Our summer events programme is fully underway as we head into August. If you’ve never witnessed a joust or medieval tournament before, now is your chance. Our Knights Season is crammed full of unscripted medieval games, so you and your family can get into the sporting mood and cheer your champion to victory.
If you are looking for something a bit more gentle, we’ve also picked out our top summer gardens to visit, as well as selecting some of our finest tearooms so you can take a break after all that exploring.
Did you know?
- The Anglo-Saxons referred to the month of August as Weodmonath, which means Weed Month, or the time when weeds grow most abundantly. Better get the gardening gloves on!
- The month of August is named after Augustus Caesar who is considered to be the founder and the first emperor of the Roman Empire.
- The volcano Mount Vesuvius erupted on the 24th August in 79 A.D., destroying the city of Pompeii, Herculaneum and other settlements in Italy.
Upgrade your summer holidays
We’ve picked out something to do every day in August, including exciting events and great places to visit. Use our calendar to plan the best summer in history, from hands-on archaeology for the little ones, to an incredible showcase of over nine centuries of history as Dover Castle comes to life for the bank holiday weekend.
See a real medieval tournament
Our Medieval Knights Season has begun! Tournaments are taking place across the country this month, so don’t miss the chance to experience the thrill of the joust or the clash of steel as brave knights battle it out in hair-raising melee combat. Search for all of our Knights and Jousts events and find one near you.
We put a jousting knight through his paces at Bath University to showcase the strength and skill needed to take part in the sport of kings. We discovered that knights require a high level fitness and physical prowess on a par with professional footballers, tennis players and motor racing drivers. If that doesn’t convince you that our jousts are a spectacle not to be missed, take a look as Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Victoria Pendleton takes the reigns:
Explore a summer garden
Summer is the perfect time to take a walk through our historic gardens as sweet smelling roses, royal myrtle and freshly clipped topiary tell a sensory story from the past. You can even pack a picnic and feast among the flowers like our ancestors might have done. We’ve chosen our pick of the top gardens to visit this season, from the vibrant colours on show in the 1930s garden at Eltham Palace, to the newly upgraded lower terrace at Osborne complete with views across the landscape that are fit for a queen.
See the costumes from Dunkirk
Costumes worn by Kenneth Branagh, Harry Styles and Fionn Whitehead in the summer’s biggest blockbuster are on display at Dover Castle in August, in a UK exclusive. The pop-up display forms part of the permanent Operation Dynamo guided tour exhibition.
Take a break
Don’t forget to take a break from adventuring this month and head into one of our tearooms. Serving up soups made from produce grown in our kitchen gardens, cakes baked to historical recipes and as much locally sourced produce as possible, we’re proud of our cafés and tearooms. We know they are an important part of your visit so we’ve picked out some of our favourites for you to relax in.
Leave the car at home
Planning a day trip this summer doesn’t have to mean getting in the car. Many of our historic places can be visited by public transport, by bike, on foot – or a mixture. We’ve picked a selection of the most accessible historic places from across the country with instructions on how to reach them.
Events not to be missed this month
Knights and Jousts events, throughout August, nationwide
Hear the thunder of hooves and the clash of wood splintering on steel as part of our Medieval Knights Season this summer. See brave knights battling it out in real tournaments, displaying feats of strength and skill that could rival today’s top athletes.
Experience the spectacle for yourself at one of our grand medieval events across the country.
Roman Scarborough, Saturday 5 & Sunday 6 August, Scarborough Castle, North Yorkshire
March up to Scarborough Castle this weekend and prepare your charges to experience the most popular sport in Roman times – chariot racing. Your little Romans can have a go at becoming a mighty horse in one of our chariot races. Who will win the race and rule the castle Experience Roman life, witness cavalry demonstrations and watch fascinating displays of falconry.
Victorian Life, throughout August, Audley End House and Gardens, Essex
Transport yourself back in time this Autumn at Audley End. There’s a whole host of events taking place that allow you to experience what life was like above and below the stairs in Victorian England. Come face-to-face with Mrs Crocombe as she prepares a meal for the family. Bump into the stable-hand while they’re grooming the horses. You can even meet housekeeper Mrs Warwick and other members of staff as they organise the house for the day.
Find more events throughout August on our summer events calendar
Somewhere to visit in August
For over 600 years Dartmouth Castle has guarded the Dart Estuary and the busy, vibrant port of Dartmouth. This fascinating complex of defences was begun in 1388 by John Hawley, privateering Mayor of Dartmouth and the prototype of the flamboyant ‘Shipman’ in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. About a century later the townsmen added the imposing and well-preserved ‘gun tower’, probably the very first fortification in Britain purpose-built to mount ‘ship-sinking’ heavy cannon. #englishheritage #heritage #dartmouth #dartmouthcastle #castle #coast #sea #view #britain #uk #travel #history #conservation #englishheritagesites #charity