I was never into History when I was at school, which is a real shame, as these days I find it absolutely fascinating. If only we had the resources then that are available now. So many ways to bring history to life! Fantastic organisations like English Heritage are really helping with this, not only in maintaining important pieces of history, but also in some of the great events they organise across the country.
If you’re a regular visitor to our blog, you will know that we’ve spent the whole of our summer holidays in France. Normally this means missing out on most of the great events planned over the school holidays, but since we moved (slightly) north of the border, our children have gone back to school this week. This doesn’t mean missing out on the fun though, au contraire, we are glad to see that there are still some great events we (and you) can get involved in.
English Heritage have a fabulous schedule of summer events running here in the North.
We were very excited when we saw some of the events planned. You can see them all for yourself here. Scarborough Castle and Belsay Hall Castle and Gardens both have Medieval ‘Hands on History’ events running right through ’til 3rd September, whilst Whitby Abbey has a Seafarers Hands on History, and Rivaulx Abbey has ‘A Monk’s Life’ throughout the season. Lindisfarne Priory is running sessions about ‘The History Of Lindisfarne’, which I’m very tempted to attend. The last one of these is 25th-27th August.
When I asked the boys what they would like to do, they immediately decided they wanted to see a battle! Fighting of some sort definitely had to be on the cards! No nice evening Shakespere with a blanket and a picnic then? I guess not…
So, did we want to visit Medieval Knights or Roman Soldiers? That was the next decision…
Richmond Castle has ‘Medieval Mayhem’ on 19th & 20th August, which includes fighting knights and duelling warriors, Warkworth Castle has ‘Medieval Season – Fighting Knights’ on 22nd & 23rd August, and Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens has a Knights Tournament over the Bank Holiday weekend 26th – 28th August. We might still visit this one!
But the description of ‘Return of the Romans‘ at Chester’s Roman Fort event helped us decide “Enjoy two days of spectacular military displays, take in the sights, sounds and smells of a living camp and be part of the action as the mighty Romans return to the Wall for this two day event.”
It sounded amazing, and Hugo, in particular, has studied Roman Soldiers twice now – once in his old school, and again in his new school. Lucky boy! He even made his first ever YouTube video about How To Make a Roman Shield as it was part of his homework. We subsequently made it into a blog post, if you’d like to see it. No doubt Toby will learn about it all soon as well, so he will have a great head start.
We chose a good time to visit. It’s the 30th anniversary of the inscription of Hadrian’s Wall on the UNESCO World Heritage List, one of the very first World Heritage Sites to be created. And it is also the 1,900th anniversary of the accession of Hadrian to the Roman Imperial throne.
We also found out there is a great new installation available at Chester’s Roman Fort until October Half Term, entitled “Hadrian’s Cavalry: Bringing Horses Back To Chester’s Roman Fort“, so that will be another great thing to see while we’re there. Hadrian’s Cavalry is an Arts Council England funded project, in which English Heritage is one of 5 partners hosting exhibitions at 10 museums along Hadrian’s Wall. Three of their museums are involved: Corbridge, Housesteads and Chesters.
So that’s where we’re off to this weekend (19th & 20th August, 11-5pm), thanks to English Heritage for providing us with tickets. Watch this space to see how we get on!