There’s nothing like the promise of broomstick training to brighten up the kids’ day on an overcast weekend in the holidays.
This, along with potion making, storytelling, theatre, tours and a birds of prey display, was on offer at Lancaster Castle on Saturday and Sunday as part of its Witches Weekend.
Not easily foiled, my six-year-old son Will pointed out that he wouldn’t “actually be flying” on a broomstick, but he was excited nonetheless.
It was £1 each to get into the castle courtyard (free under five), and when we arrived there was a witchy kerfuffle going on on the green, and the kids gravitated towards the commotion while I picked up our wristbands.
A lot of the activities, priced separately, were fully booked, and there were a lot of people milling around the courtyard.
The cafe was packed too, but we’d booked one of Nice @ The Castle’s picnics in advance, and laid down a blanket outside. It was the mother of all picnics to be honest.
For £25, we got two big boxes which included a prawn salad, ham and egg salad, olives on a bed of herbs in olive oil, sunblushed tomatoes and feta cheese, a selection of Italian hams, haloumi, pasta, carrot and celery sticks, grapes, savoury tarts, and a strawberry and custard tart and honey nut chocolate biscuits to finish.
This actually fed us for the rest of the day.
After some lazy grazing Will and Zoe joined in with the broomstick training, led by two zany wizards wearing goggles. They did secret handshakes, argued, camped it up a bit, and then each child was issued with a broomstick and plenty of fun and games ensued, even cynical old Will got into the “flying” by the end.
Before we left we joined a 15-minute tour into the witches’ dungeon, led by the charismatic Mike Kennedy.
It was the first time I’d been down there, having read and researched the history in detail, so this was another little tick on the list for me.
We had a great few hours enjoying what the event had to offer, and it was good to see the courtyard so full of life and laughter.