History group starring in Steven Spielberg blockbuster take part in annual Kelmarsh festival

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A HISTORY group starring in a Steven Spielberg blockbuster, will be the main attraction when one of Europe’s biggest and most spectacular history festivals returns to Northamptonshire.

English Heritage’s Festival of History returns to Kelmarsh Hall on July 16 and 17.

The blockbuster weekend of clashing swords, thundering hooves, epic battles and aerial displays, will feature more than 1,000 historical re-enactors taking part in 50 different shows and displays.

Among the highlights at this year’s festival is a World War One trench and ‘no man’s land’ re-creation by Battlefield Partnerships, a team who have been working on Steven Spielberg’s latest movie, War Horse.

Visitors will also be able to climb into a trench for a glimpse of the reality of life for men and horses during the war.

Andy Robertshaw, of Battlefield Partnerships, said: “The battlefield scene we are creating will become an elaborate stage for our performances from the front line, told in the words of the real soldiers who experienced it.

“We will be touching on the role of horses during the Great War and involving some live horses in the performances.

“Between shows, visitors will be able to walk through the trenches and meet the Tommies.”

English Heritage’s head of events, Emily Burns, added: “This really is a historical event without parallel in Europe.

“Visitors will be able to witness the might of the Roman army, cheer on a knight in the medieval joust, and feel the ground tremble beneath their feet as horses hooves thunder past and hundreds of re-enactors recreate one of the greatest battles of the War of the Roses, the Battle of Bosworth Field.

“Other highlights include Wellington’s famous Red Coats in action and the appearance of a Spitfire as it roars in for explosive action from the Second World War.”

Also new for 2011 is a display of artillery through the ages.

For the first time in the UK, this will feature an 1815 Napoleonic horse-drawn artillery team with six horses pulling half a tonne of cannon gun across the grounds.

One-day, two-day and family tickets are available.

Gates open at 9.30am on both days.

For details and to book tickets call 0870 333 1183 or visit www.festivalofhistory.org.uk