Every year we plan a trip to Nottingham around the awesome Robin Hood Festival at Sherwood Forest and this year was no exception. The festival runs over the first week of August, previously we have been on a Monday and a Thursday. We had planned to go on the Wednesday to watch the jousting and falconry show, but the girls were so excited we decided to go on the Tuesday. Each day has a variety of activities, events and a plethora of things to see and do that it really doesn't matter what day you go you are bound to have fun. We arrived at the car park which is £5 for the day and although it was just after 10am was already filling up fast. The girls all dressed in their Maid Marion dresses and homemade flower garlands practically ran down to the visitor centre where we purchased the obligatory bow and arrows. Charlie enjoyed showing his sisters how to use them. We decided to make our way down to the Major Oak for the skirmishing session, one of the highlights of the festival.
Along the route we spotted several stumps that had been turned into fairy houses! Such a cute idea! I'd love one in my garden. They will look wonderful as they weather and blend into the already magical ancient forest.
We had front row spaces for skirmishing and imagine the girls excitement when Maid Marion came and sat in front of them. She spent a moment chatting to them about their dresses and hair garlands (I wish I'd made one for her now! Maybe next year!) This was Olive's first year at the festival and she's also only 4. I hadn't banked on her getting a bit upset by the fighting. Robin Hood and his Merry Men take it in turns to battle against The Sheriff of Nottingham and his goons, using swords and big sticks. There is a lot of noise, grunting, booing and hissing, cheering and the atmosphere is electric. Maid Marion explained to Olive how the weapons weren't real and how Robin Hood was wearing padding so it didn't hurt and it was just pretend, they were all best friends really. She was so kind and gentle and quickly diminished Olive's worries.
After a few photos and autographs, we went over to meet The Sheriff of Nottingham. Olive was not impressed and really unhappy to meet him! He was such a gent and again told her how it was all pretend and really he was a nice guy he got paid to be a meanie. They had a little high 5 and hopefully next year she will be less scared!
There really is so much to do and you can spend as little or as much money as you like. I really went to town this year (but I had been saving up as a special treat!).
- Charlie and Megan tried the archery, Megan was so good this year hitting a few targets!
- Olive had a go at catapulting targets
- All 3 made pencils from wood cut that morning from the forest! It was so green and fresh and the pencil smells amazing!
- We ate ice cream of course!
- Visited the Robin Hood exhibition at the Visitor Centre and saw the owls and falcons for the display
- We had a picnic in the field and the children practiced their bow skills
- We also watched a few of the shows, puppetry, giant bubbles and circles skills.
- We visited the fun fair, this year armed with a few bags of 2p's we'd collected. (forward planning!)
If we'd had time I'd have liked to have done one of the scavenger hunt trails and I know the girls would have liked to have ridden a pony. Have you ever been to the Robin Hood Festival? What's your favourite part?
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