The Festival itself consists of uniquely authentic activities associated with the Middle Ages. A complete medieval village is reconstructed, offering visitors a rare glimpse into the everyday life and times of the fifteenth century. Here, craftsmen and traders display their wares and demonstrate skills of a bygone age. A fascinating insight into medieval England.
A full-size arena is recreated in the Castle grounds to give visitors a taste of the excitement and bravery involved with Jousting, also another unique aspect of this Festival, not seen for centuries on English soil, is the opportunity for open attendance of re-enactors in a medieval Skill-at-Arms tournament. Not just theatre on horseback, imagine competing in a contest of medieval games, with actual scoring presenting the opportunity to establish who is 'Le Bon Chevalier' in England!
Another feature is the chance to see the 'local poachers' compete in an English Longbow tournament against their noble masters for a purse of gold. Some of Europe's finest bowmen will also be on hand to demonstrate their precision with the longbow at Herstmonceux annual Archery tournament. These same archers will pass on their expertise to any members of the public who care to try their hand.
But the centrepiece of the festivities is the massive and colourful siege battles staged twice daily. Over 500 members of medieval groups based throughout the United Kingdom and Europe fight out these battles, which recreate the bloody struggles of the Houses of York and Lancaster. Complete with showers of arrows from squads of supporting bowmen and cannon fire from ancient artillery pieces, these clashes put the spectator right at the heart of the action.
Manly deeds of heroic strength apart, England's Medieval Festival at Herstmonceux Castle is a truly memorable day out for the whole family, a unique experience to be enjoyed to the full at the time and treasured in the future. From strolling Minstrels and Medieval Puppeteers, to a Kid's Kingdom and period Crafts, to Fire-Eaters and whole hogs roasted over glowing embers; the Festival provides something for people of all tastes and ages.
Bringing history to life and allowing people to experience it first hand is the secret of the attraction. The moated castle, itself dating from the fifteenth century, provides a magical backdrop for this celebration of the colourful Middle Ages. The Festival annually attracts visitors from around the world.
- Once daily siege plus once daily battle for Herstmonceux Castle
- Skill-at-arms tournament
- Falconry flying demonstration and static display
- Europe's finest bowmen competing in archery competitions, plus visitors' have-a-go
- Kid's Kingdom including games of skill, shows, horse and carriage rides and much more.
- Period story-tellers and fortune tellers
- Medieval puppet shows
- Strolling musicians, tumblers and fire eaters, dancing bear, twelve foot giant and other roaming performers
- Living History Village and Medieval Traders Row with period demonstrators
- Over 200 craftsmen and merchants
- Two huge taverns offering period beverages and our now famous medieval kitchen with hogs roasting