Where: Berkley Castle, Gloucestershire, Southwest England
What happens: Jousting, battle re-enactments, Medieval food, costumes and education
Remember to bring: Coat of armour or peasant costume and your trusty steed
Polish your armour, climb aboard your steed, and canter down to Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire to join in the joust.
What happens at the Joust festival?
Every year in July, Medieval folk from across the land gather to eat drink and be merry – with a little bit of jousting and battle re-enactments thrown in for good measure. There is a chance here to sharpen your archery skills, have your fortune told, and pelt the peasant. If this all seems a little too energetic then sit back and watch the rebels siege the castle. Not literally, but their display, with clashing swords and booming cannons, is very authentic.
The Joust festival is the largest Medieval event in Great Britain and its venue, Berkeley Castle, is a superb example of Medieval architecture. The living history village, traditional traders, costumes, and cooking all combine to give a real taste of life in England’s Middle Ages (350AD to 1450AD). Back then it was law for everyone to practice archery after church on a Sunday and at the festival you can check out the impressive skills of some modern day archers or even have a go yourself.
Not only will the kids be excited by the colourful characters but they also have their own area to explore where they can take a pony ride, prepare for battle by having their face painted, or pelt the peasant for his misdemeanours. It’s not just the kids that can learn. Visit the Learning Zone Tent and meet some fascinating speakers and experts who can give you insights into astrology and history, and share some great stories.
The joust takes place on the last two weekends of July. The joust and siege both take place twice a day but in between there is singing, dancing, and traditional homemade food and drink, with enough hustle and bustle to keep you busy all day.
How to get to Berkeley
Berkeley lies between Bristol and Gloucester just off the M5, about two hours from London. A shuttle service runs from the train station. Berkeley Castle is open to visitors form Easter to the end of October.
Telephone: +44 (0) 1453 810332
Official website for Joust festival
Kings of Arkley
Learn to joust with these Medieval entertainment outfitters.
By Emma Jones