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Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire

Gallop, gallop, gallop! Explore the special bond between knight and steed with a chivalric day out

Posted: 25 July 2011
by Helen McKay-Ferguson

Battle, bloodshed and boiling oil? You might associate castles with guts and gore, but it’s been a long time since this fairytale fortress has seen any real fighting. Its medieval ruins were transformed by the Peverel family into a palace for pleasure, which was further developed in the early 17th century by wealthy landowner Sir Charles Cavendish and his fun-loving successor Sir William.

Star attractions
The Little Castle, a joint endeavour by Knights Cavendish, is home to lavishly decorated staterooms, with coloured murals and elaborate plasterwork. The castle’s magnificent Riding House, with its indoor sandy arena, is the finest surviving building of its type in England.

Family X-Factor The new hands-on Discovery Centre and interactive exhibition are full of delightful diversions. Children dress as a Cavalier, mount a wooden steed and try out a replica manège saddle and enter a scale model of the Little Castle (a castle within the castle) to sit down as special guests at an extravagant
Cavendish-style banquet.

Not many people know this, but… Keen equestrian Sir Willliam Cavendish was a pioneer of dressage and created a special manège saddle to help riders perfect poker-straight poise and posture.

Don’t forget to pack… Your knights and princesses costumes for fairytale frolicking in the castle’s green and pleasant grounds.

Special events

Time Travellers Go…Heroes & Villains
August 1–5
Train to be a fearsome highwayman with a musket drill, ambush and a trail to find the hidden highwayman stash. Also listen to the myths and legends surrounding notorious rogues.

Time Travellers Go… Gruesome
August 8–11  
Take a journey into the horrors of medieval disease, terrifying surgery and ghastly punishments from days gone by.
Time Travellers Go… Cavaliers & Roundheads
August 15–19
Pikes at the ready! Join Oliver Cromwell's army and discover what it took to be a soldier of the English Civil War.
Time Travellers Go… Crime and Punishment
August 22–26
Give that toy sword a whirl and head back in time for activities on a medieval theme. Become a noble lord in squire training, learn about etiquette, try on armour and take part in a children's battle.

Clash Of The Knights – Battling Barons
August 28–29
Swords will be swishing for the over the Bank Holiday weekend. Children can take part in a mini battle and hobbyhorse joust of their own. A medieval executioner, herbalist and spicer will also be roving the grounds.

Cost £7.80 (adults), £7 (concessions), £4.70 (children), £20.30 (family).

Bolsover Castle, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Derbyshire S44 6PR.

Also in the area Hardwick Hall (National Trust) and Hardwick Old Hall (English Heritage), former homes of Bess of Hardwick.

Discover more great Summer Events for the North.

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days out, bolsover castle, family, holidays, events, activities, north, derbyshire, english heritage

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