Because there weren't many tables, we shared with two very chatty ladies from Warrington, toasting the royal baby with proscetto, and when we sat down they asked "Have you not got kids with you either? We're loving it!" While they gushed about trying on all the costumes and wanting to finish their treasure hunt leaflets (and how dishy one of the Hampton Court reenactors was), we realised just how much the event was aimed at kids, and that we would need to engage on their level to get the most from it.
On our way out we were offered a wristband to allow entry back in that day, and a voucher for free entry to Hampton Court itself. No strings, not a buy one get one free, but an honest to goodness "free entry with this ticket" voucher. On our way out, we also finally spotted the information tent, which was a row of tents away from the main entrance, so not highly obvious on entry.
All in all, we had a good day, and it was certainly worth the money when you take into account the craft activities we could have done, the hour and a half we also spent at the farm, and the future trip to Hampton Court proper. It did require a shift in mental gears though, and would have been a great disappointment had we not met two big kids who effectively gave us permission to "play". Having come home and checked their website, it's described as a "family festival" and I'd say that without a family in tow, you had to become kids to fully engage with the event.
I expect anyone wanting a real historical day out would have struggled, as pageantry and activity ruled, with fact only really available by patiently waiting in small crowds craning to see experts do hands on crafts. For anyone with kids, I think they have formed some lifetime memories of the best bank holiday ever.
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