At Whitby Abbey, visitors will be following the path to enlightenment, at Brodsworth Hall, they will be manning the home front, and in between, there will be Royals at Richmond Castle, Pirates at Scarborough Castle and medieval markers at Clifford’s Tower – as English Heritage encourages the public to step into England’s story with half term holiday fun (25 May to 2 June).
Brodsworth Hall & Gardens, near Doncaster, turns the clock back to the 1940s for the bank holiday weekend (25 – 27 May) with three days of living history, performance and nostalgia! New recruits for the Brodsworth Home Guard will be signed up alongside members of the East Yorkshire Regiment, completing drills on the front lawn, whilst costumed re-enactors in the Hall tell the story of how the country house faced the challenges of World War II. Expect to hear the sounds of the 1940s, and even meet some of those who turned to historic tradition to put meat on the table – there was no rationing on the spoils of falconry!
The wartime commemorations continue throughout the rest of half term with English Heritage’s Time Travellers giving children a taste of life in the 1940s, including ‘make do and mend’ workshops and Home Guard Drill. Time Travellers Go… Children’s Home Front runs from Tuesday 28 May to Sunday 2 June. The events run alongside the new ‘Duty Calls’ exhibition within the Hall, which looks at the changing role of Brodsworth Hall and the estate throughout both World War I and II.
Whitby Abbey’s focus for the half term reflects a far more peaceful time, recreating a medieval ‘labyrinth’ to encourage visitors to meditate as they meander around a pattern cut into the grass – a tradition often used by medieval monks to help focus their thoughts. A monk and a musician greet visitors along the way, using song, music and poetry to enhance the contemplative experience. ‘The Path to Paradise’ runs throughout the half term break.
There’s family fun to be had at Clifford’s Tower in York, Richmond Castle and Scarborough Castle too, with entertaining trails around the sites to keep children focussed and happy! Medieval castle life at Clifford’s Tower challenges visitors to hunt out models of people who would have lived and worked around a castle, whilst at Scarborough Castle, visitors will be hunting for pirates! The ruins of Richmond Castle will also host regal visitors, with model monarchs from the past hiding all over the site.
The half term break ends in tuneful style at Rievaulx Abbey, near Helmsley, as the Cistercian ruins launch their Medieval Music Sundays. Each Sunday in June, a medieval wandering minstrel will be joined by groups playing period instruments to evoke the Abbey’s heyday in music and verse.
For more information on the events taking place at English Heritage sites this half term, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/yorkshire or call 0870 333 1181 for a free leaflet.