Kingham Life

Giffords Circus 2019: Xanadu

About Giffords Circus

One of our summer highlights is the incredible Giffords Circus, which since 2000 has toured the Cotswolds (and increasingly further afield) with a vision  that leaves you tingling with excitement.  Old school mastery of physical feats and skilled artisans from around the world.  People ride multiple horses, or backwards or on one foot.  Musicians play hugely enjoyable upbeat tunes on instruments you may not have seen before.  Others balance on wire, are strong, beautiful, extremely funny… and all are highly trained.

It is a show that has something for everyone – stunning handmade costumes, funny gags for all ages, excellent music and trained animals.  Delivered in good taste, immaculate style and with very high energy it is everything you want from a circus – good, clean, family fun.

Giffords Circus

Interval Announcement at Giffords Circus

Inspirational Nell Gifford

Giffords Circus was established in 2000 by Nell and Toti Gifford who diversified their farm buildings to house costume designers, rehearsal space, animal training facilities and of course family life goes on all around. Nell has spent her life dreaming about the circus having worked with circus’ in New York, Germany and Britain before establishing her own circus.

“I held the jewel of my childhood up to my eye, and through it I saw ponies and a dressing-up box and a tent, and that was Giffords Circus.” Nell Gifford

Running away to the circus sounds such fun yet sadness lies behind the mask with divorce and illness lurking in the background.  However, a self-confessed drama queen, Nell continues to keep the show on the road continuing to entertain thousands of people around the countryside to increasing acclaim.  A truly inspiring role model for those following their dreams and continuing to draw strength and joy from the community built around those passions. These infects the audience who return year after year building an ever increasing fan base loving their brief glimpse of the sparkle and camaraderie we would all dream exists in a village circus.

Giffords Circus

Entertainer at Giffords Circus


For 2019 the show is called Xanadu and will be touring from 3rd May to 29th September and will be here on our doorstep in Daylesford from 30th May – 3rd June.  Xanadu is inspired by the flower power movement at its height in Hyde Park 1973.

“Hippies, hipsters, rock stars, musicians, wild women and global nomads with Shamanic horses gather to play, sing, dance, protest and perform. Policemen and a family of out-of-towners get caught up in the celebrations. Will they get in the groove? Nell Gifford builds a pleasure dome and Tweedy has a job in the kitchen as he thought everyone was talking about “Flour Power”.”


Animals play a big part in the show, especially horses which are a personal passion for Nell “A world without horses is no world for our circus.” Since the circus is based on a farm there is plenty of space for horses to roam in herds and rest and recuperate between tours.  Dogs, doves, turkeys and chickens have all played a part in various shows to much hilarity.  Giffords Circus works closely with animal trainers from Amazing Animals, also based in the Cotswolds, where a private zoo exists to support the entertainment industry providing the highest quality training and welfare for the animals.

Circus Sauce

As if putting on the most amazing show and surrounding their new custom made Big Top with beautifully painted old wagons selling pizza, pulled pork baps, sweets (of course!), programmes and more…there is a restaurant.  Circus Sauce was, for Chris and Delphie when they went “Part of the magic of the evening and utterly delicious.”  To date there has only been the option of a candle lit 3 course dinner, all sourced locally and fresh as can be but …drum roll please…for 2019 there will be weekend lunches as well.  Lucky us!  At £20 for adults and £12.50 for children it’s cheaper than the pub and a completely unique experience.  (Dinner £30 / £20).  Sundays will be the full roast, Saturdays a more relaxed seasonal affair.  The blog for circus sauce has mouth watering recipes so don’t hold back – go and check it out and book ASAP!

Giffords Circus

The Company of Giffords Circus


Booking is now open for the 2019 show, Xanadu.  We heartily recommend Giffords Circus for a fabulous experience that you will never forget and thoroughly enjoy.  Whether you are staying at Kingham Cottages when the show is at Daylesford or as it travels around the area, it is worth all our guests travelling into the Cotswolds to catch a show and make a day of it.

Giffords Circus