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Take a walk on the wild side: Fantasy Forest Fest

Where do elves, knights, superheroes, mystics, mermaids and more gather in July 2021? The UK Fantasy Forest Festival in Cheltenham of course. Want to know what it's all about? Read on.

What exactly is the UK Fantasy Forest Festival? Sounds intriguing …

A weekend of pure, family-friendly fantasy and enchantment with costumes galore, outdoor activities, food and drink, live music and fun for all ages. The festival brings fans from all genres of fantasy together for the weekend. Whether you’re into sci-fi, fantasy films and books, art, comics, Cosplay, LARP, Steampunk, Marvel superheros or just a slice of history, you’ll love this giant jamboree.

I’m grabbing my glow sticks, where and when is it?

Catch it from Friday 16 July to Sunday 18 July at the stunning setting of Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe, Cheltenham.

What else can I do there?

There’s so much to do. Try your hand at a range of craft and skills workshops, enjoy live music, watch impressive falconry displays, have a go at soft archery, explore the market stalls or listen to captivating storytelling. There will be thrilling re-enactments and living history in the Medieval village, dressing as a knight workshops, story-telling and sword-fighting displays.

After all that excitement head to the Healing Garden and Goddess Temple in the Northern Fields to sort out your chakra, or watch amazing demos by the dogs known as the Dire Wolves from Game of Thrones, and laugh at the brilliant Walkabout Theatre who will be mingling with the crowds.

What will there be for little ones?

There’s so much to see and do, but kids will love the Halfling Meadow where there’ll be children’s entertainment throughout the weekend. Join the Orc Boot Camp, meet Robin Hood & his Merry Men or find the the Bubble Fairy. Enjoy performance storytelling, have a go at soft archery, create a shield, make a staff and build their skills at the Crafting Corner.

Anything I really shouldn’t miss?

Definitely don’t be in the Port-a-Loo when the must-see highlight of the festival takes place. Happening on the Saturday – a beautifully crafted, wicker Phoenix sculpture will be lit in a spectacular fire display. Leading the fire dance and performing a spectacular fire ceremony will be Laura Daligan, an internationally renowned dancer and mystic.

Laura Daligan

Amaze me with the cool and crazy costumes I can see?

Fantasy Forest is a festival celebrating sci-fi and fantasy, so fans from Game of Thrones to Star Wars, Lord of the Rings to Marvel superheroes, and even little pirates and fairies will be in their element. Have your photo taken with your favourite film character or superhero. And don’t forget to meet the mermaids of Mermaid Bay, relaxing in the beautiful Sudeley Castle gardens and lake, they are very approachable and always up for a selfie with visitors! Don’t miss the Costume Competition too – come in your own fantastic get-up and see if you can walk away with the prize.

Will there be any other special guests?

Yes indeed. Armourer Terry English will be there, think Thor: The Dark World, Harry Potter, Batman and Robin, need we go on? He’s the man behind many famous suits of armour. You can also see world-famous Fantasy Artist Anne Stokes, known for her book covers, figurines and game illustrations, and Chris Achilleos, Concept Artist, who has worked on Doctor Who, Heavy Metal and many more.

Terry English, who will be a special guest at the festival.

Sounds like I’ll need some serious pit-stops. Where can I refuel?

You’ll be spoilt for choice. Head for the Vintage Tearoom for delicious sandwiches, cakes and pastries; the Veggie & Meat Grill; or to the Furnace for a goulash cooked over a real cauldron fire! There is a Build Your Own Pizza tent and the Stagger Inn has a wide selection of sales, ciders and beers. Merrie Ye Mead will tick every box if you want to keep it Medieval-real and the kids will love Sweet Heaven, a pick and mix paradise.

What about the music? It’s not all harps and hurdy-gurdys is it?!

Gadzooks no!! You’ll be rocking out to an absolutely brilliant line-up featuring the likes of The Dolmen, Inkubus Sukkubus, Perkelt, The Boarding Crew, Kitten Von Mew, Kez Hilton and many more. Prepare for some of the best live music you’ve ever heard.

Can I camp too?

Normally yes! This year it has been so popular all camping tickets are now sold out. But get in early next year – usually you have the option to book a luxury pre-pitched tent or bring your own. The whole family is welcome, with children under 7 free, and dogs are also welcome in most areas providing they remain on a lead and owners clean up after them. Winchcombe is just minutes away from the boutiques and bars of Cheltenham and Tewkesbury and has easy access to Worcestershire and the rolling Cotswold countryside too.

How much is it to get in?

A day ticket for the Saturday is £23.95, and a day ticket for the Sunday is £18.95 for an adult, or £9.99 for a child. A weekend* ticket (no camping) is £39.95 for an adult and £19.95 for a child. A weekend* ticket (with camping) is £82.95 for an adult and £29.95 for a child. Please note that on Friday the site opens at 6:30pm and closes at 10:30pm for weekend ticket holders only. On Saturday it opens at 10am and closes at 11pm. On Sunday it opens at 10am and closes at 7pm. Children aged 7 and under go free (a free ticket must be booked for each child).

I’m so in … where do I sign up?

Day tickets are available or visitors can stay for the weekend and camp. Find tickets here for day, weekend and camping. You have the option to book a luxury pre-pitched tent or bring your own. Dogs are also welcome in most areas providing they remain on a lead and owners clean up after them.

To find out more, including full ticket information and booking, FAQs, full programme details, opening hours and access info head to www.fantasyforest.co.uk. Find Fantasy Forest on Facebook or over on Instagram. Want to see it in action before you go? Hop over to their Youtube channel or if you have a question message the team on info@fantasyforest.co.uk.

*** HOT OFF THE PRESS ***

Missed out on our ticket giveaway? Never fear. Until Sunday 27th June Fantasy Forest are giving Muddy readers a very exclusive promo code. Get 30% off adult and child tickets for Sunday with the code MUDDY21. Get your tickets now!

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