Knights of Royal England’s Jousting Tournament at Blenheim Palace

Over the first May Bank Holiday weekend, we were invited to watch the Knights of Royal England’s Jousting Tournament at Blenheim Palace.

Blenheim Palace has been on my visit wish list for some time and it certainly did not disappoint.

Blenheim Palace is a stunning English country house situated in the civil parish of Blenheim near Woodstock, Oxfordshire most famous for being the birth place of Sir Winston Churchill.

It is now home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough and his family and has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site boasting a long and diverse history.

Blenheim Palace

We arrived for opening time on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far and we immediately impressed by what we saw.

Blenheim Palace Lake

After a couple of hours in the car, the kids were eager to stretch their legs so we followed the signs to the jousting tournament which led us around the outside of the palace, past stunning scenery and manicured gardens.

Blenheim Palace Gardens

We soon found what we were looking for – a huge authentic tiltyard (where the jousting takes place) on the South lawn, royal box and authentic tents.

Tiltyard

Around the tiltyard were lots of stalls selling memorabilia, food, drink and we even got to meet a baby dragon.

Baby Dragon

There were also falconry, archery and hand to hand combat displays to keep everyone entertained.

Owl Blenheim Palace

We started the day with a fabulous falconry display featuring owls and peregrine falcons and other impressive birds of prey in a brilliant show complete with some audience participation.

Birds of Prey

Of course the biggest cheer of the day was reserved for the King and his Knights when they entered the Tiltyard.

King at Blenheim Palace

The Tiltyard was divided up into two teams, the red English team and the blue French team – we were on the blue side.

Knight

Henry VIII’, who refereed proceedings from his throne inside the arena, promised ‘more violence, more blood and more overacting than an episode of Hollyoaks’ and his first job was to recruit some more soldiers to his army, with almost every child from the audience heading into the Tiltyard to be kitted out and parade before the king.

Army Recruits

It was then time to start recreating the glorious jousting matches of Britain’s past, with the knights in their shining armour taking to the field on their noble steeds in a momentous display of bravery and skill beneath the spectacular backdrop of Blenheim Palace.

BLENHEIM Jousting Knights JL 30

The Knights, from the Knights of Royal England, and horses were costumed with chainmail and steel armour for the period 1200-1250.

Jousting Knights

There were about 20 participants all dressed to assume their part in the authentic and thrilling re-creation of a jousting tournament with the knights performing a series of challenges, including using 14-foot-long lances and riding at full gallop.

Knights Blenheim Palace

The kids were in awe as they sat and watched the Knights in action with the sound of the thunder of hooves and the clash of lances on shields as they did battle.

Jousting

As well as jousting, there was also hand to hand combat.

Hand to Hand combat

The Blenheim Estate is no stranger to genuine jousting tournaments. In 1389 John, Earl of Pembroke, was killed in a jousting accident while a Christmas guest at the old Woodstock royal palace, but don’t worry, today was just a bit of fun with lots of over-acting and fun jokes as they fought.

Combat Blenheim Palace

One of the poor young knights was even punished for not doing his job properly and was dragged around the arena behind a galloping horse.

Jousting Blenheim

Watching the jousting was great fun and the Knights showed some very impressive horsemanship as well as their jousting skills.

Jousting South Lawn

The tournament lasted for around an hour and resulted in the Blue team being victorious on this occasion, much to the red teams annoyance.

Red team Jousting

The last act of the show was a final parade around the Tiltyard by all the actors that took part in the Jousting Tournament, to rapturous applause from the spectators.

Jousting winner

Once the show had finished we headed over to see the baby dragons again and got the chance to join the Dragon Procession. Hatched from a small dragon sanctuary in the Welsh Marshes, these delightful creatures are very friendly and well-mannered, although a dragon is never entirely predictable…

Dragon

There was also an archery display to watch as well as ‘have-a-go’ sessions to join in with.

Arrows

A visit to Blenheim Palace is a lovely day out for the family and we had so much fun in the grounds that we ran out of time to explore the house, so I would love to go back and visit again.

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace run different events throughout the year. Head to their events page to find out more.

A family ticket to visit the Palace and the gardens costs £62.50 and you can purchase a cheaper ticket to visit just the park and gardens only if you prefer for £43.

Jousting at Blenheim Palace from Blenheim Palace on Vimeo.

19 thoughts on “Knights of Royal England’s Jousting Tournament at Blenheim Palace

  1. This is the sort of event my two would absolutely love. There was actually something like it at nearby Bolsover Castle yesterday, but I didn’t find out about it until it was almost over 🙁

    Louise x

  2. I’ve always wanted to go to Blenheim Palace, it has such gorgeous views and surroundings. This sounds like a great day, I’m quite intrigued by the idea of taking part in a medieval day it looks like a lot of fun

  3. Blenheim Palace looks like a magnificent place to visit and how lovely that the sun was out for you and you got to see the knights jousting 🙂

  4. Blenheim Palace looks stunning! One for my UK travel wish list i think. What a great day out. I’d love to have a go at the archery.

  5. This is the sort of thing my kids would adore. From the falconry to the jousting. Looks like a wonderful day out and I will have to see if there is anything similar locally.

  6. The grounds are stunning and this is so fun. It would be like going back in time! Definitely adding the video to my watch later list. X

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