Wimpole History Festival launches this July with National Trust

Wimpole History Festival launches this July with National Trust

Cambridge Literary Festival has entered into a partnership with the National Trust to deliver a major history festival at the Wimpole Estate over one weekend in early July.

The brainchild of the director of Cambridge Literary Festival, Cathy Moore, the Wimpole History Festival will take place from 7th - 9th July this year.

It will showcase 10,000 books and feature talks, debates, book signings and performances, including those that will mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen, and the centenaries of the House of Windsor, the Russian Revolution and the Battle of Passchendaele. 

Highlights include attending authors Lucy Worsley, author of Jane Austen at Home; historical novelist Alison Weir, tackling the topic of Tudor queen Anne Boleyn; Carolyne Larrington, excavateing the medieval world behind Game of Thrones; David Olusoga, exploring being black and British; Andrew Marr, reflecting on what Brexit means for Britishness; historian Piers Brendon, examining the life of HRH Prince Charles and the years spent waiting to be King; Orlando Figes, looking at the Russian Revolution one century on; and Diarmaid MacCulloch, talking about The Reformation, one of the most transformative and bloody periods in European history. 

Activities for children will include a sword school, falconry and dressing up as a Roman Emperor, while Horrid Henry series author Francesca Simon will introduce them to Norse mythology, Eddie Dickens series author Philip Ardagh will share the secret diary of a medieval knight in training and author and historian Chris Lloyd will stop off at 10 of the most significant moments that have shaped history.  

Moore said: "Hosting a history festival right now makes wonderful sense - in volatile times, there is comfort to be drawn from an understanding of history which allows us better to understand the world we live in and the more we know, the more likely it is that we will not repeat mistakes of the past. Added to our two literary festival each year it makes a great trio and a year round offer."

Historian and founding patron David Reynolds said: “History in the historic. A galaxy of historians in a priceless piece of our national heritage. It's been great fun to help prepare this feast of history for all the family in such beautiful surroundings. I hope those who come get as much pleasure from what we have cooked up.”

Fiona Reynolds, former National Trust Director General, added: “I’m so thrilled to be part of the Wimpole History Festival. At a time of turmoil, people are in turn enthralled and challenged by history and there couldn’t be a better time or place to explore its meaning and relevance to us all today.”

The National Trust has also previously partnered with Wray Castle for a children's festival in the Lake District.