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A Roman Holiday? Get That Continental Feeling Without Going Abroad


As reports reveal that that many of us are choosing to holiday at home this year, a simple and effective way of creating an outdoor space that gives the Italian Riviera a run for its money is to install an awning.

According to Sarah Quilliam, head of product design at Hillarys, together with straight roads, numerals and toga parties, the Romans can also take some credit for introducing the awning to the British.

“Hardly had Rome’s famous Coliseum been completed than it was discovered that from noon to dusk, when the gladiators were fighting lions and each other, the spectators were exposed to searing temperatures and discomfort, poor souls,” says Sarah. “The solution was an awning, a huge sheet of canvas that stretched over the interior of the stadium to provide welcome relief and shade from the sweltering heat.

“A couple of thousand years on and the trend for awnings has taken off in the UK, fuelled by the British holidaymaker venturing abroad to hotter climes and enjoying the practical benefits they can offer.

“Gardens are fast becoming an extension of the home with more and more people embracing a European lifestyle by eating, relaxing and entertaining outside.

“A heatwave one day, torrential rain the next, the one thing that we can count on when it comes to the good old British climate is its unpredictability,” adds Sarah.

“Despite this we’re keen to do what the Europeans do and spend more time eating and entertaining in the fresh air. Which is why we are seeing a significant growth in the sales of made to measure awnings. Originally intended to prevent strong sunlight from fading soft furnishings, they are really coming into their own as a way to protect ourselves from the elements – be it the sun’s rays or rain showers.

“Although the traditional stripy fabric awning still has the edge, contemporary styles and fabrics such as linen are becoming more popular, especially in period or more traditional properties.”

Hillarys awnings are fully motorised, available with sun and wind sensors and available in a choice of over 60 stylish yet durable fabric. In any width from 2.5m to 12m with free measuring and fitting, prices start from £1595. Call 0800 916 6516 or visit for more information.


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