Bedfordshire honours St George
With the royal wedding on the horizon, Brits have discovered a new sense of patriotism. Now Bedfordshire is offering the chance to wave the English flag and explore history throughout the Easter weekend in honour of St George.
A three-day celebration of the patron saint of England will begin on Saturday April 23rd and continue throughout April 24th and 25th at Wrest Park.
In addition to celebrating the life and times of England's most celebrated knight, visitors can enjoy a host of events that explore English history through the ages.
The park's Roman zone will feature troops from the imperial Roman army, displaying their military skills and giving visitors a glimpse of what civilian life was like in the days of the Roman Empire.
Moving forward in history, the medieval zone will see brave knights take to the arena for jousting tournaments, accompanied by traditional medieval music and dance.
Exploring the days of the British Empire, guests can step into the Victorian zone for a taste of what life was like under Britain's longest serving queen. Honorary Victorians can enjoy precision riding in mounted gymkhana games, a travelling show and a flea circus.
Finally the 1940s zone, new for 2011, pays tribute to the land girls who contributed to the war effort, "digging for victory" in Wrest Park itself. Youngsters can take on a challenging World War Two army assault course, to see if they have what it takes to defend Britain against its enemies.
The zones will feature living history encampments, capturing the sights and sounds of English history and providing a rolling programme of entertainment throughout the weekend.
In addition, adults can explore the authentic historic market, while children can take part in other period activities, including an interactive dragon puppet theatre and a mock children's battle.
Families planning to visit Wrest Park during the Easter weekend should book early to receive discounted tickets. Additional discounts are available for English Heritage members.
Tickets can be booked online through the English Heritage website, or over the phone. Guests can also pay on the day.
Wrest Park is an 18th-century French-inspired mansion surrounded by 90 acres of parkland. The park is known as the Sleeping Beauty of English landscape gardens, reflecting 250 years of landscape design previously unseen and unknown for decades.
In August 2011, a £1.14 million Heritage Lottery Fund allowed the mansion to be prepared as a historic garden attraction providing a cultural day out for all the family. A new visitor centre, shop and cafe will help to put Wrest Park on the map, with selected rooms in the main house open for public viewing.
Visitors from Bedfordshire and beyond can begin to explore English Heritage's newest member during the St George's celebrations this Easter weekend.