One of the flagship events to celebrate MK50 is set to make history itself – by delivering Milton Keynes’ biggest ever historical re-enactment!
The weekend (June 17 and 18), Campbell Park will be transformed from its usual tranquil green space into a place lively with clashes, battles, and even Royalty.
A huge and colourful programme will bring all the sights and sounds, and some of the smells from times past, into the present.
The Festival of History is being organised by the Heritage MK Partners – Milton Keynes Museum, Bletchley Park, City Discovery Centre, Cowper and Newton Museum and the Living Archive – in partnership with The Parks Trust and Milton Keynes Council.
Collectively, they will bring 2000 years of history to life.
Cannons will explode in the air, swords will be clashed at the joust, while up above, a fabulous Battle of Britain Memorial Flypast will prove a crowd-pleaser; On Saturday, eyes will turn to the skies for a flypast by a Dakota, while on Sunday, the drone of a Spitfire will sound.
Visitors will truly be able to engage with the action too – Living history encampments from all ages will give you a ring side seat for demonstrations, and you’ll be able to join in gaming, cooking, butter and bread-making and printing, mixing paints, leatherwork and carpentry, weapons making, spinning, dyeing and weaving.
Or maybe you fancy yourself as a healing kind? Visit the apothecaries and surgeons and discover how some of our common ailments were treated centuries ago...
The Romans are coming – and a fierce skirmish from their invasion in the first century will play out, and you will be able to join the Vikings for combat and training exercises!
Try Medieval archery, spear and axe throwing, and even partake in a catapult attack, before you experience the dramatic sights and sounds of the English Civil War, which turned neighbour against neighbour.
Live through the War of the Roses with longbow, crossbow and hand to hand combat, before taking the controls of a Spitfire, by sitting in a replica cockpit of flying ace Johnie Johnson’s plane.
Stand to attention for the splendid scarlet-coated Queen’s Regiment from the early 1700s for drills, before enjoying a little leisure time by learning how to dance at the court of Queen Elizabeth I, with the delicate accompaniment of a Tudor drum and bagpipe.
Queen Victoria will be reviewing the troops and meeting her public too, so remember your manners!
The historical adventure runs between midday and 5pm daily, but swing by the historic marketplace and you’ll be able to conjure up a little history at your leisure – items for sale will include medieval toys and weapons, handcrafted knives and jewellery, metalware and pewter brass tools, fire baskets, spoons, costumes, Victoriana and much, much more.
Aside from pulling together this gargantuan festival of fun for the family entire, Heritage MK partners will offer additional interactive displays, heritage films from around Milton Keynes and may more activities.
On stage, storytelling (listen as one Stony Stratford innkeeper tells how the rightful King Edward V was captured under his roof, before being taken to The Tower of London), music and dance will engage.
When you feel peckish, pop to see one of the many traders on site – from ice cream to wood-fire pizza, you’ll have a tempting choice of snacks and refreshments to boost your energy levels.
The Festival of History will bring the past to the present in a brilliantly accessible, colourful, creative weekend.
In fact, it’s so good that money can’t buy it – admission is FREE.