Lady Godiva Roams Northants, Bucks, Beds, Herts

31 July 2012, 12:57 | Updated: 2 August 2012, 10:02

A 20 foot-tall Lady Godiva is travelling 125 miles from Coventry to London via Northampton, Milton Keynes, Luton and Hatfield.

But unlike her legendary character which rode naked to London, this giant Godiva has a modesty coat - designed by fashion icon Zandra Rhodes.

Godiva Awakes is part of the 2012 London Cultural Olympiad - a series of arts, performances and surprising and unexpected events taking place around the country to mark the Olympics.

The massive marionette will also have bespoke boots, designed by Northamptonshire boot-maker Horace Batten.

The 6-metre tall Godiva will also be helped on her way by a relay team of 87 cyclists who'll power her journey down to the capital.

21st Century Godiva has moving body parts - with four performers activating her movements - especially her arms and eyes.


1730. Campbell Park. Godiva Awakes arrives in the City. Lady Godiva will be in good company with a park full of Giant Puppets as part of the Brewing Up festival.


1530. Arrives in Market Hill before arriving in St George's Square at 1600. People in Luton are being encouraged to line the streets to welcome Lady Godiva into town with medieval circus workshops, stilt walkers and jesters.


1800. Welcome Lady Godiva as she travels through Harpenden and Wheathampstead before it arrives at the Birchwood Leisure Centre, Longmead, Hatfield.

(Saturday it will travel from Hatfield through Welham Green, Brookmans Park and Cheshunt).


It's believed the original Godiva, rode naked through the streets of Coventry in a bid to lower taxes.

She took pity on her fellow residents who were suffering under her own husband - Earl of Mercia's high taxes - but despite repeated appeals to him he failed to lower taxes. Then, he became weary of her constant demands - and said he WOULD lower taxes, but ONLY if she stripped naked and rode through the town. 

She took him at his word, and did just that - her modesty only protected by her long hair.

The second legend of PEEPING TOM also arose after a local resident called Tom bore a hole through the shutters of his home after a proclamation that all residents should shut themselves inside their houses so they wouldn't cast their gaze on Godiva.

In the end, Godiva's husband kept his word and abolished the punitive taxes.