With the Bridgerton family filling the season's television screens with their romantic romps through floriferous gardens, nibbling pastel-coloured picnic treats, galloping around the countryside and generally dialling up the romance levels to steaming HOT, you might be yearning for your own taste of Regency pleasure. And whilst Canberra is indeed a long way from the ton, there is no need to be vexed because I have it on good authority that you can still recreate your favourite Bridgerton moments right here in Canberra.
Have a Game of Croquet
If watching your favourite Bridgerton siblings whack their way around the Pall Mall course had you loosening your corsets with excitement, why not head to the Canberra Croquet Club, pick up a mallet and work your way around the lawns. The club's heritage-listed lawns and clubhouse are located next to the Hyatt Hotel Canberra and they are currently accepting new members. You can book lessons or hire lawns here and you just might meet an eligible viscount on the course.
Take Afternoon Tea at the Hyatt
Want to experience some luxury? The Hyatt's afternoon tea is pure class and the perfect excuse to dress up. The afternoon tea is served in the heritage-listed Tea Lounge, where you can relax and catch up on the latest Lady Whistledown Society Papers. The afternoon tea stand is available daily and morning tea is also offered on weekends. It includes savouries, finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones, jam and cream, cakes and slices and, of course, tea. Bookings are essential and can be made here.
If watching the Bridgerton brothers fencing in the garden has you feeling the inexplicable urge to rattle a sabre, Canberra has fencing clubs galore. Some clubs take beginners as well as those offering a challenge for more experienced fencers. The ACT Fencing Association has consolidated information about the local clubs so you can find the one that best suits you.
Promenade in the Rose Gardens
It seems that every building that appears in Bridgerton is draped in a luxurious cloak of whimsical wisteria and rambling roses. Luckily, the Old Parliament House Rose Gardens bloom up a glorious storm of flowers from spring and through summer and autumn. The wisteria starts to flower around October and the roses will begin around the same time offering several flushes through summer and into autumn. The hedges, towering trees and manicured lawns add to the Bridgerton effect here so pack a picnic hamper and take a promenade with the season's incomparable before somebody else asks for their hand.
Take a Horse Riding Lesson
If the sight of Miss Sharma charging through the woods on horseback has piqued your interest in learning to ride, Canberra has local riding schools that offer lessons for both beginners and more advanced riders. Gooromon Park,Forest Park, and Redlands Stables are local options that will make you an expert in all things equestrian. And word has it, there are many an eligible duke and duchess riding along the trails.
With searches for Regency decor peaking out since Bridgerton hit the screen, you might want to add your own touch of Bridgerton style at home. While Canberra doesn't have a Modiste, it does have Dirty Janes which is packed to the rafters with a mix of fashion, furniture and decor so you can stock up on candlesticks, silverware, jewellery and more all fit for the finest of homes. If you're lucky, you might even unearth some genuine Regency era treasures.
Learn to Dance
Back in the day, it seems dancing at balls was THE thing to do for Lords and Ladies. If you fancy taking a turn around the floor, get your dance card ready and head to one of Canberra's dance schools. You'll be the belle of the next Hearts and Flowers ball in no time. Check out the Canberra School of Dancing or the International Dance Studio who both offer adult lessons in ballroom dance.
And that, dearest readers, brings me to the end of this column. I earnestly hope to see you around the ton next season. But be warned, I will have my quill poised to capture your every exploit.
Lady Whistledown's Very Unofficial Canberra Correspondent.