We often spend a Sunday afternoon at Tatton Park, near Knutsford in Cheshire. It is a wonderful estate with an old mansion house, acres of gardens and grounds you can walk in, deer everywhere, a fabulous adventure playground and even a farm. They also have lots of events taking place throughout the year, we came to the annual Medieval Fayre.
It costs £5 to park your car on the estate, there was a further charge of £7 for adults and £4.50 for children to enter the Medieval Fayre area. The Tatton Park estate is huge - the fayre was in one of its far corners, in the grounds of the Old Hall.
We were amazed as we approached - lots of colourful tents and hundreds of people all dressed in medieval costume, just wandering around and going about their business. The atmosphere was wonderful. Children were running around barefoot, there were traders, musicians and craftsmen - it really did feel like we had stepped back in time and were experiencing a medieval travelling fayre.
There was a marketplace with about 50 colourful tents set up in the grounds behind the Old Hall. You could buy medieval food, ironwork, home spun fabrics and there were lots of craft stalls. All traders were in costume. We really enjoyed wandering around, looking at all the wares and our son came away with a little pouch and some "precious" stones. He also enjoyed shooting targets with a medieval catapult.
Throughout the day there were also various demonstrations and talks going on. When we arrived, they had a falconry display and then a display of medieval weapons. This was actually really interesting - they described weapons and how they were used and the finale was firing a couple of old canons.
There was an "ale and meat" tent with refreshments available for a reasonable price. We sat on picnic tables outside the tent in the glorious sunshine, listening to Squeake's Noyse - a musical duo who played medieval music on a whole series of instruments, including bagpipes and hurdy gurdy.
The day ended with the "Battle of Tatton Field." The "soldiers" were called to muster at 3:30pm and it was spectacular watching them all march off, dressed in their armour out to the battle field. There must have been around 400 soldiers and re-enactors out on the field. Spectactors followed them, then watched from behind ropes as the mock battle got underway. They fired canons, had archers shooting arrows then fought using swords and axes. It was a real spectacle and a great way to finish the day.
The Medieval Fayre comes every year in June to Tatton Park. It is definitely worth visiting, there is so much to see and do and for us it really made history come alive.