Monday, 11 July 2011

Kenilworth Castle - summer activities

It was a beautiful day on Saturday, so we we hopped into the car and headed to one of the many castles near us that we have been meaning to visit. Kenilworth Castle is a English Heritage site and has lots of history. While my husband loves the middle ages I tend to gravitate to the Tudor and Elizabethan period. This castle was once owned by Robert Dudley who was very close to Queen Elizabeth the First. Unfortunately the castle is a ruin with the only fully preserved building being the gate house and the Tudor stables, which now holds the tea room. In recent years the castle staff have recreated the gardens as seen during Elizabethan time when she visited the grounds of the castle.

This weekend the castle was hosting a reenactment group of the 15th Century and had many activities for the public to enjoy. First we saw Falconry demonstrations:

We saw several birds demonstrating how falconry was once done during this period. It wasn't uncommon for a females to be working the birds as it was thought a woman's gentle nature put the nervous birds at ease:)

Here the women is throwing a rope into the air with bait on the end and the bird caught it mid air and landed with the prey. Fascinating to see how fast these birds are.

We were told that the birds often don't want to give up their prey so the handlers need to make a trade with the bird, but first they need to cover up the prey the bird caught and offering the bird a treat. Only then will the bird give up the prey it caught.

Next we saw a knight competition ending with a joust. First the knights had to show their skills in a obstacle course using different weapons:

Riding with a sword they needed to cut a cabbage off a pole which was about a man's height. Earn 1 point if successful.

Next using a mace they needed to smash a melon riding at full speed. 1 point scored if successful.

Next throw a javelin at a stuffed man again riding at full speed. Scored 1 point for a hit.

Lastly using a lance they must hit the shield on a pole called a quinton and the score depends on how many times the shield revolves.

Each knight did this circuit twice and the score was added up for a winner and then they moved on to the jousting. While we waited for the knights to get into their amour we had entertainment.


Jester with magic, pranks and all around silliness:)

The knight's squires egging on the crowd to pick their man as one to champion:)

The knights and the horses in all their amour!!!

Gearing up for the run.

It is a hit!! The scoring of this game was 1 point if you hit the arm, 2 point if you hit the body, 3 points if you hit the small shield on the knights amour. Each Knight had 3 runs and then a winner was declared. Despite all the safety in place these day there are still risks at this game with the last causality being in 2007 when a reenactor was killed by a splinter going thru his eye piece in the helmet.

After the tournament we explored the living history encampment:

We had a great day transporting our selves back to the 15th century!

I am linking this post up to the Field trip Hop! Come over and see what is going on with others home schooler this summer.


  1. Love these pictures! What an unforgettable trip. I've seen a school assembly that featured bird of prey, but this place offers so much more. Neat!

  2. Wow, that's fantastic! It looks like you guys are having lots of fun!

  3. How wonderful, to get to see medieval arts at a castle. The hawk lady looks like she stepped out of a painting and I could spend hours gawking at the living history exhibits.

  4. Amazing, as usual!

    We saw a falconry exhibit at a museum once and it was fascinating. I would LOVE to see a jousting tournament like that (as long as no one got hurt!) We have a renaissance fair in our area, but it's not historically accurate at all, just a fun theme park.

    That castle is gorgeous. I love formal gardens like those!

  5. This looks like alot of fun! My kids would love to see the Falcon demonstration and your summary of the knights' challenges reminds me of "Medieval Times" dinner show that we have not too far from our town. Of course, the reenactment you saw was more authentic I'm sure, since Medieval Times is a tourist attraction, but I'm just tickled I can finally somewhat relate to something you saw ! :) I clicked on the news article about the knight that died. That is so very sad and I'm glad everyone was safe during your day of fun! Clicked a vote for you!

  6. I loved your adventure!The pictures were awesome. I really enjoy history; and love the 1700-1800's.
    I enjoy reading novels from those era's.
    Blessings to you!
    Living Waters by LeAnn
    Comments on Google down -

  7. that looks like a great family day.Thanks for visiting.

  8. I love historical romance novels and I read one that mentioned Robert Dudley and Elizabeth I. Would love to visit this castle!

  9. Very neat! I wish we could come visit and you can be our tour guide. ;)

  10. Too cool! I'm a fan of the Elizabethan time period also!

  11. Wow - what an amazing outing!

  12. Very Interesting, Love it! Nice site, I will be sure to come back to visit! Check my Blog Hop on we would love for you to link up!

    “Mommy freebies, coupons and Advice on using coupons”

  13. I just found your comment about the BROCCOLI,all my husband does it snaps the head of broccoli off when it is ready and then along the side we have little heads starting to sprout out.

  14. I would love to be able to say "we went to visit a local castle" that is so cool! My son would love to see the knight demonstrations... in fact, he'd love to see all of it! You are truly blessed to have this experience with your children!

  15. What an absolute blast!What a priceless experience! I'm so envious. Why don't we have anything like this in Canada? Time for another trip to UK!

  16. Thanks everyone we know we are so lucky to live here and experience all these great adventures:)

  17. Thanks for linking up again this week :D We do love Hawaii :D And are lucky to live here, if only it wasn't so darn expensive! h aha

  18. I love architecture and even in ruins would love to be so close to an actual castle. I have a great imagination.

    We went to a Renaissance fair which had rides that were all operated by gears, ropes and hands. It was totally cool to see what could be done with those three things.

  19. What a wonderful trip. Thank you so much for sharing this on the blog hop.

  20. Wow, How cool! I would love to go along to see all that sort of stuff. I'm sure the kids would just love it too. Maybe we can arrange a trip to England one of these days...its a long way from New Zealand tho.
    I look forward to browsing through your resource list for the coming year, also.I've come to visit your blog from Carries 'Parenting Passageway' and I"m planning out the second half of our year.
    Thanks for all the neat photos :)

  21. Hi Carla,
    New Zealand is on my list of places to visit:) I have a friend who lives on the North Island and I am dying to visit her one day. Hope you make it over to the UK one day it is a lot of fun.