England's Medieval Festival at Herstmonceux Castle was conceived in 1993 as a celebration to mark the reopening of the 15th century moated castle to the public. The castle which was purchased and extensively refurbished and refitted by Queen's University Canada in order to start an International Study Center in England was in need of a means to announce to the world that it was back open to the public. A totally authentic medieval festival seemed an ideal solution and was also an excellent way to fulfil the International Study Centers mission statement which was to be a south coast Centre for the arts and higher learning. What better way to learn about history could there be than to live the life for a day. Clive Geisler and The Malcolm Events Ltd. who had extensive experience in outdoor event management were invited to execute and manage the Festival. The Festival has become the largest annual festival of its kind in England. The Festival has also proved to be a excellent source of badly needed annual funding for the upkeep of the listed building which now has registered charity status.
The objective of the Festival was to re-create a setting, which was so complete that the visitor is transported back in time for the day. In order to achieve this no effort or attention too small detail was to great. Herstmonceux even started its own re-enactment group called The knights of Herstmonceux, which is open to the public to join and become more involved in the famous event. While some other stately homes or properties around England claimed to have a festival not one offered the complete range of experience that was produced at Herstmonceux. At Herstmonceux you will find that each and every staff member is a costumed member of The Knights of Herstmonceux and that customer service and politeness with an old English accent are the order of the day. Once the visitor enters the festival gates they will not see a vehicle again until they leave. At the Festival in one day the visitor can experience the best and worst that the period had to offer. Their day starts with an exhilarating battle re-enactment as over three hundred men and women in period costume attack and counter attack with full cannon support in an effort to siege and storm the castle walls. After the battle there is celebration and merriment as nobles and peasants alike gather from miles around to buy and sell their wears in the medieval market place. See the local poachers compete in an English longbow tournament against their noble masters for a purse of gold. The visitors can even have-a-go themselves. In the afternoon they can see the nobles practice their fighting skills and win the Queen's favour at the horseback jousting tilt. Throughout the day there is lots of interactive fun for the whole family with music, theatre, street performers, period demonstrations, a living history village, kid's kingdom games and all manner of specialty food and drink to tantalize the tastebuds.
For the first two years the Festival was held on a single day. The Festival was then expanded to allow for greater customer choice to two and finally to all three days of the August bank holiday weekend which is the last full weekend in August. Attendance has also risen steadily to the point where we can now reliably expect 30,000 visitors over the three days. The Festival is held throughout the 500 acre estate, which surrounds this magnificent 15th century moated castle. Herstmonceux Castle is ideally situated near Hailsham and Eastbourne with good road access and public transport by train to Polegate station and then our special shuttle buss.
The Malcolm Group Events Limited, manages this event and other similar themed events in England and in Canada and is proud to have developed such a world class product for the public to enjoy annually.
Open: 10am to 6pm daily
Discounted Advance Ticket Sales available On-line: www.EnglandsMedievalFestival.com/medieval/Tickets
Telephone: +44 020 8150 6767