My boys will tell you one of the highlights of living in England over the past two years has been the knights. Not the castles, the knights. Their swords accompany them everywhere. My toddler lost his mind in York Minster this weekend when we entered and he realized there were no knights and it wasn’t a castle. Their play is dominated by knights, horses, swords, and dragons. Each time we visit a castle, they ask if we will see another tournament or jousting. And for good reason—we’ve been to nearly a dozen knights’ tournaments, jousting events, or other similar activities in the past two years. Some of our recent favorites have included Jousting at Hedingham Castle, Framlingham Castle’s Knights’ Tournament, Bolsover Castle’s Clash of Knights Melee (May 2016), and the jousting tournament at Robin Hood Festival.
One of our favorite places to watch knights joust is Framlingham Castle. Maybe it is because it’s our favorite local castle and only an hour away. Or maybe it’s because we like to find a great vantage point atop the castle wall to watch the fighting. I’m not sure. But the sheer joy on their faces with each joust we attend never ceases to amaze me. And then I spend WEEKS reminding them they’re not real knights and they can’t keep attacking each other with their way too realistic wood swords.
If you’ve never seen medieval knights in action, you’re in luck. Summers are full of knight tournaments, jousts, and medieval fun. We’ve compiled a list (and check back, because we may find more!) of such activities within about a 2-hour radius of our local area in East Anglia.
- 23-24 July (Sat/Sun): Joust at Framlingham Castle (EH)
- 23-24 July (Sat/Sun): Knights’ Tournament at Kenilworth Castle (EH)
- 27 July (Wed): Knight and Princess Academy at Bodiam Castle (NT)
- 3, 6, & 7 August (Wed/Sat/Sun): Jousting at the Robin Hood Festival
- 6-7 August (Sat/Sun): Medieval Fighting Knights at Ashby de la Zouch Castle (EH)
- 3, 10, 17, & 24 August (Wed): Knight and Princess Academy at Bodiam Castle (NT)
- 20-21 August (Sat/Sun): Knights’ Tournament at Framlingham Castle (EH)
- 28-29 August (Sat/Sun): The Siege of Kenilworth Castle at Kenilworth Castle (EH)
- 28-29 August (Sat/Sun): Grand Medieval Joust at Bolsover Castle (EH)
- 28-29 August (Sun/Mon): Jousting with Destrier at Hedingham Castle
What are you waiting for?
In addition to these “big” events above, many of the English Heritage castles like Framlingham also have special medieval-themed, kid-friendly activities going on each week of the summer. You can go to the individual castle’s website to see a list of upcoming events or check out Framlingham’s here.
Above I’ve noted locations that are English Heritage sites with an (EH) and National Trust sites with an (NT). At EH and NT properties, admission to their events is typically free or significantly discounted for members. It’s always best to book online in advance when possible to reserve a spot and get the best prices. For instance, the Family price (2 adults, 3 kids) for non-EH members to this weekend’s Joust at Framlingham Castle costs £23.20. If you’re already a member, the Family price is £3.50. There’s an additional 10% discount if you book online before the weekend.
(This is not a paid or sponsored post/review. No money or compensation was received for writing this post. We love castles and our English Heritage membership and are thrilled English Heritage offered two of our readers complimentary passes.)