With a history dating over a thousand years, Tewkesbury’s rich heritage can be seen throughout the town in the eclectic mix of architecture ranging from Tudor manors to Georgian town houses. The architecture is fascinating – spot incredible door knockers, highly carved doorways and ancient windows.
Meander along the wide main street and you’ll spot lots of small, narrow alleyways – the remnants of the ninety or so that once snaked through the town. Make sure to explore these strangely-named nooks, as you never know what you’ll find – anything from a tiny burial site to a five hundred year old Baptist chapel.
Dominating the town is the awe-inspiring Abbey, celebrated as one of the best examples of medieval architecture in the whole of Britain. Over nine hundred years old, it is one of the few monasteries to survive the Reformation and sits proudly in expansive grounds and is one of the largest parish churches in England.
The Abbey was central to the denouement of the War of the Roses when Lancastrian men fled to the Abbey for sanctuary. Unfortunately for them the Abbot surrendered them to King Edward, followed swiftly by their beheading in Church Street.
In remembrance of that great battle, a Medieval Festival takes place in May each year with a re-enactment of the battle. Running since 1984, it’s the largest of its kind in Europe attracting participants from all over Europe. The surrounding fields are covered with a medieval market and people dress in authentic costume (including full armour). The battle re-enactment and the trial of the Lancastrians are the highlights of the festival which take place over two days, but there is a host of entertainment such as music, dance and drama as well as characters wandering around in full garb. There are lots for children to do too, with period arts and crafts, and lots of shops (or shoppes!) in which to buy goodies.
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