On Saturday (8th April) myself and Kye took a short train ride into the City of Canterbury.
As someone who is in the city each week for press nights at the Marlowe Theatre, I know the town well-but I’m ashamed to say I’ve never taken Kye to The Canterbury Tales. I went as a child with the school I attended-but in all honesty, could only remember snippets of that.
So when we got the opportunity to visit on Saturday, and have the additional pleasure of attending the Medieval activities in the Canterbury Tales Gardens, we jumped at the chance.
For those that haven’t visited this attraction before, or, like me, have visited so long ago that they’ve forgotten what it’s all about, here’s a little background information for you!
The Canterbury Tales, tell stories from Geoffrey Chaucer’s well known and loved tales from his book, of the same name, ‘The Canterbury Tales’.
Journeying back in time to discover Chaucer’s famous tales, you get to join a costumed character, recreating the pilgrimage from London to Canterbury.
Myself and Kye were then given hand held live audio guides, which differ if you have an adult’s one or a child’s one (the story is a little more “refined” for the little one’s ears).
The tour took around 40 minutes, all floors are level for easy access, and the next room you need to visit each time, lights up, making sure you don’t wander into the wrong place, when the costumed character leaves you with your audio guide.
The audio tours are available in multiple languages, and are narrated by famous voices, including Robert Powell and Prunella Scales!
Towards the end , you are joined by another costumed guide, who ends the tour at a reconstruction of the shrine of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral.
There is also a gift shop before you leave the attraction, with a variety of merchandise at a variety of prices.
The story is humorous; Kye found the whole tour hilarious, and had great fun pointing out each lit up character and their funny looks on the way round.
Following our tour, we walked around the building to the gardens to take part in the Medieval Story Telling event. We were met by a really lovely medieval guide, who firstly explained to Kye the activities he could take part in.
He began with Knight School, where he trained to be a knight. Kitted up with a shield and sword, our guide taught him how to strike and defend, culminating on him being knighted as “Sir Kye” at the end.
Following Knight School, he tried his hand at a little Herbology. I, the patient, had to choose my medieval ailment from a basket, and Kye’s job was to find the correct herbs from the herb garden.
He had great fun reading out the various herb names, and eradicated my ‘Inability to Sleep’ with his Valerian and Chamomile herbal cures.
Finally we made our way to the Story Tent, where our guide read him ‘Tales of Beadle of the Bard’ (Harry Potter fans will know this one well), and two other (less serious) stories.
There was also May Pole Dancing on offer, but Kye wasn’t keen on that idea, and, after the best part of an hour spent in the Medieval Garden, we thanked our guide (who was pretty awesome actually), and made our way out.
Kye couldn’t stop talking about the great time he’d had, the whole way home. His favourite part was the Knight School (obviously).
When something like this attraction, with its educational and fun elements, is right on your doorstep, there really isn’t any reason not to give it a go!
Prices are affordable too-at only £9.95 for adults, £7.95 for children (aged 5-15), and £8.95 for concessions.
The Medieval Story Telling event, is still running, until this Friday (14th April) and is open from 11am-3pm each day.
If you can’t make this event, there will be a Mystical Beasts themed Medieval Story Garden on the 1st May (2017), and to coincide with the next half term, a Magical Patterns themed Event between Saturday 27th May and Sunday 4th June (again between 11am-3pm each day.
More information on these events and the Canterbury Tales tour, including opening times and how to find the attraction are available over at http://www.canterburytales.org.uk.
I was given free entry for myself and my son in exchange for an honest review. Any thoughts and opinions are those of my own.