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Windsor Castle Family Festival on 14 Sep: Queen Victoria’s Circus

On Saturday, 14 September, a Family Festival at Windsor Castle will transport visitors back to the time of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as part of celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of their births.
Image by The Royal Collection Trust

Queen Victoria’s Circus will bring Windsor Castle to life with attractions and performances inspired by George Wombwell’s travelling menagerie that visited Windsor Castle in 1847. From circus performances and falconry displays to arts and crafts and dress up opportunities, children and adults alike can immerse themselves in the spectacle of a Victorian circus. 

Throughout the day, a variety of drop-in activities will guide children through the training required to become an official member of the circus troupe. By gathering enough stamps on their ‘Passport to the Big Top’, the children will become fully trained circus members eligible to receive a special medal at the end of their visit. They will have the chance to enter a draw to win prizes including a corgi soft toy.

Circus parades will take place throughout the day, featuring a family of life-size puppet elephants, spectacular displays of aerial acrobatics, stilt walkers, jugglers and more. In the Quadrangle, children will be able to test their own acrobatic skills and learn the important juggling and hula-hooping techniques required to become a member of the troupe. Historic falconry demonstrations will teach the art of Victorian falconry, including exciting flying displays and an opportunity to get up close to these amazing birds of prey.

For younger children, interactive storytelling sessions will bring to life the story of George Wombwell’s travelling menagerie and the memorable visit to entertain the royal family in the same location over 170 years ago. The ever-popular Bach to Baby concerts for under-fives will give little circus troupe members the chance to dance, roam about and enjoy live period music in the Castle’s beautiful Moat Garden, where families are welcome to picnic throughout the day.

In the Moat Garden, visitors will meet canine friends from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, which has been under royal patronage since Queen Victoria’s reign. Children and adults alike will be able to put their crafting skills to good use by creating toys for the rescued animals at Battersea to enjoy. Children will also be able to dress up as Victorians, in costumes inspired by the portraits of Queen Victoria and her family that exist in the Royal Collection.

The Salvation Army will be performing live music, wearing uniforms that have remained unchanged in design since the 1870s. In tribute to the intimate Shakespeare performances enjoyed by Queen Victoria, a performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor will take place in the Moat Garden, developed in collaboration with Shakespeare’s Globe.

Tickets are £22.50 for an adult, £13 for under 17s and under 5s go free. More info and booking available on their website.

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