A re-enactment of the siege of Kenilworth at Kenilworth Castle

One of my favourite books as a teenager was Katherine by Anya Seton – which tells the story of Katherine Swynford, the mistress (and later third wife) of John of Gaunt.  It was the book that sparked my interest in medieval history and where I first read a little about Kenilworth Castle, one of John of Gaunt’s castles.  It’s been on my list of places to visit for a while and when I realised we were staying nearby over the August bank holiday weekend, I was determined that we had to have a day out there.  Best of all, our visit coincided with the re-enactment event commemorating the 750th anniversary of the Siege of Kenilworth.

Looking across the ground of Kenilworth Castle to where the re-enactment of the siege was taking place with the text "A re-enactment of the siege of Kenilworth at Kenilworth Castle"

The Siege of Kenilworth took place a century or so earlier than the period of history that had sparked my initial interest in Kenilworth.  It was a six-month siege of the castle which took place during the Second Barons’ War which was fought between the barons (led by Simon de Montfort) and the Royalists (led by Prince Edward, later Edward I).  After the Battle of Evesham in 1265, de Montfort had agreed to surrender Kenilworth but the garrison there had rejected the terms of surrender and as a result the castle was under siege from June 1266 to December 1266 until the forces there eventually surrendered.

Walking up to Kenilworth Castle

We certainly picked a very busy day for a visit! There were plenty of events happening at the castle to commemorate the siege – a re-enactment of the attacks on the castle during the siege, minstrels and medieval music, the opportunity to meet a medieval surgeon and learn about treating siege injuries with live leeches.

Costumed re-enactors preparing for the siege

Me wearing a knight's helmet

I couldn’t resist trying on a knight’s helmet.  Sophie was quite keen to try it on too, not realising quite how heavy it would be!  I held on to it as she tried it on, making sure I was carrying most of the weight but as soon as it was over her head, she wanted to take it off again.  Hubby just about had time to snap a quick photo!

Sophie tries on the knight's helmet

The girls were much more interested in just wandering around the castle than they were in many of the events going on.  We did get to watch some of the re-enactment going on but it was difficult to get a good view with all the crowds and the girls were restless, so we headed towards the Elizabethan garden which seemed very tranquil after all the noise from the siege and was a beautiful place to explore.

Jessica having a wander in the Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth Castle

For the girls, the best thing about the day was being able to run about and explore.  Some of the walls were perfect for climbing up and running along and there were plenty of places that were just right for a game of hide and seek.  The weather was beautiful – perfect August bank holiday weekend weather.  The only downside was just how busy it was – the girls wanted ice-creams and the queue was just far too long which caused a bit of upset (thankfully the queue in the gift shop on the way out was much, much smaller and we managed to placate the girls by buying them an ice lolly each there instead!)

Jessica and Sophie running along the castle walls

Sophie sitting in an alcove in the castle

Overall though, we enjoyed our day out even if we would have preferred it to have been just a little less busy!

Hubby and the girls at the entrance to Kenilworth Castle


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

35 thoughts on “A re-enactment of the siege of Kenilworth at Kenilworth Castle

  1. Looks like a nice day you had! I’ve heard of Kenilworth castle before, but never been there. You certainly picked a great day for it, being such a beautiful weather and some fun activities going on there too 🙂 #countrykids

  2. What a great day out, it does look very busy though! The gardens look beautiful and what a lovely day you had for it. Also, loved the little bit of history lesson in there too 🙂 #countrykids

  3. What a castle. I love seeing re-enactments in the actual setting. Puts it all in context. Although 750 years is hard to comprehend. My goodness. That helmet does look big on Sophie. I’m glad they had a good turn out for their day, but I can imagine a quieter day would have suited you better. #CountryKids

    1. Yes 750 years ago is hard to imagine but so interesting to see the re-enactments of it all even if it was a bit busy for my liking! 🙂

  4. That helmet looks massive. Sounds like a fun adventure… Not living in a country with castles, I always find them fascinating, and maybe am just a teensy bit jealous that you all are able to visit them 🙂 #CountryKids

  5. Kenilworth Castle looks like a wonderful place to spend the day with the girls, it’s great that you got to see all the reenactments. It’s a shame that it was so busy so you couldn’t fully appreciate the reenactments but at least you got to do a few of the fun things like try on the helmet. At least you found some quieter areas of the castle to explore without the crowds being too much!

    Thanks for linking up with #CountryKids.

    1. The quieter areas were definitely my favourite parts of the day but we did enjoy it overall and I’d love to go back again 🙂

  6. Oh wow, what a super event to attend, and that you’ve got such a fondness for that place from the book too. It kind of brings it more to life, I think. #CountryKids

    1. Thanks Elizabeth – I do love it when I visit somewhere that I’ve read about – as you say, it brings it much more to life 🙂

  7. Kenilworth’s great. We found it really busy when we went too and that was on a drizzly day in Spring. The cafe certainly couldn’t cope with the numbers. It’s a shame because it is a great place to visit, but not if you want to get the kids involved with what’s actually going on other than just running around and climbing! #contrykids

    1. We were lucky in that we timed our café visit just right – a few minutes later and we’d have had to wait ages to get served. I can imagine it might be quite a popular place to visit especially if there are things going on.

  8. Oh this looks great fun! Sometimes it’s better to let them run around and do whatever they’re enjoying rather than try to get them to watch a particular event or participate in something. They’ll take what they need to from the day and learn the right things for them at the moment. We recently went to Knight’s school that was aimed at young children and they loved it but also spent a lot of time running around being kids.

    1. Just running around definitely works better for us at the moment! As long as we’re all having fun, that’s the most important thing 🙂

  9. Glad you had such lovely weather for your visit. The gardens are beautiful and how neat to get to see the reenactment of the battle. #countrykids

    1. It was interesting – shame we didn’t get a better view though! The gardens were beautiful though 🙂

  10. Getting to see a re-inactment is pretty cool even if the girls didn’t really enjoy it. Sound like you made up for it by exploring and running around though. Good day out I say with smiles! #countrykids

    1. Thanks Karen – it was a good day out overall – the exploring and running around was definitely more fun than the reenactment!

    1. There was certainly plenty to see. I don’t think I would have been put off had I realised how busy it was going to be but we would have definitely made more effort to get there earlier in the day.

    1. Thank you – they are such a good way of bringing history to life, it was just a shame we didn’t get to appreciate it a bit more this time!

  11. Looks like you had fabulous weather and a great day out. I’m looking forward to taking Sophie to places like this when she is a bit bigger. #CountryKids

  12. Looks like an interesting day. We’ve family there but haven’t as yet visited the castle properly. Crowds on event days can be tricky when visiting with little ones but as I’ve found with the reenactments at the chiltern open air museum it can be surprising what they take an interest in. #countrykids

    1. Thanks Dan – love the reenactments at the open air museum too. It is lovely when the children take an interest.

    1. Thanks Merlinda – like being a part of history is a very good way of describing it! 🙂

  13. I really like how much you can get from re-enactment days.Busy events are very draining as it can be over whelming with kids and the heat doesn’t help.At least you had nice grounds to to walk around in, to catch a breather.Over from Country Kids.

    1. The crowds did make it more tiring but yes nice to take a breather and walk around the grounds without the crowds.

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