Belvoir Castle is preparing to launch its biggest season to date with a packed visitor programme running throughout the Leicestershire castle and gardens, it's been announced.
The castle has greatly improved its visitor offer over the past five years with 2022 seeing it shaping up to welcome more visitors than ever from 19 March.
The turreted castle is one of the country's finest examples of Regency architecture with magnificent staterooms and over 16,000 acres of gardens and beautiful parklands.
As well as an exciting season of events, new adventures are to be had in the gardens this summer with the castle investing £350,000 on a bespoke Adventure Playground. Inspired by the iconic architecture of the Leicestershire estate and Belvoir’s past and present explorers, the playground will cover four acres and is set to feature a giant timber castle, ship and towers ideal for children and teenagers of all ages.
A CGI representation of how the playground could look. Photo: Supplied.
Inside the castle structure and its multiple levels, adventurers will be able to discover hidden tunnels, a secret climbing wall, and a giant tube slide whilst the ramp accessible ship features porthole windows, a climbing net and a zip wire for daring sailors to exit the deck and fly through the trees.
There will be plenty for smaller children too with plans for a mini bridge, slide and crawl tunnel as well as a wooden car structure inspired by the present Duke’s 100-year-old Renault. Entry to the Adventure Playground will be included in all garden tickets with passes available for regular visitors.
A 1940s weekend will return to the castle this year. Photo: Belvoir Castle
The season highlights include the return of Festival of the Horse after its successful launch last year. The event will be expanded to include a third arena to showcase the very best of classical equestrian skills alongside breath-taking stunt and trick riding.
New for 2022 will be Belvoir Revisited, a series of weekend events running throughout the year recreating moments in the castle’s fascinating history. Visitors can join in with a host of interactive activities from dancing to wartime jazz, learning about Regency-era combat or taking part in the castle’s first-ever Steampunk Weekend. Belvoir will also be celebrating this year’s Platinum Jubilee with a Great British Street Party.
Annual favourites Belvoir Flower and Garden Show and Firework Champions make up an exciting year ahead, culminating in another magical festive season which will take over the estate at Christmas.
A stone's throw away from the castle, Belvoir’s shopping village The Engine Yard will be running its own programme of seasonal events throughout the year. New weekly pop-up markets will provide shoppers with a chance to buy from a range of independents whilst popular live music evenings and seasonal celebrations return to the Balloon Bar and Fuel Tank.
Visitors taking in the scenes at the castle. Photo: Belvoir Castle.
Emma Stenning, newly appointed CEO of Belvoir Castle, says; “It is such a joy to be able to welcome visitors back to Belvoir once again for what we hope will be the castle’s best year to date.
“We are building on last year's fantastic season with the return of an expanded Festival of the Horse, Belvoir Flower and Garden Show and a spectacular Christmas as well as new events in our Belvoir Revisited series. We’re also delighted to host theatre groups and outdoor cinema events as well as create a new Adventure Playground that will be a great addition to our offer for the local community as well as day visitors. ”
For unlimited access to the castle, gardens and parkland regular visitors can purchase a Belvoir Annual Pass which includes free admission to all Belvoir Revisited events, unlimited access to parkland, gardens and house and a reduced price for friends and family.
Tickets for the house and garden can now be purchased online at: https://www.belvoircastle.com/
Mothers’ Day Afternoon Tea: 26-27 March
Celebrate Mothers’ Day at Belvoir Castle with an Afternoon Tea in The Aviary. The Regency-themed tea room will be offering a special selection of delicious finger sandwiches, scones and dainty desserts for the perfect celebration. To complete the ideal afternoon, guests can take a stroll through the formal gardens, included in the ticket price.
Over in the Engine Yard, The Fuel Tank will also be offering guests a special Mothers’ Day Afternoon Tea. The cosy, industrial-style cafe is featuring a delectable array of handmade finger sandwiches, scones and sweet treats alongside a selection of tempting drinks. Visitors can also take advantage of the pop-up Mothers’ Day market and browse a selection of local stalls.
Easter Activity Trails: 1-18 April
Eggcellent adventures await at Belvoir Castle this Easter. Little ones can follow clues to solve puzzles throughout the garden to receive a tasty chocolate prize. The Easter Bunny and friends will also be hopping along for a visit.
Belvoir Revisited: various weekends
Visitors will be transported to the most pivotal periods in the castle's history with Belvoir Revisited, a series of exciting events exploring the castle's rich heritage. Time travellers can jive to live jazz at the 1940s weekend, learn about the historical battles of the Civil and Napoleonic wars through live reenactments and meet brave knights and other curious characters at Medieval Weekend. For those wanting to escape to an alternative reality, Steampunk weekend will provide two days of Victorian-era excitement with a futuristic twist.
Queen's Jubilee: 4-5 June
Celebrate the 70th Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in style with a quintessential British street party at Belvoir Castle. With a host of street performers, delicious food and drink and performances from Punch and Judy, falconry displays and jousting knights, the weekend will be bursting with great British entertainment.
Open-air Cinema: 10-12 June
This summer, visitors can sit back and enjoy an outdoor cinema experience at Belvoir Castle. Celebrate 50 Years of ABBA with Mamma Mia, sing along to Rocky Horror Picture Show and enjoy the magic of Oscar-nominated West Side Story beneath the stars.
Belvoir Castle Flower and Garden Show: 16-17 July
Returning for its fifth year, Belvoir Castle Flower and Garden show is back and better than ever. With a host of gardening stalls, show displays and plenty of expert speakers, visitors are sure to find boundless garden inspiration. Special guests include award-winning horticulturist and TV personality David Domoney and international floral designer Jonathan Mosley.
Outdoor Theatre: 21 July, 13 August
Belvoir Castle plays the perfect backdrop as open-air theatre returns to the vale this summer. Visitors can laugh along to David Walliams Awful Auntie and participate in the quirky interactive murder mystery Much Ado About Murder.
Firework Champions: 20 August
Returning favourite, Firework Champions will once again light up the skies over the Vale of Belvoir in spectacular fashion. The event will see three of the country's best firework companies battle it out with spectacular displays set to music followed by a breathtaking finale.
A breahtaking event takes place in the form of Firework Champions in November. Photo: Belvoir Castle
Festival of the Horse: 10-11 September
Celebrating all things equestrian, Festival of the Horse returns to Belvoir for its second year. The popular event, which has been expanded to include a third arena, will showcase the very best of trick riding, horseback stunts and traditional riding skills as well as plenty of shopping stalls, children's entertainment and delicious food and drink.
Festival of the horse will return later this year. Photo: Belvoir Castle
Bonfire Night at The Engine Yard: 5 November
The Engine Yard’s popular Bonfire night celebrations return for 2022 with spectacular fireworks and festive food and drinks.