UK ‘fantasy market’ with fire ceremony, medieval village and archery opens

Plenty of Brits love their favourite fantasy and sci-fi novels, films and TV shows from Star Wars to Game of Thrones.

And, this weekend a festival surrounding all things fantasy is opening for guests to get stuck in.

Imagine a renaissance fair, but add in the mystical, witches, Stormtroopers and fantasy warriors parading the grounds of a castle.

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Sounds pretty cool right?

Fantasy Forest, the popular family-friendly festival, returns to Sudeley Castle on 16 and 17 July 2022 for a weekend packed full of lively entertainment, unique experiences, fantastic food and drink, and much more.

It’s even home to Britain’s biggest fantasy market filled with all kinds of merchandise, handmade objects, crystals, leather goods and art.

As well as delicious fantasy food of course…

Here’s 11 reasons why you should visit this magical festival:

Meet your favourite superheroes and sci-fi characters

Step into a world of wonder and meet iconic sci-fi, fantasy and superhero characters from Star Wars and Lord of the Rings to Game of Thrones and Doctor Who.

The Gloucestershire Troopers, Iconic Legends and 15th Cyber Legion will be dressed in their finest screen accurate costumes while roaming the stunning castle grounds.

Shop at the UK’s biggest Fantasy Market

Browse the UK’s largest fantasy marketplace and discover lots of unique and handmade items.

Featuring over 100 stalls of clothing, jewellery, leather goods, handmade gifts, sculptures, games, ceramics, art, food, accessories and more!

The spectacular Wicker Fire Ceremony

A highlight of Saturday evening will be the Wicker Fire Ceremony, in which a huge wicker structure is set into flames.

This year’s theme is the wolf and visitors can watch in awe as a giant wicker wolf structure sets the evening alight. It’s an experience you won’t forget!

Music from your favourite films performed live

Listen to music from your favourite films, games and TV shows like you’ve never heard it before at a live, open-air concert by the 70 skilled musicians from The Film Orchestra on Sunday 17 July.

Set against the backdrop of the magnificent Sudeley Castle, this two-hour concert is guaranteed to be a highlight of the festival, and is included in the price of the festival’s day or weekend ticket.

Expect to hear music from Harry Potter, Star Wars, Games of Thrones, World of Warcraft and many more.

Watch the popular costume competition

Although dressing in costume is by no means a mandatory part of Fantasy Forest Festival, some visitors enjoy the opportunity to participate in the Costume Competition, which features an impressive variety of costumes, from lovingly handmade to screen accurate.

Entry into the competition is optional and free of charge, as is spectating. For those feeling inspired, there are costume making workshops where you can hone your skills ready for next year’s competition.

Enjoy a fun day out for the whole family

Fantasy Forest is a family-friendly festival, and you can even bring your four-legged friends as long as they remain on a lead and owners clean up after them.

Little ones will be in their element with face painting, lively Enchanted Theatre entertainers, spotting a variety of costumed performers and stilt walkers roaming the grounds, and even the chance to learn how to battle with a lightsaber.

There are a wide range of activities and workshops providing entertainment for all ages, from wand-making to fire-lighting, plus plenty of space to play and explore the beautiful castle grounds.

Children aged 7 and under are free of charge, while tickets for children aged 8 – 15 start from just £9.99 for a day ticket, or £19.95 for a weekend ticket.

Explore the Steam Nation

Visit the ‘Steam Nation’ celebrating the wonderful, increasingly popular genre of Steampunk.

Enjoy live entertainment from artists including the award-winning hip hop maestro Professor Elemental, gaze at a spectacular four-metre-high steampunk airship and trike, or challenge your opponent to a tea duel.

This fun game involves dunking a biscuit into a cup of hot tea, and then eating the biscuit before it dissolves, or your opponent eats theirs first!

Marvel at the bodypainters

Marvel at the astonishing skill displayed by expert bodypainting artists, including Raphaelle Fieldhouse, a twice world bodypainting champion (2004, 2006) from Wales, and Nick Wolfe, a twice world bodypainting champion (2009, 2018) from the USA.

Nick, who started his career in the prosthetics department at Universal Studios, Florida, has an international reputation for his astounding skill.

Have a go at a wide range of fun and interesting activities

Visitors can try their hand at a diverse range of craft and skills workshops and activities, with something on offer for all ages, including wand-making, juggling, archery, dance and movement, axe throwing and Japanese sword fighting. You can even hone your skills to become a master Jedi!

Explore the medieval village

Where better to travel back in time than in the stunning grounds of the historic Sudeley Castle?

In Tudor times, Sudeley was one of the royals’ favourite castles and was chosen as the final resting place of Queen Katherine Parr.

Today it provides the perfect backdrop to explore the Medieval Village and discover the history of medieval weapons, admire the skill of expert blacksmiths or try your hand at archery or willow weaving.

Watch in awe as living history groups battle for the Official Fantasy Forest Cup dressed in medieval armour in the Full Contact Medieval Combat competition.

It's affordable

Fantasy Forest Festival offers visitors a unique day or weekend out at one of the Cotswold’s most popular family-friendly attractions, for an affordable price.

Day tickets start from just £18.95 for adults and £9.99 for children aged 8 – 15. Weekend tickets start from just £39.95 for adults and £19.95 for children aged 8 – 15.

Children aged 7 and under go free of charge. Ample free parking is available on site, and Sudeley Castle is located just a short drive from Cheltenham and the M5 motorway.

All activities, workshops, entertainment and live music (with the exception of archery) are included within the ticket price, offering great value for money.


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