Wild Rumpus, producers of the award-winning Just So Festival, are proud to present A Day At The Lake, an ambitious, large-scale outdoor experience. For one weekend only, Rudyard Lake will be re-imagined as it was in the late 1800s as an excursion place for thousands of day trippers who were taken out of their day-to-day lives by watching spectacular feats and outdoor arts of the age.

A Day At The LakeFor three days only there will be an spellbinding outdoor arts and performance extravaganza. A series of spectacular events on the lake will include a recreation of Carlos Trower, The African Blondin’s daring tightrope walk by Christopher Bullzini, high-wire walker. On a floating stage on the lake will be show-stopping performances from “the finest purveyors of Circus Swing” Gabby Young & Other Animals, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Ensemble and glorious vintage dry land synchronised swimming routines from Yorkshire Life Aquatic.

Accompanying events on the shore will include walkabout performance, storytelling and marching bands. Don’t miss the Victorian Bather’s Juggling Show and other circus sideshows, plus Mesmerising Mermaids who have emerged from the depths of Rudyard  Lake – they will be joined by their fish-juggling, shanty singing sailors. Take in great views from the Helter Skelter and Swing Boats on the Dam Head, rowing boats and boat trips on the lake and donkey and steam train rides along the shore. Snap up exceptional craft and vintage finds from the Treacle Market, enjoy street food and local ales.

Rudyard Lake is a Staffordshire beauty spot with an amazing past as one of the early examples of mass tourism in the UK. Known as “the Blackpool of the Potteries”, the two and a half mile long lake is situated near Leek on the Staffordshire/Cheshire border. Designed by engineer John Rennie, work started in 1797 with completion three years later to supply water for the expanding canal system, a vital artery for the industrial revolution. It still supplies this water today under the management of The Canal & River Trust. The arrival of the North Staffordshire Railway in 1849 and excursion trains from Manchester and the Potteries led to it becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations of the time.

Gabby YoungUp to 20,000 people a day visited to watch cutting edge spectacles and incredible feats including Captain Webb who hosted a “Grand Aquatic Fete” in 1877 to demonstrate his prowess in being the first person to swim the channelVisitors to the lake included John Lockwood Kipling and Alice Macdonald who named their son Rudyard Kipling after the beauty spot where they first met.

A Day At The Lake will be the first event of this scale at Rudyard Lake for over 100 years and marks the first Staffordshire Day on May 1, 2016 – a day of celebration of the heritage of Staffordshire to mark 1,000 years since the county was first mentioned in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle.

Northern Soul has teamed up with Wild Rumpus to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a family ticket to a grand day out this May bank holiday.

To be in with a chance of winning simply sign up to the Northern Soul newsletter (details of how to do this are on the right hand side of the page), and send an email to with the title ‘Day At The Lake’.

Closing date is April 24, 2016

Winners will be picked at random and notified by April 25, 2016


What: A Day At The Lake

Where: Rudyard Lake, Staffordshire

When: April 30, May 1 and 2, 2016: 11am – 9pm


Advance tickets £14 adults, £7 child, under 3s free.

More info at #dayatthelake and on Facebook