Spectacular Jousting rides into Linlithgow Palace once again

Preparing for battle...noble knights on their trusty steeds will entertain crowds at Linlithgow Palace this weekend during the Spectacular Jousting event. (Pic: Rob McDougall)
Preparing for battle...noble knights on their trusty steeds will entertain crowds at Linlithgow Palace this weekend during the Spectacular Jousting event. (Pic: Rob McDougall)

Those who venture to Linlithgow Palace this weekend will be transported back to mediaeval times.

For Spectacular Jousting, the popular annual family event, will be staged this Saturday and Sunday, from 12.30pm to 4.30pm each day.

Great knights...are ready to do battle this weekend in the Palace grounds, making for great days out too! (Pic: Rob McDougall)

Great knights...are ready to do battle this weekend in the Palace grounds, making for great days out too! (Pic: Rob McDougall)

Noble knights will face each other in the field below the Palace for two tournaments daily, at 1.30pm and 3.15pm.

With the Palace as a fitting backdrop, visitors can watch the knights battle it out in a daring display of skill and horsemanship.

And outwith these times, there’s plenty to keep the whole family occupied, with a packed programme of entertainment.

Visitors can explore the sights and sounds of mediaeval life – from food and clothes to heraldry and armour – in the mediaeval encampment while enjoying music and watching in awe as jesters perform acrobatic stunts.

Daring display...of skills and horsemanship will enthrall visitors to Linlithgow Palace this Saturday and Sunday. (Pics: Rob McDougall)

Daring display...of skills and horsemanship will enthrall visitors to Linlithgow Palace this Saturday and Sunday. (Pics: Rob McDougall)

There will also be a chance to meet soldiers, visit the horses in their stables, watch archery shoots and see falcons flying overhead.

Children can even have a go at junior jousting with the chance to triumph over an angry knight.

Gillian Urquhart, events manager at Historic Environment Scotland, said: “Spectacular Jousting is one of our best loved family-friendly events. With a colourful line-up of daring competitors and their trusty steeds, we’re looking forward to an exciting weekend celebrating this iconic mediaeval sport.

“Our advice to visitors is to start their adventure early so they bag a good spot to cheer on the knights as they ride into battle!”

It is almost 20 years since Spectacular Jousting rode into the Palace and the event shows no signs of losing its appeal with the public.

Gillian added: “It’s a wonderful day out which is very popular with members of Historic Scotland and families in particular.

“People enjoy the excitement of seeing the knights on horses and the sheer scale of the event.

“There really is something for all ages to enjoy which saw it attract 11,000 visitors over the course of the weekend last year.

“The Palace is a stunning backdrop for the event. It is already a very busy attraction but jousting definitely adds to its appeal with visitors.”

Many groups work together to stage Spectacular Jousting with living history and costumed performers from The Historic Saltire Society, Medieval Realm, Carrick 800, Alba Adventure Company, Rusty Bodkins, Strathblane Falconry, The Crafty Beggars, Edinburgh Performers, Gaita Medieval Music and History Matters.

And the knights are from Les Amis d’Onno, based near Jedburgh. The company specialises in spectacular stunt riding, horseback archery and performing dogs. It performs main arena stunt shows all over the UK and Ireland.

At the Palace this weekend, four of their knights will be battling it out to win over the crowds, namely Sir Archibald Douglas of Galloway, Sir William Maxwell of Caerlaverock, Sir Checkmate Fitzpercy of Alnwick and Sir Robert Sinclair of Rosslyn.

Jousting sessions were very popular in Scotland during the Middle Ages.

Originally, it was a way of training knights for battle but, in the late Middle Ages, it became an entertainment for the king and his court.

It remains just as popular today, albeit it’s unlikely any royalty will be in the audience this weekend!

Spectacular Jousting takes place at Linlithgow Palace from 12.30pm to 4.30pm on Saturday and Sunday, with the site open from 9.30am each day.

Tickets are £15 for adults (£12 concs), £9 for children and under 5s free, with a 10 per cent discount for online bookings. Entry is free for Historic Scotland members.

Visit historicdaysawait.scot/joustingfor more information and booking.