England’s Medieval Festival

27th August 2016

Camping at festivals two weekends in a row was tiring but so worth it. This time a medieval festival instead of music. Based at Herstmonceaux Castle, which is a lovely building, now a university. Perfect setting for the siege reenactment each morning.

The site has multiple medieval encampments with everything in keeping with the time. People roasting meat on a spit, sharpening swords, eating out of wooden bowls. Even babies in woollen trousers and bonnets. You can join in with archery, crossbow shooting and axe throwing for a small fee. Also pony rides for the little ones. We went on a pulley driven jousting horse which was great fun. The child is strapped in, then given a helmet and jousting lance. The man at the other end turns the handle fast so they whizz along the track trying to hit the targets as they go.

There are many stages throughout the site with differing entertainment. Theatre, drumming, even sword skills. There is also a mud pit which has a show three times a day. I don’t envy the cast who have to get filthy in mud then clean up again before the next show.

The kids area has activities to take part in and its own small stage with puppet shows and green man tales. There is also plenty of shopping if you’re looking for a new suit of armour or wooden tankard…

The main arena has real jousting and birds of prey shows. There are also two reenactments per day. So much to see and do that we didn’t manage to see everything in 2 days!

As a participant or camper, you get evening access to the site. This is somehow even better than the day. Just surrounded by people in costume while eating stew in the Buxom Wench Tavern, drinking beer from tankards and listening to musicians playing lutes and such like. Also a fire parade and outdoor night cinema. Next year I think I’ll dress up too, not just Betty!


Baby/Toddler info:

The camping is basic with only a few portaloos and drinking water taps.

The campsite is also on a slope so travel cots and toddler beds need to be carefully positioned.

The festival has baby changing in the cafe toilets.

The mobile shop never turned up while we were there so we had to drive to the next village for a supermarket for essentials such as milk.