This spring, English Heritage is inviting visitors to join in with plenty of fun for all the family for two of England’s celebration days;St George’s Day and May Day. From traditional pageantry and fairs to dramatic historical re-enactments and displays, there will be plenty going on at some of England’s finest castles, stately homes and historic places.
It all starts on the 26 and 27 April, when English Heritage will be celebrating St George’s Day with a country-wide weekend of festivals and pageants. The highlight is the annual St George’s Festival at Wrest Park, Bedfordshire, where visitors can enjoy displays, hands-on activities and living history encampments. One of England’s largest St George’s Day events, highlights will include medieval jousting, Victorian horsemanship displays, and, of course, the iconic showdown between St George and his legendary nemesis.
The sights, sounds and smells of medieval England will also be on show at Dover Castle, Kent and Belsay Hall, Northumberland, where visitors will discover medieval townsfolk, musicians and entertainers, and displays of skill at arms. The gallant St George will be in action at these and many other sites across the country, as England’s patron saint is celebrated with shows, entertainment and much more.
The following weekend, from Saturday 3 to Sunday 5 May, will see some good old fashioned fun and festivities, as English Heritage celebrate the May Day weekend with festivals, medieval tournaments and historic merriment from through the ages.
Traditional May Day festivities will be on show at Audley End House and Gardens in Essex, which will host a grand Victorian May Day Festival, and at Belsay Hall, which will host a Medieval May Day, where visitors can join the medieval townsfolk for processions, music and dancing.
Pomp and pageantry will be on full display across the country over the bank holiday weekend, with historic combat and tournaments scheduled across the country. Join the crowd to cheer on your favourite in the thrilling atmosphere of these dramatic displays, where encampments and stalls bring the sights and sounds of the era to life.
At Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire, Clash of Knights will see four teams of highly-skilled knights meet head on with shield and club, as they battle to triumph in this ultimate test of skill and strength. Meanwhile, Framlingham Castle in Suffolk will host a Knights’ Tournament – with noble knights testing their combat skills in a bid to be crowned tournament champion.
Plus there’s much more going on across the country, from Elizabethan courtly splendour at Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire, to a Roman invasion of Old Sarum in Wiltshire. Full event details can be found below; for full English Heritage event details please visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/events, or call 0870 333 1181.