May Day Merriment

Time Period: Elizabethan era

Performer / Organiser: Suffolk Free Company, Myal Pyper

5th and 6th May 2024 at Chiltern Open Air Museum, Newland Park, Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire HP8 4AB

Experience Elizabethan May Day merriment with dancing, swordplay, gunpowder and more!

May Day was a time to rejoice and make merry, as people welcomed the arrival of spring and the promise of a bountiful year ahead. It was a time to gather and feast, with communities coming together for large meals and communal celebrations. Food and drink were abundant, and people indulged in merrymaking and revelry.

At this special event, the Suffolk Free Company and Myal Pyper will transport us back in time to the Elizabethan era, giving us a unique insight into the lives and festivities of that period.

Upon the Village Green the May Tree needs preparing, round which, for your enjoyment and to join in with, there will be music and dancing to the finest tunes and the most popular dances of the time. Noise is a big part of the May Day celebration, to awaken Spring, and, further to that end, there will be a display of fire power, featuring the black powder weapons of the day showing just how effective they can be at defeating that old adversary, the cabbage! The soldiers will lead new recruits (the audience!) of all ages in a military drill, and there will be a display of fine swordsmanship.

In between, you can wander amongst the encampment and see what is being eaten, drunk, made and mended. There will be sumptuous food being prepared and a variety of crafts people about their business, all for you to engage with or just listen, as you wish, though there will be no broom makers, this is considered extremely bad luck at May Day, as is going fishing!

Please note that all activities are subject to change and weather. There will be gun fire and canon bangs during displays.

This is a Premium Admission event. Free entry for Annual Pass holders.

For more information please click here.