Travel, UK
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Arundel Castle : A bank holiday siege.

I nearly stayed in bed today, tonsillitis has struck two days before we move house (timing….) but I had promised the boys weeks ago I would take them to Arundel Castle and D needed to pack some boxes.  The sun was shining and the boys were dressed in their knight fancy dress costumes, complete with swords (purchased at the jousting event last year).

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Baby S stayed at home with the mother in law and I had a rare day out with my older two.  We arrived just in time for the storyteller.   J had said en route that he really wanted to be part of the story.  The storyteller asked for hands up for baddies in his Robin Hood tale.  J was too shy to put his hand up and I looked like a pushy mum practically holding it up for him.  He was picked (phew) and was up on “stage” for the whole story.

A big deal for a 5 year old with around 100 people watching

A big deal for a 5 year old with around 100 people watching

This was his first experience of acting since his nativity in December and I could tell he was pretty nervous with everyone watching him.  The storytellers assistant was so lovely and kept and eye on him.  When it came to the battle of the baddies versus Robin Hood and the outlaws J came into his own.

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The shyness vanished when the battle began

I really wanted to visit the gardens as I watched highlights of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show last week and was pretty blown away by some of the featured gardens. I thought that the boys may complain but they found things in the gardens that adults don’t see and it was special to see it through their eyes.

I was busy being blown away by the Alium and the boys spotted two turtles in the water.

I was busy being blown away by the Allium and the boys spotted two turtles in the water.

There were lots of

There were lots of “secret” passageways in the gardens for the boys to run through

I am no gardener, give me a plant and it dies within a week but I love flowers and would have them in every room if they weren’t so expensive to buy.  Allium are one of my favourites and they were out everywhere looking stunning.

J got to try on a real knights hat and sword

J got to try on a real knights hat and sword

After the gardens we headed through the encampment where there were people dressed in traditional costume cooking and living as they would have done in medieval times.  BC (before children) had you asked me whether I had any interest in going to a siege on a Sunday morning the answer would have been a clear no.  Why?  I thought that these things were a little odd, I didn’t grasp the concept of everyone dressing up in full outfit and acting out days gone by.  Now as a mum to three boys if you asked me I would recommend it and see whether you failed to enjoy it. I learnt a lot, not only in the encampment but in the castle itself (no photos allowed inside) and then on the battlefield. The children were learning all day but because it was so much fun for them they didn’t realise how much they were taking in.

The French in battle with the English were booed so much

The French in battle with the English were booed so much

I said to the kind gentleman who whisked us down the hill from the battlefield to the car park that someone had missed a trick during this event.  Before the battle there was a gunnery display, (we went round the castle at this point as it was too loud for the kids) and  during the battle the cannons were booming.  This added to the authenticity of the battle but kids were standing around everywhere with their hands over their ears.  The entrepreneur in me was screaming out, money making spin right here ; ear defenders would have been perfect to sell or hire out for the show.  Anyway, little C just couldn’t cope with the noise of the guns (his ears are very sensitive at the moment with bad glue ear) and he was hiding under my jumper asking to go home as they were hurting so much.

We headed down to my favourite pub in Arundel, The Black Rabbit for a roast.  The roasts were sold out (I was much more disappointed than the boys) but they enjoyed fish and chips by the river while I had a rare half hour to read the paper… a glimpse into things getting easier as the kids get older. I don’t want to wish this time away though, its precious.

The playground at The Black Rabbit, stunning views.

The playground at The Black Rabbit, stunning views.

We received a family ticket for the purposes of this review.  All views are my own.

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