Go wild and learn how to be a knight during the holidays

Visitors to Belsay Hall this summer can find out what it was like to be a medieval knight. Picture by Andrew Heptinstall
Visitors to Belsay Hall this summer can find out what it was like to be a medieval knight. Picture by Andrew Heptinstall

Medieval history will be brought to life at a county tourist attraction this summer.

During Saturdays and Sundays until Sunday, August 17, Sir Gawain – a knight from King Arthur’s Round Table – will entertain visitors to Belsay Hall.

Legend has it that Sir Gawain beheaded a mysterious fellow, perhaps a Wild man, and the story reveals lessons of honour and chivalry.

People coming to the site will be able to find out more about these noble traits at chivalry school and courtly dancing sessions.

As for Medieval action, a group of noble knights will take on an epic tournament between Saturday, August 23 and Monday, August 25.

Swords will be wielded, archery skills tested and helmets battered as these skilled men are put to the test. Who will reign supreme and become champion?

In addition, you can soak up the sights and sounds of Medieval encampments as food is cooked on open fires and watch folk from the period go about their daily lives. Try your hand at archery, laugh at the jester and let your little knights feel the weight of real armour while burning off energy in battle drills.

There are plenty of other events and activities at Belsay Hall during the school holidays.

The Hands on History team will help to stimulate the imaginations of young visitors by putting on a range of wild children’s sessions, including mural painting, mask making and fun tasks.

They will run each day between this Saturday and Monday, August 25. An additional £1 will be charged on standard admission for every child, member, life member and non-member to help staff fund these activities.

There are some outdoor theatre shows to enjoy and time is running out to book tickets for Chapterhouse’s performance of The Jungle Book, which takes place on Thursday, July 24.

See Mowgli’s adventures with the cunning panther Bagheera and lovable Baloo the Bear, which also involve characters such as the mischievous monkeys and the terrifying tiger Shere Khan.

On Saturday, August 16, the Rain or Shine company will take to the stage for William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice play.

From the merchants, who trade and barter on the Rialto, to a young Venetian’s choice of a metal casket in Belmont, which could win him the hand of an heiress, Shakespeare weaves a web of romantic intrigue, cunning duplicity and comical foolery.

For more information about what’s on at Belsay, call 01661 881636. For outdoor theatre tickets, call 0870 3331183.