Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Surprised by Bolsover

Here’s a little secret that not many people know. Derbyshire is home to one of England’s finest medieval attractions, Bolsover Castle. This place is not just a haven for time travellers, it’s also a great day out for families, as we discovered last Saturday. Despite quizzing my friends and neighbours in the village, it transpired that everyone has heard of Bolsover Castle but no one has been. Equipped with information provided by the site’s mangers, English Heritage, and a postcode for Tobias (our very posh SatNav speaker) we set out to conquer Bolsover. A 40 minutes drive from our home, and we began to see the majestic Castle towering down onto the village of Bolsover. This place has not one but two castles (well one fortress ruin and a Duke’s show home) to explore at your leisure. Our children loved the freedom of Bolsover Castle. Running from building to building and room to room they played hide and seek and re-enacted dungeons and dragons themes. They were in paradise, and we were happy to see them enchanted with this wonderful monument. They built mini castles and dressed up as Cavaliers in The Discovery Centre as well as marvelling at the displays of swordsmanship from the performing knights. We ate our picnic in the grounds, spent more than one penny in the sparkling clean toilets and where very tempted with the play swords from the shop. At a very reasonable price of just over £7 per adult for entry, we will be sure to return, especially as we discovered a CAMRA pub located just five minutes away. The Arkwright Arms may be a little tired in places yet you can’t fault the range of ales on offer or the dragon and shoe-house slides. The children once again surprised us with their endless energy to enjoy themselves by spending a good hour happily playing in the pub’s beer garden. Close the draw bridges Bolsover Castle, you’ve not seen the last of us.

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