Family fun arrives this August Bank Holiday weekend with the Eastnor Knight’s Treasure Hunt !

Families will have to follow the magical clues in a bid to find the Knight’s Treasure. The famous Eastnor Knight’s will be on hand to help families solve the clues in order for them to be in with a chance of winning the fantastic prize of a ‘Knight’s Toy Chest’ containing swords, shields, helmets and knight’s toys. The prize winners will be decided each day in a King Arthur style contest, with the drawing of swords from a stone. The child who successfully draws the sword will be crowned the overall winner, but every participating child will receive a free gift of a model knight.

Adding to the medieval themed fun will be a Knight on horseback from the ‘ Knights of the Damned ‘.  Eastnor favourite Wizard Wonky will also be making an appearance along with a giant Stilt Walking Knight to keep children entertained throughout the day.

The Knight’s Treasure Hunt takes place on Sunday 28 th August and Bank Holiday Monday 29 th August between 11am and 5pm and is priced at £7 for Adults, £4 for children and £6 for senior citizens. Family tickets for 2 adults and 3 children are also available priced at £18. Prices include entry to the castle, grounds and the Knight’s Treasure Hunt.

Eastnor Castle, near Ledbury, is the first privately-owned house to join the new Anglo Sikh Heritage Trail and on Sunday 24th September, they will be celebrating their participation as part of the Anglo Sikh Heritage Week with spectacular displays of ‘Gatka’ martial arts at 12pm and 2pm in the castle grounds.

Eastnor is now part of this heritage trail because of its collection of North Indian armour and weaponry bought back from the Sikh war of 1848. The collection has recently been restored and cleaned and is now on public display for the first time.

“Eastnor Castle’s participation in Anglo Sikh Heritage Week will bring to life the remarkable history which represents its connection with Britain and the Sikhs. Arms from the Anglo Sikh Wars have lain in the castle for over a century, and on Sunday the Gatka troupe from Amritsar will re enact the very skills and traditions which surround their provenance.

In a sense history will truly be repeating itself against the stunning backdrop of the Castle” Harbinder Singh, Director of the Anglo Sikh Heritage Trail. Follow these two links for more information: 
The Art of Gatka
 ~ Anglo Sikh Heritage news page

The castle and grounds will be open from 11.00am to 4.30pm on 24th September and admission costs are £7.00 for adults, £6.00 for senior citizens and £4.00 for children. A family ticket admitting 2 adults and 3 children is £18.00. Grounds only tickets are also available.

A loved-up couple from Leeds tied the knot live on air this morning (Friday 29th August) after winning GMTV’s ‘Battle of the Brides’ series!

Caroline Clark, 24, and Daniel Duggan, 25 beat hundreds of hopefuls to win a once-in-a-lifetime dream wedding at the fairytale Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire.

The pair won the viewers’ vote after competing against two other final couples in a series of wedding related challenges last week. Student nurse Caroline, who proposed to Danny on the 29th February of this year, was overwhelmed at winning, saying; “I can’t believe we’re going to get married next week. Everyone’s been rallying round at home – we appreciate it so, so much.” Qualified paramedic Danny was lost for words at the news; “I’m speechless – that’s incredible” he said.

On their wedding day, Caroline wore a bespoke hand-fitted gown by the celebrity designer Caroline Castigliano, and had her own entourage of celebrity stylists including hairdresser to the stars Richard Ward and celebrity make-up artist Jemma Kidd.  What’s more, Caroline and Danny will feature in a celebrity lifestyle magazine before being whisked off to Jamaica for a luxury 5 star two-week honeymoon.

This week GMTV have been catching up with the lucky couple as they prepared for their big day.

Eastnor Castle has been chosen to host a celebrity style wedding for GMTV’s wedding of the year ‘Battle of the Brides’.  The GMTV wedding is the highlight of the summer schedule on GMTV.  Millions of viewers tune in to watch one lucky couple have the wedding of their dreams.  Over the month of August the brides will be battling it out with physical and mental challenges to get their fairytale wedding. (For further information visit www.gm.tv). 

The wedding ceremony will be broadcast live from the Gothic Drawing room at Eastnor Castle on Friday 29th August at 8.00am.  The wedding is going to be oozing with glamour with a stunning designer gown for the bride, a classy suit for the groom and an entourage of celebrity stylists.  The winning couple will be joined by 20 close friends and family and will enjoy a champagne wedding breakfast in the State Dining Room of the castle.  

Top TV celebrity, Davina McCall, was married at Eastnor Castle in June 2000.  Many other celebrities and royalty have visited or stayed at the castle. 

Eastnor Castle has recently been used as a 1940s period location in a soon to be aired TV factual documentary regarding the Queen’s engagement to Prince Phillip.

The programme filmed by Mentorn Productions is called the ‘The Queen’s Wedding’ and is set to be aired on Channel 4 on Thursday 29th November 2007 at 9:00pm.

Over 400 charity supporters took on the challenge of running 10k for Cancer Research UK at Eastnor Castle in September.  2 months on, the sponsorship money is still flooding in, and over £16,000 has been raised so far.

The great news is that there’s more money to come!  Cancer Research UK is now encouraging all those who took part to dig out their sponsor forms and send them back in to the charity.

90% of the UK population live within 30 miles of Cancer Research UK funded research.  The 10k run at Eastnor Castle hopes to raise over £23,000 to support this work –such as the study into advanced bowel cancer currently being carried out in Worcester.

Another successful year for the Summer Fun Days. We benefited (as did all of the visitors) from the absolutely glorious sunshine that shone on us for the whole three days. 

As you will see from the photograph gallery lots of fun was had by all with the theme of the Wizard of Oz culminating in the Children’s Theatre Performance on the Thursday evening. 

This event will be running again next year and we look forward to welcoming all our visitors back once again.

Are you aged between 11 and 16 years old? Do you need to fend off the boredom these Summer Holidays?

Are you adventurous and up for a challenge? If your answer is ‘Yes’ to all the above then this is for you…

3 days of non-stop activities including Abseiling, 270m zip wire, Survival skills, Building camp, Navigation, High ropes, Rafting, Bows and arrows.

For 2-10 year olds, our Summer Fun Days event also runs on these dates(weather provisions have been made with 75% of all activities under cover) and 9th August hosts The Wizard of Oz – a Children’s Theatre Performed by The Heartbreak Theatre Company.

Mud Runner 2010 firmly placed itself on the running calendar today with another awesome event at Eastnor Castle.  The sun was shining but it didn’t affect the seriously muddy conditions on the tracks.  The 10km off road run across the estate uses many of the driving tracks that Land Rover use to test their vehicles on, all of which provides a tough and challenging run as well as a ridiculous amount of thick deep mud and large troughs of muddy water! 

The atmosphere of the race was, as always, high spirited, sociable and fun!  There was double the number of entries this year with over 1000 runners as the event grows in popularity due to its distinctly challenging and slightly crazy terrain!  

The organisers, D3 Active, this year also built a giant steam bath (full of bubbles!) for the racers to de-mud themselves and warm up.  Greatly appreciated by many and adding the camaraderie and uniqueness of the event.

All three male winners and the female winner are local runners from Gloucester, Hereford, Oswestry and Bredon with the winning team yet again being the Ledbury Mud Monkeys.

Catherine Burdett and Stuart Bass who are from Malvern and both decided to run to raise money for MacMillan after Catherine’s Godparents both died of cancer earlier this year.

Catherine said “I had never taken part in any race before and absolutely hated parts of it.  The thick mud and waist deep ditches were exhausting.  I was delighted to have finished it and raise over £1,000 for Macmillan.” 

The winners this year were:
Men’s Open
Garry Hughes  00:52:13
Matt James    00:55:16
Peter Butler   00:56:30

Women’s Open
Chloe Felton  01:09:06
Elsa Knoertzer  01:17:06
Katie Phillips  01:17:47

Further results are available on the Mud Runner website. 
The next two Mud Runner events in the series are:
Icebreaker – Winter Duathlon – February 6th 2011
Mud Runner Oblivion – May 8th 2011

For more photos use this link
https://gallery.me.com/colinbaldwin#100602

Additional Quotes:

Matt James from Hereford said “The organisation of Mud Runner is what sets it apart and the atmosphere is brilliant.  It feels like you’re getting a three course meal not the normal two courses!”

Mud Runner, the 10km cross country run held at Eastnor Castle, is happening on Sunday 17th October and organisers are delighted by the increase in numbers (more than double last year’s with just under 1,000 runners) especially as so many are from the local running clubs.

It is a great race for all abilities to enjoy and uses the same tracks that Land Rovers have been tested and developed on.  Mudrunner is over a variety of terrain and conditions from rolling grassland (well a little bit anyway) to mud, wet mud and sticky mud.

The organisers guarantee at least two things that you’ll get very muddy and have a lot of fun.  The camaraderie and atmosphere makes it a great family day out and very spectator friendly.

There are still place available and details can be found on the website www.mudrunner.co.uk.

Sophie Blandford, who lives on the Eastnor Estate and has just joined Malvern Joggers is taking part.  “I ran Mud Runner OBLIVION in May, which was my first ever cross country, I absolutely loved it.  I am hoping to run with Malvern Joggers at a number of cross country’s this winter and this will be my first outing of the season”.

Steve Rooke, Clifford Berry and Barry Thompson from Ledbury Harriers are going for a triple win this year, having won Team Award at the last two Mud Runner races.  They say “we are hoping to get the triple and win the team prize again, however, with a field of nearly 1,000 we expect the competition to be much stronger and so we will have to work hard for it”.

Exciting outdoor challenges are being set up at Eastnor Castle, near Ledbury for families to enjoy on the Bank Holiday weekend – Sunday 30th and Monday 31st May.  This new event called ‘The BIG Eastnor Challenge’will be offering a variety of challenges from Mountain Boarding, Orienteering, Horse Riding and Mountain Biking.  One of the main challenges is the castle ZIP wire which is one of the longest in the country travelling from the top turret across the lake (an extra charge applies).  Eastnor Castle has donated the first zip wire slots of the day to Noah’s Ark Trust Worcester and Hereford, helping them to raise funds for their charity.

There will also be an opportunity to scale the specially constructed Castle Siege Ladders from the Lower Terrace to the Upper Terrace and try out Bush craft and Archery.  There will be family prizes awarded on each day for the family who complete the orienteering challenge in the fastest time and certificates will be awarded to each child who takes part.

David Littlewood Assistant General Manager says “This will be a great family day out for the Bank Holiday weekend with lots of exciting new activities for everyone to try – let’s hope the sun shines!

Animal lovers will be heading to Eastnor Castle, near Ledbury for the Bank Holiday Weekend on Sunday 2nd and Monday 3rd May.  This brand new event called ‘Animal Encounters’ will be showcasing a number of local attractions, such as Newbridge Farm Park, and bringing a selection of animals including donkeys, goats, chickens and miniature ponies.

KC Horse rescue from Hereford will be offering pony rides and there will be arena displays of gun dogs, ferret racing, sheep dog trials and duck herding on the Valley Lawn.  Back by popular demand will be the happy train offering rides around the grounds and face painters creating animal faces for the children.  Tropical Inc will also be bringing their hugely popular exotic animal show of snakes, skunks and creepy crawlies!

 The International Centre for Birds of Prey, Newent, will be putting on various spectacular flying displays throughout the day from the Lower Terrace overlooking the lake with a selection of their falcons and hawks.

Wayne and Julie Gardner from Newbridge Farm Park say “We have had a long association with Eastnor Castle and we are delighted to be bringing back a selection of our animals for the Bank Holiday Weekend event ‘Animal Encounters’ – we are looking forward to it”.

The Big Chill which is held at Eastnor Castle Deer Park every August has been sold to Festival Republic.  Festival Republic is responsible for a number of well known festivals including Glastonbury, Leeds and Reading Festival.

Chillfest, the company that owned The Big Chill have gone into administration and Katrina Larkin the co-founder of the festival has said “the festival had become so big and meant so much to a lot of people that we didn’t want it to go under, as many have, we felt the responsible thing to do was not to sell tickets but to look for a buyer to guarantee its future.”

Eastnor Castle is looking forward to working with Festival Republic and believes the festival will continue to go from strength to strength.

The Big Chill will take place at Eastnor Castle Deer Park from Thursday 5 to Sunday 8 August 2010.

Chapterhouse Theatre Company return to Eastnor Castle on Sunday 16th August with another wonderful open air children’s production ‘Cinderella’.

The story follows Louisa, Milky-White the cow, and all their friends who decide to act out their favourite fairytale ‘Cinderella’, one summer afternoon.  Full of magical pumpkins, perfect princes and the thrill of the ball, the children lose themselves in this sparkling tale of friendship, fun and fairy godmothers.  Come in fancy dress and join the characters for the excitement of the fairytale parade…

The lower terrace will provide the perfect setting overlooking the lake and is an excellent opportunity for a picnic with friends and family for this afternoon performance.

Fancy Dress parade during the interval – Performance 1hr 45mins.

Tickets are available on 01531 633160 – Adults £11.00, Children £7.00, Family (2+2) £30.00

Performance starts at 3.00pm (gates open at 2pm)

Eastnor will be bringing history to life with a Medieval Re-enactment event for the Bank Holiday weekend called ‘Armouritis’ on Sunday 24th and Bank Holiday Monday 25th Maybetween 11.00am – 4.30pm.

Eastnor’s famous collection of over 50 suits of armour is the second largest privately-owned collection in Britain.  Charles, 3rd Earl Somers of Eastnor, who collected the armour in the mid-nineteenth century was susceptible to what he jokingly called ‘armouritis’, an incurable disease that gave him an obsession for collecting armour! 

There will be an arms and armour display by ‘The Armoury’ during the weekend along with armour making demonstrations and a chance for people to wear it.  The grounds will come alive with a living history camp showing authentic life in medieval times.  The ‘Kynges Ordynaunce’, the most authentic artillery re-enactment group in Europe, will be giving a spectacular display on the valley lawn along with ‘The Hartley Household’ with military and firing canon displays.  There will be medieval music by ‘The Bubonic Wind Band’, cookery, pewter casting, light hearted talks and dancing around the grounds with plenty of opportunity for the public to ‘join in’.

Eastnor Castle will be represented by Andrea Fowkes Associates’ ‘Unique Stately Homes and Castles’ on Stand B763 at this year’s International CONFEX. 
An exciting new centre of adventure called ‘Outside’ will be launched at Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire in Spring 2007.  Organised by adventure training specialists D3 Management, Outside will offer local businesses exciting activities for individuals and teams to immerse themselves in the spirit of adventure.

From underground action to tree-top activities, lake based challenges to castle turret feats.  Outside’s adventure programmes can range from half day to two-day events.  They aim to provide businesses with the opportunity to develop critical work place skills using innovative and unconventional techniques.

Simon Foster, General Manager of Eastnor Castle commented: “Eastnor Castle is the perfect location for any adventure programme and will prove to be a special and memorable experience.  Our partners at D3- creators of the Land Rover G4 Challenge – have developed a fantastic package that should appeal to everyone with a sense of adventure.”

Simon Day of D3 commented:
“The beautiful and varied landscape of Eastnor Castle is ideal for Outside where we can offer activities that include the ultimate ‘zip line’ experience and high level rope courses.  The programmes will challenge individuals and teams both physically and mentally.  Come and play!”

Local’s needed for 150ft charity abseil at Eastnor Castle

An exhilarating abseil, sponsored by financial services organisation Foresters, will take place down the north-west tower of Eastnor Castle on Sunday 20th May to help raise funds for Acorns Children’s Hospice.

Participants will descend 150ft from the top of the tower, taking in the wonderful Herefordshire and Worcestershire views on their way to the beautiful gardens below.

Sophie James, Acorns Community Fundraiser, said: “I think we can offer the best views around at the Eastnor Abseil!” Individual and team entries are welcomed. There’s a minimum age of 12, and all under 18’s must be accompanied by an adult. Sophie continued: “It will be a lovely day out for family and friends of the abseil entrants. 

They can take advantage of reduced castle entry rates, some great walks, a lovely picnic area in the castle grounds and also enjoy a well-deserved cuppa in the Castle Tea rooms.” 

The Wyre Forest and Queenswood branches of Foresters are volunteering to help on the day and will host a big tombola stall. Foresters support almost 100 charities across the UK and are regular supporters of Acorns, helping to fund the valuable care services that Acorns gives free of charge to hundreds of life-limited children and their families across the county at its hospice in Worcester.

Robin and Joy Clarke from the Wyre Forest Branch of the Foresters added: “The Foresters are committed to helping local charities, and as Acorns is very close to our hearts we have been supporting the fantastic work they do for many years – in fact, since the first hospice was opened. We therefore jumped at the chance of being involved with the abseil! We’re thrilled to be able to support this event and urge members of the community and local businesses to sign up to the challenge. Let’s make this a wonderful day for Acorns!”

To register for the event, that will be managed by Midlands outdoor activity specialists The Ackers, contact Sophie James on tel: 01386 554848 or email: sophie.james@acorns.org.uk. Places are limited and closing date for entries is Friday 27th April.

Abseil for Acorns takes place at Eastnor Castle by kind permission of James Hervey-Bathurst and family (Castle owners).

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Services (H&WFRS) will be joining colleagues from other local emergency services this weekend at Eastnor Castle.

The event will take place between 11am and 4.30pm on Sunday 5th June.  Representatives from West Mercia Police, the Army, St Johns Ambulance, County Air Ambulance, Mercia Accident Rescue Service (MARS) and Severn Area Rescue Association will also be attending, setting up a series of displays for visitors to enjoy and learn more about the work the various agencies are called to respond to.

For its part, H&WFRS is planning a series of activities throughout the day including a rescue demonstration on the lake by the water rescue team and a display of the equipment and vehicles used by the Urban Search & Rescue (USAR) team, who are also hoping to bring along their rescue dog.

The Aerial Ladder Platform will also be displayed along with some of the 4×4 vehicles used by H&WFRS, including the new Defender 130 off-road firefighting vehicle.  The Community Fire Safety team will be taking along the smoke tent and will be on hand to offer general fire safety advice.

Watch Commander Nick Browning from H&WFRS said: “With the range of vehicles and equipment on display from both the Fire Service and the other emergency services, this promises to be a fun-filled family day and we hope lots of people will come along to the event to enjoy the activities on offer.”

Mud Runner Classic, the 10km off road run at Eastnor Castle, took place on Sunday 16th October and even in the current dry conditions the muddy swamps were numerous and very thick!

There was also a Junior race of 5 km for children aged 5-15 years which was a tough but fun course filled with challenging mud troughs and obstacles. 200 children took part this year and appeared to love every minute of it! 

The main race had a record number of entries and the atmosphere was fantastic with a large number of spectators to cheer the runners around the course. 

What inspired many of the runners was the amazing achievement of the first wheelchair competitor for Mud Runner.Rick Rodger’s, from South East London, is a disabled athlete who showed how a team of determined people and an off road wheelchair (The Mountain Trike) can overcome just about any obstacle!  

Rick described the day as a blur of adrenalin fuelled madness! Accompanied by the wheelchair designer Ed Elias and a team of his friends they put the Mountain Trike through its toughest test to date and it survived! Rick said that the highlight of the day was coming down the river bed with everyone cheering on the banks as the finish line came into view (finish time was 3:39:46). Ed is also looking for more people willing to compete in future Mud Runner events on the Mountain Trike. 

Men’s Results     Female Results

James Bingham – 55:46   Roz Viner        – 1:06:59
John Pullen      –  55:49   Niki Morgan   –  1:08:20 
Colin Brearly   –  57:54   Holly Blount    –  1:09:17

Junior Boys Results    Junior Girls Results
James Southall      – 19:43   Sophie Beckingham  – 23:12
Joshua Matthews –  20:07   Hattie Barnett          –  24:44
Jacob Payne         –  21:44   Briony Bishop           –  25:38

For further information: www.mudrunner.co.uk

Land Rover is celebrating 50 years of using the Eastnor Castle estate in Herefordshire as its centre for off road testing and development. Tucked away in rural Herefordshire, this historic piece of English countryside is still an important tool in the research and development of new Land Rovers as well as offering a completely unique Land Rover driving experience to members of the public.

In 1961, Land Rover first chose the 5000 acre Eastnor Castle estate located near Ledbury, Herefordshire to assess the off-road credentials of their vehicles. Half a century on, the tradition continues, with Eastnor playing a pivotal role in the research and development of Land Rover’s outstanding all-round capability and class-leading off road performance. 

As well as the cars themselves, Eastnor has been instrumental in developing an impressive collection of Land Rover technologies; such as Anti-lock Brakes, Adjustable Air Suspension, Electronic Traction Control, Hill Descent Control and Terrain Response® – many of which were world firsts in the 4×4 sector. 

The tradition of testing all Land Rover models at Eastnor continues to this day.  The Range Rover Evoque was the most recent model to complete its off-road apprenticeship and a large part of the Evoque’s technology, including MagneRide™, was proven on the estate, where ride dampers were tested extensively. 

Terrain Response® offers drivers optimal vehicle set-up (electronic and mechanical), and performance, under a variety of off-road conditions.

Whether driving in mud, ruts, rocks, sand, grass, gravel or snow, Terrain Response® has the appropriate setting, and will optimise ride height, engine torque Response®, Hill Decent Control, Electronic Traction Control and transmission settings, ensuring a safe and controlled passage across any terrain. The Eastnor estate provides the ultimate test for all these conditions and is instrumental in the continuing development of this technology.

Eastnor has been used as not only an ideal off-road engineering ground, but since 1989, as an off-road learning centre for the emergency services, explorers, humanitarian societies such as the British Red Cross and, more recently, the general public. 

Customers and fans of the brand can now book drive experience days to hone their on and off-road driving skills with tuition from a team of highly qualified Land Rover Experience instructors. Eastnor is one of over 30 centres around the world, and hosts over five and a half thousand visitors every year participating in half or full days, beginner and intermediate training as well as exciting night drives. Over a third of these visitors have travelled from overseas, keen to experience Land Rover in its heartland.

Bargain Hunt was screened on Monday 16th January, forward to 22.05mins to see Bargain Hunt at Eastnor Castle.

The much loved family treasure hunt here at Eastnor will be taking place over the Easter weekend every day between Good Friday 6th April and Bank Holiday Monday 9th April between 11am and 4.30pm.

This year the event will have an ‘Olympic theme’ and families can take part in a clue trail around the castle and grounds, where they will have to hunt the Eastnor chickens and bunnies taking part in various Olympic sports.  You may see a chicken playing table tennis or a bunny sailing in the beautiful castle grounds!

“This is our favourite weekend of the year where local families come to Eastnor Castle to enjoy the treasure hunt and this year we are celebrating our 200th anniversary with an Olympic theme!  This season we also have an exciting new addition to our Adventure Playground: a Burma Bridge Tree Top Walkway!”

Every child taking part in the Olymp-egg Easter Treasure Hunt will win a chocolate treat and there will be a draw at the end of each day when one lucky family will win a giant chocolate egg in a basket!

Plans are now well underway for our exciting new Chilli Festival here at Eastnor Castle, which will be taking place in the beautiful castle grounds on Sunday 6th and Bank Holiday Monday 7th May.

Over 40 exhibitors will be showcasing their products over the weekend in the Castle Courtyard Chilli Market and visitors will be able to try and buy an amazing range of curry sauces and pastes, pickles and jams, chilli chocolate, cheese and vodka, as well as hot chilli plants which you can plant and grow yourself. In addition, there will be a number of specialist hot food suppliers selling authentic curries and other spicy food.

David Littlewood, General Manager for the Castle said “We are really excited about our brand new Eastnor Chilli Festival. We are particularly pleased to welcome a number of local Herefordshire exhibitors, including chilli chocolates from The Velvet Bean in Ledbury, chilli vodka from Monkhide Wines in Canon Pyon and special spice mixes from Ambalama Spices in Hereford. Also, The Wiltshire Chilli Farm have made a limited edition Eastnor Castle Chilli Sauce to celebrate the event”.

Local renowned Indian curry expert, Rayeesa, from Mordiford, will also provide regular cookery demonstrations throughout the weekend and in line with the spicy theme, there will be live entertainment from local Mexican band – Los Squideros. Children can take part in a specially designed Chilli Trail and will be entertained by the Eastnor Stilt Walker and Fire Juggler.

The first Eastnor Chilli Festival was a great success and record crowds enjoyed trying and buying from an amazing range of chilli-related products.  There was also cookery demonstrations from local Indian cookery expert, Rayeesa, live music from Los Squideros belting out ‘Burning ring of fire’ and fun and live entertainment for the children.

The exceptionally wet weather leading upto the event, meant that normal car parking arrangements had to be re-organised for the bank holiday weekend.  The existing car parks were flooded and so alternative parking was arranged at the last minute in the Deer Park and a temporary ticket selling point created at the front gates of the Castle.  

We were overwhelmed on Sunday 6th May the first day of the festival with over 3000 visitors, this was helped by the good weather!  Unfortunately for some this created delays for visitors getting into the grounds and we struggled to cope with the temporary ticket machines having been relocated.  We would like to apologise to those who experienced this and would like to assure that next year we will be more prepared and do everything possible to minimise the inconvenience in the future!

On the whole we are delighted that the response from visitors and exhibitors to this event has been exceptionally good and would like to return to Eastnor in May 2013.  We are therefore planning to repeat the event next year with an even bigger, better and hopefully drier Chilli Festival.

On Saturday 28th July, just under 7,000 Status Quo fans danced the night away in the Eastnor Castle Deer Park.  Fans came from far and wide to listen to classic hits like ‘Rockin all over the world’ and ‘Down Down’ performed by the legendary band.

Quo were supported by 10cc who were also a huge hit and got people dancing early on.  The weather did its best to help the night go well and it meant people could relax in the early evening sun and enjoy their elaborate picnics.  

Hundreds of people decided to take advantage of the recent good weather and camped in the Deer Park. The campsite was full, with some arriving before 8.30 in the morning to soak up the atmosphere during the buildup to the concert.

Due to the huge success and the amount of people trying to get into the concert, especially between 6pm and 7pm there were some issues with traffic around Ledbury, and also trying to get onto site.

David Littlewood, General Manager of Eastnor Castle said “Unfortunately there was queuing traffic to get into the event, and we are very sorry for this.  However the organiser of the concert opened an additional entrance gate, which soon got the traffic moving.  Due to the recent bad weather, some areas of the park were unusable, which meant we had to put in place temporary car parking arrangements.  We were determined, however, that the concert should still go ahead and the overwhelming majority of people had a great evening. We have had lots of positive comments about the night.”

Keep an eye on our website for future events as we hope to be hosting another concert in the Deer Park during 2013.

The second  Chilli Festival at Eastnor Castle, near Ledbury, took place this Bank Holiday Weekend and was a huge success.  The predicted warm weather didn’t disappoint and neither did the crowds with a record number of visitors.

As visitors arrived they were greeted by the sound of the Pantasy Steel Band before entering the castle courtyard which was packed with over 40 exhibitors selling all things ‘Chilli’.  Exhibitors included many from Herefordshire as well as from further afield.

Children were also entertained with our Chilli treasure hunt, the Easy Peasy Cookery Theatre and the much loved Eastnor Stilt Walker and Fire Juggler.

Our cookery theatre had more demonstrations this year with Rayeesa from Mordiford, Our Lizzy from Malvern and Marina Ibrahim cooking Egyptian Mezze.

David Littlewood, General Manager at Eastnor Castle said “This was our 2nd Chilli Festival and we managed to attract twice as many visitors as last year.  There was a wonderful, relaxed atmosphere with people enjoying the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of all things chilli.  The chilli eating competition was certainly the highlight of the weekend for many and our very own head gardener Nick Robinson came 3rdin the competition on Monday.  I think he regretted it on his return to work on Tuesday though!  There is even a video of the competition on the Eastnor Castle Facebook page.  We are already planning next year’s event which will be on Sunday 4th and Monday 5th May which we hope will be even more successful than this year.  We have had great feedback from the public so far”.

The much loved CBeebies character ‘Mike the Knight’ will be making an appearance at Eastnor Castle, near Ledbury on Sunday 7th July.  

Come along and meet and greet ‘Mike the Knight’ who will be making personal appearances at intervals throughout the day in the castle courtyard.  Bring your cameras for a photo opportunity with your little ones.  

David Littlewood, General Manager at Eastnor Castle said “This should be a really exciting day for any young Mike the Knight fan as they will get to see him in person in the castle courtyard”.

The usual castle attractions will also be open, including the Knight’s Maze, Burma Bridge Tree Top Walk Way and Adventure Playground, Tearoom, Gift Shop and Ice Cream Parlour.

The event will be open from 11am to 4.30pm and general admission prices are Adults: £9.50, Seniors: £8.50, Children: £6 and a Family Ticket (2+3) is priced at £25.

A renowned local artist has donated a large and magnificent mural to Acorns Children’s Hospice which now hangs in the charity’s hospice in Worcester.

Polly Alakja’s 32-foot long mural, depicting a sunny beach by a bright blue sea, runs along an entire wall of the hospice’s hydrotherapy pool room.

Polly, who often takes time out of her career to engage in community art projects, made the mural over four days with the help of more than 60 children at the Hooked On Books Festival at Eastnor Castle in August. The local artist was commissioned by Eastnor Castle, which kindly funded the painting to then be donated to Acorns.

“Acorns are a great local cause, providing palliative care to life limited and life threatened children all across the region. It’s fantastic that the mural was donated to them,” said Polly.

 “It was great fun making it. The kids at the festival were really enthusiastic and they all made a big creative contribution, stencilling in the sea and the beach and adding lots of fantastic marine animals.

 “I’m proud to see it now displayed at Acorns’ hospice in Worcester. Hopefully the children here will enjoy it while they’re having fun splashing about in the pool.”

Hydrotherapy is a relaxing and therapeutic experience for a child. The warm water helps ease stiff muscles and joints, reduces pain and offers an otherwise impossible sense of freedom and movement.

To run and maintain the hydrotherapy pool services at the hospice in Worcester costs £3,000 for one year.

Hazel Godwin, deputy head nurse at Acorns in Worcester, said: “We’re very grateful for Polly’s kind donation of this brilliant mural. It’s such a lovely, sunny piece of art. It really brightens up the room. I’m sure the children will enjoy it for many years to come.

“Acorns receives less than 30% of its overall income from statutory funding. We heavily rely on donations and fundraising by local communities to be able to continue providing care services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

To find out more about Acorns, visit www.acorns.org.uk

Eastnor Castle, the stunning 19 th century fairytale castle near Ledbury in Herefordshire, is fixing a Birthday Surprise for a local man from Hereford. This has been arranged by his wife who wrote to the owner, Mr James Hervey-Bathurst to ask if it would be possible for her husband to wear a suit of Armour on his special day. 

Mr Howland is a keen historian and passionate about armour! “Making this happen for him would be a dream come true and a treasured memory” says his wife “and I cannot wait to see his face when we drive up to Eastnor Castle where he will be met with his birthday surprise on Wednesday 13 th July! 

The Castle contains 50 suits of armour and is one of the largest and finest privately-owned collections in Britain. Charles, the 3rd Earl Somers who collected the armour in the nineteenth century was susceptible to what he jokingly called ‘armouritis’, a nasty and possible incurable disease that gave him an obsession for armour. 

In the 1870s he bought half of the famous Meyrick Collection of medieval armour from Goodrich Court, near Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire. Most of the collection is French and German and he rightly judged it appropriate to adorn the walls of his castle with armour to complement its architecture and decoration. 

If you too are mad about armour, there will be a special interest day on Sunday 31 July at Eastnor Castle on Arms and Armour. David Edge, Head of Conservation for Arms and Armour at The Wallace Collection, will be offering fascinating talks and tours throughout the day. 

Norton Armoury, run by David Cubbage, is also based on the Eastnor estate in one of the converted farm buildings in the village and makes modern replica armour for collectors and film productions. Recent work includes armour for Gladiator, Alexander and Troy.

Eastnor Castle Hosts a Unique Theatrical Performance in the Open Air

On Friday 8th July 2005 , Eastnor Castle, near Ledbury, will host for the first time a performance of Macbeth, Shakespeare’s most exciting and powerful tragedy. Performed by The Lord Chamberlain’s men, in true Shakespearean style, with an all-male cast this will be the must-see theatrical event of the summer.

Macbeth is Shakespeare’s ultimate thriller: a play about murder, power and corruption. A young military man has ambitions of leadership, and spurred on by his determined wife is driven to extreme means to get to the top. Named after Shakespeare’s own theatrical troupe, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men attempt to recreate the world of Shakespearean theatre as accuratelyas possible. The production will include historically relevant costume, music, dance and stage-fight, to fire the imaginations of young and old alike. And if you arrive early, you will even be able to see the actors applying their make-up, and getting into costume, or listen to our wandering minstrels.

Macbeth will be performed in the beautiful setting of the Castle terraces, overlooking the lake, and the audience is invited to bring a picnic and enjoy a unique theatrical experience in a magical setting.

Matinee performance starts at 1.30pm, with gates opening at 12.30pm. All tickets £10 per person. Evening performance starts at 7.30pm, with gates opening at 6.30pm.