What's On at the Festival
*The following description has applied for our festival
for the past 27 years, however given the current pandemic, the format, shows and
performances are subject to change this year. However the following will give
you a description of some of the things you might see this year, and all of the
things you will be able to enjoy in future years
England's Medieval Festival offers uniquely authentic activities associated with the middle ages. Living History Encampments are reconstructed throughout the 200 acre estate, giving 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 with 'hands-on' factual exhibits. A fascinating insight into medieval England.
A full-size tiltyard is recreated giving visitors a taste of the excitement and bravery of an ancient sport - mounted Skill-at-Arms, in which combat skills and horsemanship once meant the difference between life and death. It is a truly gripping and realistic experience.
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 are on hand to pass on their expertise and demonstrate their precision with the longbow.
Herstmonceux Castle comes under siege! The centrepiece of the festivities is the massive and colourful Siege of the Castle held in the morning and concluding Battle, fought on the rear battlefield, during the afternoon. Over 500 members of medieval groups based throughout 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. Both the Siege and Battle are held daily.
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 Puppeteers to period Crafts, whole hogs roasted over glowing embers and a Kid's Kingdom where you can 'sign up and shoot straight' in the Have-a-Go Archery, test your sword fighting skills against the evil Black Knight in the 'Ring of Steel' and enjoy the outrageous antics of Jesters and spell-binding Wizards!
Bringing history to life and allowing people to experience it first hand is the secret of the attraction. The Festival provides something for people of all tastes and all ages. The moated Castle, itself dating from the fifteenth century, provides a magical backdrop.
Festival highlights at a glance (TBD for 2020 due to changes as a result of
government guidelines for events/gatherings):
- Daily Siege of the Castle
- Daily Battle for the Castle
- Jousting Shows in the Royal Arena
- Grand Parades (morning and afternoon)
- Cannon and Seige Warfare Demonstrations
- Authentic mounted Skill-at-Arms tournaments
- Falconry display and flying demonstrations
- Europe's finest Bowmen competing in Archery competitions, plus visitors Have-a-Go
- Kid's Kingdom with staged performances
- Living History Encampments
- Medieval Puppet shows
- Strolling Minstrels, Jesters, Wizards and twelve foot Giants
- Medieval Traders Row with period demonstrators
- Over 200 Craftsmen and Merchants
- Two huge Taverns, including foods such as roast hog on a spit and period beverages