21 - 22 April: St George's Day Festival
|Author: English Heritage||Published: 18th April 2012 16:55|
Celebrate St George's Day at Wrest Park's
Annual Blockbuster Festival
10am - 6pm Saturday April 21 & Sunday April 22
Wrest Park, Silsoe, Bedfordshire
Wrest Park's famous St George's Day Festival promises to be bigger and better than ever before with new and exciting entertainment lined up to share the stage with England's favourite hero - including a veritable feast of historic foodie delights on the menu.
From creating a Pharaohs' banquet of Ancient Egypt, to making lost dishes from the Medieval era and recreating the decadent splendour of the Victorian tea table, live cookery demonstrations will be running throughout each day - some giving visitors the opportunity to taste real food and drink from history.
Local suppliers include chilli growers who produce some of the hottest in the world including the Ghost Chilli and Trinidad Scorpion and there will be sausage making and butchery demonstrations on offer on Sunday. Kids can take part in informal hands-on activities, including how to make bouquet garnis, churn butter and hand mill wheat to make bread.
This unmissable event also includes the chance to see Prince Malik's Lancers in fast and furious horseback displays recalling the glory days of the Raj as they demonstrate their amazingly accurate tent pegging skills - at a flat out gallop.
Victorian ladies will demonstrate the art of side saddle riding, as they jump a course including a table set for dinner - complete with diners - before taking on the gents in a race against the clock.
Always a crowd pleaser, dashing mounted knights will demonstrate their skills - and the bravery of their horses - in medieval jousting displays where they collide at speeds of up to 40 mph. The main event each afternoon sees gallant St George resplendent in shining armour astride his noble steed as he attempts to slay a fearsome green dragon. Supporters can wave the flag for their favourite as they cheer for the valiant patron saint or the feisty fire-breathing dragon, in their display of courage and patriotism.
Away from the main arena, there's plenty more historic action. A colourful living history encampment will provide a rolling programme of entertainment throughout each day including a fire breathing show, a bed of nails, plus minstrels and fools from medieval times. There's an authentic historic market to wander and children and adults can watch and take part in a host of other period activities including an interactive dragon puppet theatre and a mock children's battle.
Wrest Park, Bedfordshire, MK45 4HS - ¾ mile east of Silsoe off the A6, 10 miles south of Bedford. Train: Flitwick (4 miles)
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT: Purchase tickets before Wednesday 18 April to receive a generous discount: Adults £12.50, Concessions £11.30, Children £7.50, Family Ticket £32.50. Normal prices: Adults £14.50, Concessions £13.10, Children £8.70, Family Ticket £37.70
To pre-book call 0870 333 1183 (Mon-Fri 8.30am-5.30pm, Sat 9am-5pm). Tickets will also be available to purchase on the day. Visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/wrestpark
Wrest Park is an 18th-century French-inspired mansion surrounded by 90 acres of magnificent parkland illustrating 250 years of landscape design. Largely unseen and unknown for decades, England's ‘Secret Garden' landscape launched in August 2011, when £1.14m Heritage Lottery Fund makeover allowed it to take its rightful place among the most important historic garden attractions in the country. As well as restoring key areas within the grounds and making them more accessible, the transformation saw the opening of a new visitor centre - complete with introductory exhibition, shop and 74-seater café - children's play area, new displays and interpretation and selected rooms open to view inside the house.
St George's Day Festival goers will see the newly restored French Parterre, with box-edged beds in their original intricate patterns, filled with bright orange tulips.
(images courtesy of English Heritage)