Exchange visits

We arrange exchange visits for adults and families, going to France one year and welcoming the French to us in the following year. The visits generally take place over a long weekend in the spring.

Visit to Villedômer – a date for your diaries: this will most likely take place around the Bank Holiday weekend of 3-5 May 2024.

The first exchange visit since 2019 took place in May 2023, see below!

A thirteen-strong group from Villedômer made the long-awaited visit to Stapleford over the late spring bank holiday weekend. They arrived on the afternoon of Friday 26 May and departed early in the morning of Monday 29 May.  It was the first exchange visit for four years – and the sun shone throughout!

Friday 26 May – welcome reception and supper in the Stapleford Pavilion. Together again, at last! We were all watching the ‘twinning’ clock on the wall in the pavilion in eager anticipation! Our friends arrived just after 6.00 pm.

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La Présidente, Villedômer twinning, Lisa Benoit; and our Chair, Tony Hore, shook hands shortly after the arrival. They were then were joined by the Vice Chairs: Karine Letort and Jill Gardner for a photo opportunity. After the greetings we went inside for a Prosecco reception followed by a fish and chip supper – with mushy peas, of course!

Saturday 27 May – a day’s outing to Bressingham: 17 acres of award-nominated gardens, and a steam train museum, surrounding a handsome eighteenth-century manor house and barn. There was also a working carousel!

Riding the carousel
Steam roller
Bevan the steam engine
Riding on steam train
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Stapleford twinning member, Jane Steadman, wrote about the Bressingham visit:

On May 27th 2023  the thirteen visitors from Villdomer plus some of the Stapleford Twinning Association members went by car to the Bressingham Gardens.

We enjoyed riding on the three miniature trains – though one did break down late in the afternoon! – a visit to the Museum shed where  coaches from the Royal Trains could be gawped as well as other full size steam engines and railway memorabilia. The Oakington Signal Box could be explored and there was a beautiful carousel which everyone enjoyed riding on at least once –  sometimes three times! – plus seventeen acres of beautiful gardens to explore.

Most people began their visit in the café before starting their visit proper or sampled the delicious variety of ice cream flavours on offer. At midday we each sat down to a beautifully presented Ploughman’s lunch in a private room near the carousel.

The weather was kind and a good time was had by all.

Sunday 28 May – progressive lunch around Stapleford with a number of local twinning members hosting courses in their homes.

3HS drink
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This was followed by the final gathering in Cox’s Close and farewell speeches. Some of Tony Hore’s speech can be heard in the video below.

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Our guests presented us with a carved disc depicting a silhouette of the London skyline.

Monday 29 May – Not goodbye, but au revoir!

Early morning departure from Stapleford on the 29th!
Front Cover of the July 2023 edition of the Stapleford Messenger

Details of the guests, hosts and programme for the weekend can be found here.

Information and photos about previous exchange visits can be found in the ‘Archive’ section.