English Tourism Week is upon us and with a new theme for 2022: “You’re Welcome!”. Yes, this year’s message is loud and clear. After a couple of testing years, English tourism is buzzing again and welcoming guests from all over the world.
We thought there was no better time for us to put together a blog about some of the upcoming historical events and fairs coming up at our favourite destinations in South East England this spring and summer.
And while you’re here, don’t forget to browse our full range of Private Day Tours in South East England.
Historical Events and Activities at Hever Castle
Hever Castle is one of Kent’s most fascinating historical sites. The childhood home of Anne Boleyn, this picturesque castle makes for a wonderful day out. Our Private Hever Castle Tour explores the castle’s Tudor history and its connections to King Henry VIII. (We can also cover the site in combination with another historical destination on one of our Tailor-Made Tours of South East England.)
But in addition to being a place of immense historical significance, Hever Castle and its grounds play host to an array of events throughout the year. With English Tourism Week being in full swing and many travellers making plans for their spring and summer holidays, we thought we’d list some highlights from Hever Castle’s calendar.
◆ Becoming Anne: An Exhibition Dedicated to the Life of Anne Boleyn (4 March to Early November)
Marking the 500th anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s arrival at the English court in March 1522, this exhibition explores the rise of the Boleyn family and Anne’s unique character. Anne’s marriage to Henry VIII would change the course of English history and this exhibition uses letters, portraits, and other artefacts to tell the story of her life in the very place she was raised.
◆ May Day Weekend (30 March to 2 May)
If you’re not from England, Hever Castle’s May Day Weekend is the perfect opportunity to see firsthand some traditional English customs. Watch Morris Dancing and even take part in dancing around the May Pole. This is a fun event for the whole family and a great way to welcome in the spring season.
◆ The Queen’s Jubilee at Hever Castle (2 to 5 June)
History enthusiasts on holiday in England will be pleased to know that in 2022 they get to mark a historic chapter in English history: the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
Yes, England’s longest-reigning monarch is celebrating a magnificent 70 years on the throne. Where better to enjoy the festivities than at a traditional English castle with a history intimately linked to the crown? Hever Castle’s Jubilee celebrations will feature a Jewel Hunt, Art Trail, and even a street party! The perfect place to enjoy a picnic.
For those of you with a passionate interest in the royal family, we recommend our The Crown Private Royal Tour of London. We delve into the history of the English monarchy as we explore the capital city’s most iconic royal landmarks.
◆ Jousting Events at Hever Castle (Select Dates Throughout July and August)
“What is jousting?” you might ask. Watch the video below for an introduction to the medieval sport that was once a box office business!
On select dates during the summer, the Knights of Royal England will bring a wonderfully exhilarating spectacle to Hever Castle – medieval jousting! Watch knights do battle and perform stunts in authentic historical armour.
Cheer from the sidelines just as large crowds of fans would have done hundreds of years ago. Want to enjoy the entertainment while taking a privately guided tour of the castle? Travel to the castle’s medieval fairs in the company of John England Tours with one of our Tailor-Made Tours (Visit the Hever Castle website for the latest jousting dates).
Historical Events and Activities at Leeds Castle
Often called the loveliest castle in the world on account of its stunning grounds and cinematic architecture, Leeds Castle is a must-see historical site for anyone exploring South East England. We offer a Private Tour to Leeds Castle and visitors always fall in love with this picturesque site.
Below, we’ve listed some of the castle’s upcoming historical events and activities.
◆ Falconry Displays at Leeds Castle (Daily from April to September)
Central to Norman cultural identity in the English Middle Ages, falconry is an activity with a long history. The art of falconry was enjoyed by many English kings and there’s no better place to see these majestic creatures soar through the air than in the grounds of a historic castle like Leeds.
Get to see Hawks, Falcons, and Owls – a perfect adventure for anyone travelling with children!
◆ The Queen’s Joust at Leeds Castle (2 to 5 June)
The sport of jousting is alive and well! Having been practised for around 1,000 years, it’s fascinating to get to see the riders perform their jousts and stunts in the 21st century.
Accompanying the jousting will be areas where guests can look at medieval weapons and armour up close, taste some medieval cooking, and even participate in medieval games. Soak up the medieval atmosphere in the ideal setting.
◆ The Leeds Castle Medieval Jubilee Quest (30 April to 2 May)
This looks like a really special event being organised by Leeds Castle. Inspired by the forthcoming 70-year Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, Leeds Castle is bringing to life the stories of six famous English queens with links to Leeds Castle.
This story-led history will feature an array of characters, from crusaders to rebels. The performances will involve singing and dancing, and they’ll be plenty of opportunities for audience participation!
A Weekend of Medieval History in Canterbury
From the all-singing, all-dancing historical performances of Leeds Castle to an altogether more academic affair. This is one for the history aficionados among you.
◆ Medieval Canterbury Weekend (29 April to 1 May)
Back for the seventh time, this year’s Canterbury History Weekend is focused on the city’s medieval past. Featuring renowned historians, such as Dr Marc Morris, author of The Anglo-Saxons: A History of the Beginnings of England, the weekend will involve walking tours, lectures, and virtual events.
From the Black Death to medieval dragons, church architecture to the life of Saint Thomas Becket, this curated weekend is sure to be a treat for any history buff.
Canterbury has long been one of our favourite historic destinations in Kent. We offer our own Private Tour of Medieval Canterbury for any guests wishing to explore this beautiful town on foot.
Historical Events and Activities at Dover Castle
As one of the best-preserved castles in all of England, Dover Castle has a lot to recommend it. Often referred to as the key to England, this 11th-century fortification has played a crucial role in many chapters of English history, from the Napoleonic Wars to WW2.
Those wishing to uncover the mysteries of this captivating location should join us for our Private Tour of Dover Castle – see the Roman lighthouse (one of only two in the world), explore the inside of Dover Castle, and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding countryside.
Below are listed some upcoming events at Dover Castle.
◆ Pirates of England Event at Dover Castle (30 to 31 July)
Learn all about the notorious pirates and privateers of England’s past with this entertaining history performance. Actors in full pirate costumes will tell bloody tales from the high seas and give educational demonstrations. The epic landscape of Dover is just the place to learn about England’s notorious pirates!
◆ Knights Tournament at Dover Castle (27 to 29 August)
See armoured knights engage in sword fights, sample the flavours of medieval cookery, witness how people would have lived in the High Middle Ages, and observe artisans at work on traditional English handicrafts. There’s simply no better way to enjoy the atmosphere of England’s historic sites than with interactive historical events like the Knights Tournament!
This brings an end to our list of some of the most exciting historical events taking place in South East England this Spring/Summer season. Did we leave anything out? Do you have any questions regarding our tours? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.