A Spectacular Tudor Festival Like No Other

In 1533 Henry & Gertrude Courtenay invited King Henry VIII for a visit here. This visit is exceptionally well-documented and with help from our partners Historic Royal Palaces, University of Exeter and Powderham Castle we are recreating it as a unique multi-sensory experience. 

Based on new research we will share the story of the King's visit to the Courtenays and what life was like at West Horsley Place during this momentous stay. From tasting the King's feast, to Tudor music, falconry and jousting displays it will be a day out to remember. 

In partnership with 

Immerse Yourself in the Story of the King's Visit

Inside the manor house you will be plunged into the world of Lord & Lady Courtenay and their honoured guests. Renowned historical costumed interpretation company Past Pleasures will recreate the dramatic story of the Courtenay's rise & fall. You will meet the characters involved as well as the servants of the house. 

Discover the pastimes and pleasures that were the focus of the King's visit from music and dancing to hunting and feasting. There will be authentic costumes to touch (recreated exactly from the Courtenay's accounts book), food to try (from the menu served to the king) and steps to dance. You will also learn about the etiquette of feasting at Henry VIII's court from our Lord Steward. 

Watch Henry VIII's Joust

In 1533 Henry VIIII was at the height of his athleticism and was a keen sportsman; hunting and jousting were two of his favoured pastimes. His host Henry Courtenay was one of the Court's most skilled jousters. For one weekend only, witness the spectacle of the king himself jousting against his friend and favourite. 

Witness Tudor Falconry

Tudor England was the last great age of the original sport of kings – falconry.  

It is said that hawking became the King's favourite sporting pursuit.  Hunting represented masculinity and power, and his royal hawks represented strength and superiority, so hawking was a perfect pursuit for a king!

A fine recreation of Tudor hawking and falconry will be presented by Raphael Historic Falconry who specialise in historical interpretation. Visitors will be able to watch live demonstrations of various birds of the chase in spectacular flight. Witness the surprising collaboration of the hawk and hound to catch simulated prey, and learn all about the history and folklore of the various bird species during an enchanting story-style commentary. Between demonstrations visitors will be able to view the hunting birds at rest in their Tudor Mews and meet the falconers dressed in their Tudor hunting robes.

Party Like it's 1533

Sign yourself up for a free Tudor dance session where you will learn some of the most popular dances at the court accompanied by live music. In Tudor England dancing was something that everyone, who was able, took part in from the village green to the courts of Kings. 

Of course, we all want to impress His Majesty the King so Lady Elizabeth will guide you through the steps, with the music being provided by Myal Pyper. (sessions will be bookable in advance nearer to the event date, suitable for ages 8+)

Have Fun in the Kids' Zone

Having been inspired by the jousting demonstration, why not pop into the walled gardens Kids' Zone where our younger visitors can have a go at mini-jousting?

Here they can also have their face painted, create their own shield, try their hand at archery or go to Jester School!

Chat with the Tudors

As you wander the beautiful grounds at West Horsley Place you will be able to chat to an array of living history experts in costume. From ladies of the court to blacksmiths, commoners and more! As well as meeting our experts, you will be able to see some of their heritage crafts in action. 

The renowned Jane's Historical Kitchen will be cooking up a regal storm in their authentic outdoor Tudor Kitchen. Jane and her assistant Peter will be on hand for cooking demonstrations, to chat all things Tudor food, and will even be cooking morsels from our 1533 menu (actually served here to Henry VIII) that you can try!

As you stroll about you will be able to listen to live music of the period performed by roaming musicians.

Eat, Drink & Shop

Rest assured that as well as trying authentic Tudor morsels, there will be plenty of contemporary quisine on site, including a traditional hog roast, coffee stations, icecream and more. (sessions will be bookable in advance nearer to the event date). 

You can also indulge in some retail therapy as you peruse an array of stalls by local artists, craftmakers and artisans. 

Pop into our barn for some shade where you will find a large refreshments barn (alcoholic and soft drinks) and seating area. 

You are welcome to bring a picnic too.  

Please note: The upstairs of the Manor House will not be open on the Hosting Henry VIII weekend festival. The majority of the festival will be held outside.

Important Information

Ticket costs: Adult £25, Child (3-16) £10

Venue: The Manor House, gardens and outside in the home paddock. (In the Manor House the ground floor only will be open). 

Dogs are welcome but must be on short fixed leads at all times. They are not allowed in the Manor House or walled gardens.