There was a time when life was harsh and dangerous, when the cry of battle was a familiar sound. Step back in time this summer at a history festival, where you can watch battle re-enactments, explore living history villages, try your hand at blacksmithing and even attend sword school! Whether you're watching a Sealed Knot re-enactment from behind a rope, or getting dressed up to join an immersive medieval family festival, you might just find your tribe at a historical event this year.

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Britain's best historical re-enactments and events in 2022

The Celts are Coming, The Scottish Crannog Centre, Perthshire 29 Jul – 1 August

Witness traditional Celtic crafts and partake in an Iron Age Olympics at The Scottish Crannog Centre, Perthshire/ Credit: Scottish Crannog Centre
Join prehistory experts as they delve into the lives of the Celts over two action-packed days of stone carving, blacksmithing, metalworking, wood turning, spoon carving, creating beautiful natural dyes and coloured thread. Taste some prehistoric cooking while you're at it!

More at crannog.co.uk/

Loxwood Joust immersive medieval festival, West Sussex, 6-7 and 13-14 August

Night on horseback and jousting staff coming towards camera
Loxwood Joust festival/Credit: Loxwood Joust

This excellent medieval-style festival is the UK's only immersive family festival where you get to be part of the storyline. Hire your costumes at the door, or come in civvies and be treated to some very convincing live jousting, a large-scale battle re-enactment, workshops including blacksmithing and copper bowl making – and a host of actors to steer you through the day's events as they unfold. With music from Mediaeval Baebes and Trobar de Mort.

More at loxwoodjoust.co.uk/

Clash of the Romans, Chesters Roman Fort, Northumberland, 20-21 August

The ruined Roman fort at Chesters, Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland/Credit: Getty Images

Witness Roman soldiers throw themselves into battle as they engage with their foes using their sword fighting, archery and spear-throwing skills. Explore the living history camp to get a taste of life as a Roman soldier in the empire. Little legionaries will get the chance to try on a soldier’s armour and join in with battle drills.

More at english-heritage.org.uk/visit/whats-on/chesters-roman-fort-clash-of-romans-20-21-aug-2022/

Bosworth Medieval Festival, Bosworth 20-21 August

Richard III and Earl of Richmond at the Bosworth Battle/Credit: Getty Images

Relive the final battle in the 'War of the Roses' between the houses of Lancaster and York at this year's Bosworth Medieval Festival.

More at bosworthbattlefield.org.uk/bosworth-medieval-festival-2022/

Christopher Somerville in the countryfile podcast

The Battle of Edgehill, Warks, 28-29 August

People in civilian medieval dress banging drums with pikes int he background on a battlefield
The Battle of Edgehill 2019./Credit: Levitt Parkes

Re-enactment stalwarts the Sealed Knot will be bringing the Battle of Edgehill to life with a major battle of musket, pike, canon and cavalry. Shop the stalls for traditional accoutrements, food and drink before immersing your senses in the smell of gunpowder smoke, the crash of cannon fire, some impressive military drumming and lots of shouty banter between the Roundheads and the Cavaliers. A great day out.

More like this

More at thesealedknot.org.uk/event/the-battle-of-edgehill-3/

Largs Viking Festival, Largs 27 August-4 September

A Viking re-enactment in Largs begins with a torchlight procession just after sundown/Credit: Getty Images

Axe-throwing, fire procession, air displays, live entertainment and a bombastic opening parade – what more could you ask for in a full-blooded Viking Festival? At the re-enactment of the battle of Largs, you can spend a few days exploring a 13th-century Viking village and find out from the characters living there what everyday life was like. There's a Viking skirmish, and a full-scale staging of the final mainland battle between the Scots and the Norse in 1263.

More at largsvikingfestival.co.uk

Gloucester History Festival, Gloucestershire 3-18 September

The cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral/Credit: Getty Images
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Presided over by the brilliant archaeologist and historian Janina Ramirez, this year's Gloucester history Festival includes talks by Alice Roberts, Michael Wood, and Ramirez herself – who will be discussing her latest book, Femina – a retelling of the medieval period through the eyes of the women. There are a whole host of events taking place for individuals and families – it's a must for history fans across the UK.

More at gloucesterhistoryfestival.co.uk/september-2022/

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