Are your children into castles and knights? If yes, then head along to Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire where you can experience fantastic sword fights and even a ‘Knights School.’
Along with dinosaurs and Star Wars, Ed’s other latest obsessions are soldiers and knights so we went for a visit over the Easter break for some family fun. Along with seeing up-close the great display of a steel-armoured sword fight with brave knights, we had a tour of the 900- year-old castle and grounds.
Berkeley is one of the few ancient castles I’ve been to where you can walk around much of the grounds and many of the rooms. They still hold lots of interesting features from ancient times, such as tapestries, tables and kitchen equipment.. (maybe not so interesting for Ed!)
Berkeley Castle is in the town of Berkeley and is still a family home. The Berkeleys have lived there since their ancestor, Robert Fitzharding, completed the Keep in the late 12th Century.
Back to the kids’ stuff, Ed was in complete awe on meeting and speaking to the knights – Sir Philip, Sir Jay and Sir Lewis from Warwick Warriors (see link below). You can have your picture taken with them dressed as a knight, princess or dragon as there’s a dressing-up hut where you can borrow outfits. You can also hold the knights’ swords and learn about all their armoury.
The next time you can see knights will be 6th/7th May when they visit on horseback and have jousting shows and the ‘Knight’s School’ is from Sunday 27th May with two separate sessions for children and adults!
Next weekend, you can go back in time with a Tudor event when Henry VIII returns to Berkeley Castle with his 2nd wife, Anne Boleyn.. (little did she know!) You can see Tudor dancing displays with live Tudor musicians along with watching spectacular falconry displays on the Lower Lawns.
There are a tremendous amount of events throughout the year, including: Father’s Day activities, falconry displays, jester skills and family fun days. There are also regular ‘deals’ such as ‘Grandparents Day’ every Monday when they get in free.
Or you can just soak up the history! Famous associations with the castle include Sir Francis Drake being a regular visitor. Another interesting historic story is how Edward II was murdered here and reputedly met his end in a truly gruesome way with a red-hot poker! (that’s definitely more for adults!)