Its seems in the last few years that jousting has become a popular Summer pass time. With Monkey now being three and having a make believe castle of his own with knights, swords and horses we thought he may enjoy a day going back in time to the medieval era and decided to visit The Loxwood Joust as it is not far from us.
We bought tickets online which works out slightly cheaper at £12 per adult instead of £15 on the door. Monkey was free as he is under 4. Normally Loxwood runs over the first two weekends in August and when buying a ticket in advance online you buy a ticket for the weekend. Which I really like as it gives you flexibility as to whether you go on the Saturday or the Sunday.
We arrived around 10.30am, the car park was already filling up but it was only a short walk to the entrance. At the entrance there is a board which shows everything that it going on throughout the day, there is a lot running from 10am to 5.15pm.
I have to apologise for some of the photos as I had one of those moments when I took my SLR out only to find that I had left the memory card in the laptop! So these were taken with my phone which apparently is not very good on close ups. When we arrived there was The Battle of Loxwood taking part on the battlefield, which we caught the last ten minutes or so. There were real cannons which made Monkey jump initially but he really enjoyed watching it.
The organisers have divided the fields up into different areas, our first stop was Children’s Kingdom. Here there are a selection of different activities as well as the lost child point! You need to exchange British pounds for Grouts in order to take part in the paid for activities. It was a nice touch and Monkey was really excited to have his own money! He wanted to try out the archery first, which I was a little apprehensive about since he is only three and I didn’t expect them to allow little children to have a go. But they were quite happy for him to take part, he must have had about 6/7 arrows in total and actually managed to hit one of the targets a couple of times.
The bowman was really good with him, and Monkey was really proud of himself. In the centre of the Kingdom there was a free activity laid out – Jester School -learn how to become a jester with lots of different play things, including spinning plates, juggling batons and stilt walking. In addition there was a bouncy castle and the opportunity to throw wet sponges at some poor person in the stocks. However Monkey opted to spend his other grouts on trying out a donkey. It was his first donkey ride and he really liked it albeit a bit nervous as the start. Unfortunately we realised a little too late that he is also allergic to donkey – thankfully I had antihistamine with me but it took a little while to go down. They also tell masked fairy tales in the Children’s Kingdom and Devil Stick Peat the Jester also makes one or two appearances to add to the entertainment! We bumped into him and his pesky ferret that likes medieval pot noddles wandering around.
We opted to take a picnic with us, but there are loads of choices when it comes to food. Including venison, wild boar and rabbit burgers, burritos and jacket potatoes, sweet and savoury crepes and of course ice-cream… There is also a large beer tent selling beer, cider and perry. Soft drinks are readily available although although they did run out towards the end of the day, however we visited on the last Sunday it was on and the weather had been really hot.
After lunch we positioned ourselves around the jousting area and waited for the first joust of the day at 1.15pm. They had placed hay bails around the arena to sit on, although we stood and Monkey stayed on Hubby’s shoulders for most of the show. There are four knights, two honourable ones, one misguided and one downright nasty known as the Black Knight. A story is woven into the action as well as a fair amount of hand to hand combat with swords on the ground. We cheered on Sir Thomas of Loxwood because Monkey’s favourite colour is blue, he is also the good and true knight. Needless to say there is a bit of cheating that goes on with the black knight and some of the squires also get quite a hard time of things! It was good fun to watch, albeit very warm on the day we visited! It lasted about 45 minutes and Monkey didn’t utter the words I am bored once! At the end the knights pose for photos and invite the children to have a picture taken with their favourite.
Of course when it was over we had to go and find Monkey a sword…. Around the outside of the arena there are various market traders operating canvas, selling everything from flowered headbands to cattle horn goblets, including bows and arrows and of course wooden swords!
Other attractions on the day include
- Falconry – bird of prey show which is directly on after the jousting – the birds are also available to look at for most of the day in their tent
- Woodland Stage – which has various musical acts on throughout the day. It is shady and cool and the perfect place to sample mead! (honey based wine – the world’s oldest beverage
- Witches Wood – where you can see spell making in practice
- The Learning Zone – which runs sessions through out the day on medieval cooking, crime and punishment and medieval fashion. Around the learning zone there are various exhibits set up. As you would expect information on all of the weaponry and clothing, but we also learnt about how they died their wools and fabrics and the medicines they used.
We didn’t stay all day as Monkey was flagging and it was very sunny on the day we visited. I would highly recommend if you are looking for something a bit different or if the kids are studying English history at school. We will definitely be visiting again next August.