of the gold rush in the Lowveld.
On Sunday one will be awakened by the sobering bells ringing at the Methodist Church and, for those interested, followed by a special early morning service.
Book early as space is limited. Contact Lela Smyth at the Royal for all your accommodation needs on 013-768-1100, Brummer Tours on 082-522-1958 or Pilgrim’s Rest tourism information on 013-768-1060.