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Spectacular Jousting at Blenheim

Knights of Middle England. Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.

Blenheim Castle Joust.

Review by Ann Evans

Visitors to Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire were whisked back in time to the Middle Ages over the Bank Holiday weekend as spectacular pageantry and drama were brought to us by the incredible Knights of Middle England.


Crowds gathered around the main arena to watch the brilliance of professional horsemen and women as they entertained in royal style with daring stunt horseback riding, fast and furious riding contests and breathtaking jousting.

This is no damsel in distress! Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.


Added to this were on-foot sword and flaming mace fights, the whole event professionally compared by a character horseman telling stories of the riders in combat and encouraging the crowds to cheer for their favourite Lord or Lady Knight.

Excellently compared throughout. Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.


Horses and their riders were clad in rich velvets and shining armour. Colourful banners waved in the breeze, flags were carried aloft, flaming crowns were there for the capture, and red and blue smoke drifted over the medieval tents. And all this set out before the magnificent backdrop of Blenheim Palace.

A colourful spectacle. Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.


The joust began with the ‘warming up’ of the horses as they were put through their paces, elegantly parading around the arena before the contest started in earnest. Then showing what they could do as the tournament commenced with the competitors aiming to spear flaming crowns onto their lances as they galloped along.

Such accuracy at speed as this Lady Knight spears a blazing crow.  Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.

An amazing stunt riding show commenced which had the crowd cheering as horses galloped and riders performed acrobatics stunts.

Daring stunt riding by these professionals. Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.

 Then to the sound of dramatic music, pounding hooves and the clang of steel as lance met shield, we enjoyed the spectacle of these brave Knights of Middle England as they clashed at breakneck speed. It was spectacular, dramatic and hugely entertaining.

Let the joust begin! Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.

Knights of Middle England and KOME Entertainment is a family business based near Warwick. It’s headed by Karl Ude-Martinez, an actor, producer, director and TV presenter. The team include expert horsemen and women from varying equestrian stunt and performance backgrounds. Their ground team are a mix of trained actors, performers and stage combatants who have performed at many high profile and prestigious events worldwide. And the stars of the show – the horse that include Bailarin, Emperadora, Freddie, Max and Malito - visit the Kinights of Middle England website to discover all that they do.

Dramatic entertainment from the Knights of Middle England. Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.

Between the two jousting tournaments each day there was lots for the visitors to enjoy including a beautiful falconry display. Also, for the Bank Holiday weekend the Knights of Honour reenactment group had set up camp, providing an opportunity for visitors to learn about day-to-day life back in the 14th century and try their skills at archery.

Anthony - one of the dashing Knights.  Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.


The authentic costumed characters prepared and cooked venison and vegetables; others demonstrated the skill of making armour and weapons and talked about life in merry England hundreds of years ago.

A cook and archer from Knights of Honour. Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.


The palace park and gardens are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and draw around 950,000 visitors every year. This magnificent palace was built between 1705 – 1722 for John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough in recognition of his victory over French and Bavarian troops at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704.

The water garden. Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.


For the children, they could have fun at the new Blenheim Adventure Playground. With timber forts to explore, cargo nets to tackle, zip wires to zoom down and secret chambers to discover. There were gift stall, food and drink stalls, space to picnic or just have fun.

Mead - a Knight's tipple! All these variations from Lyme Bay Winery. Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.

The palace is also the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, born on 30 November 1874 and not to be missed is the Churchill Exhibition where you can learn all about his life through photographs, artefacts and letters.

Part of the Churchill Exhibition. Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.


On view temporarily until 10 June is the bronze sculpture, Five Walking Men by British sculptor Lawrence Edwards. This features five 8ft tall men who seem to have come from the earth itself.  

Five Walking Men - 8ft tall cast in bronze by British Sculptor Lawrence Edwards. Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.


Also on at Blenheim until 30 June is the Icons of British Fashion Exhibition featuring world-class fashion designs and displays by many top names in fashion from the late Dame Vivienne Westwood to Stella McCartney. Read our full post

on this here.

Plus of course is Blenheim Palace itself, regarded as Britain’s greatest palace steeped in grandeur and history - and perfect for a family day out.

Family fun! Who doesn't remember Monty Python's The Knights who say "Ni". Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.

For more information on Blenheim Palace and to book tickets visit: 

For more on Knights of Middle England, go to:

For information on Knights of Honour, go to:


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