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Unique festival returns to top tourist attraction in the Cotswolds this July

Fantasy Forest Festival Sudeley Castle

Fantasy Forest Festival returns to Sudeley Castle this July for another spectacular weekend of magical live entertainment

Fantasy Forest, a unique festival celebrating the popular fantasy genre, will make a spectacular return to the glorious grounds of Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire from 19 – 21 July 2024 with a weekend packed full of fantasy-themed experiences, exciting entertainment, live music and new features, including a Medieval Village, Pirate Camp, Steam Nation area, Post Apocalyptic area, a Cosplay Court, live performance by The Film Orchestra, a spectacular Wicker Fire Ceremony, and much more!
The festival, which first took place in the grounds of Sudeley Castle in 2019, has continued to grow in popularity, attracting visitors of all ages from across Gloucestershire, the UK and even oversees. The 2024 festival will be the largest to date, with a packed programme of fantasy-themed entertainment and experiences, spread across the castle’s impressive grounds.
This year’s festival will feature three stages dedicated to live music, as well as multiple entertainment stages dotted throughout the magnificent castle grounds.
At the Medieval Village, visitors can step back in time and try their hand at medieval life skills such as archery, or watch a thrilling, immersive live battle reenactment. The Sherwood Outlaws will bring the legend of Robin Hood to life through live performance, combat displays, archery demonstrations, interactive theatre and an engaging craft corner for children. Don’t miss the Swords of Cygnus, an impressive display of 60 female fighters engaging in a full contact, historic medieval battle to fight for the prized 2024 Fantasy Forest Cup, taking place on Saturday and Sunday.
At the Pirate Camp, visitors can immerse themselves in a bygone era with captivating story-telling, costumed actors and themed activity sessions for children provided by The Historical Living Company. Spot roaming pirates throughout the festival grounds and listen to one of the many rousing live performances from bands including Ye Banished Privateers (a popular Swedish pirate band, whose headline performance at the festival in 2023 was met with acclaim) and The Boarding Crew, a pirate band hailing from Chesil Bay in Dorset.
Steam Nation, an area dedicated to the popular genre of steampunk, returns to this year’s festival with spectacular roaming displays of great Steamroadster machines by Abacus Theater, live music by steampunk artists, market stalls and lots of unique entertainment, including tea pot racing and tea duelling.
A brand-new Post Apocalyptic area will debut at this year’s festival, featuring an array of post-apocalyptic artists, role-players and live entertainers hosting themed activities, such as post-societal carnival games, talisman making and costume distressing workshops.
The Cosplay Court is a highlight of the weekend for most festival-goers, and is home to the ever-popular Costume Show and Costume Competition (held on Saturday and Sunday afternoons), as well as interesting talks, demos and workshops. Admire the remarkable array of screen-accurate, creative and lovingly hand-crafted costumes and keep an eye out for costumed characters roaming the grounds as you explore the festival, including Stormtroopers, Game of Thrones and Marvel characters, daleks, orcs, pirates and fairies.
The Wicker Fire Ceremony – another festival highlight for many – will take place on Saturday evening as a giant wicker structure of a stag (this year’s festival symbol) is set alight, in a spectacular, poignant ceremony.
Ever-popular, The Film Orchestra will return to this year’s festival with another outstanding performance of recognisable scores from fantasy and sci-fi films and games, including Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; My Neighbour Totoro; Star Wars; Doctor Who; and His Dark Materials.
Once again, due to popular demand, weekend camping tickets for this year’s festival sold out immediately. However, single day tickets and weekend tickets (non-camping) are available. The whole family is welcome, with children under 7 free, and dogs are welcome in most areas providing they remain on a lead and owners clean up after them.
A shuttle bus will be available to transport visitors to and from the festival on Saturday and Sunday, departing from Cheltenham Spa train station taking festival goers to Sudeley Castle and back. There is ample onsite parking for those planning to drive to the festival, including in the price of a ticket.
Day, weekend and shuttle bus tickets can be purchased in advance online here.
To find out more, including ticket information and booking, FAQs, programme details, opening hours and access information, see below.

Explore Gloucestershire
6 March 2024


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