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Jester School and Tudor living history among the summer fun at historic venue in Coventry

Families are being invited to dance like it is the Tudor times or behave like a jester as a historic Coventry attraction celebrates the summer holidays with an exciting programme of medieval music, dance and games.

St Mary’s Guildhall, based in the city’s historic Cathedral Quarter, is bringing 16th Century entertainment to life through music and games as part of its new Music and Merriment series of events, running throughout the summer holidays.  

Youngsters are challenged to complete the Guildhall’s Jester School – running every Wednesday in the school summer holiday, where budding entertainers can attempt to learn from the Guildhall’s guest jester how to spin plates, juggle balls or hula hoop – to impress Tudor kings and queens.  

Music and Merriment runs from 26 July 2023 to 3 September 2023, with the Jester School running from Wednesday 26th July to Wednesday 30 August, with sessions every hour from 10:30am to 12:30pm with the last session at 2pm.

Immersive Tudor living history days are held on Tuesday and Thursday throughout the holidays and families can explore the historic venue, gaining insight into life in 16th Century England including visits to the Guildhall’s Medieval kitchen – one of the best-preserved historic kitchens in the UK. 

Whilst in the kitchen, visitors will hear about food and culinary traditions related to historic festivals including Lammas, which celebrates the summer grain season with new bread, and Harvest Home, which celebrates the end of the harvest season.  

In the Great Hall, children can also dust off their dancing shoes and have a go at popular Tudor folk dances such as the English Sellenger’s Round, the French Farandole dance and clog dancing.

Children can also explore the hall’s Tudor themed games and puzzles, with the kitchen and courtyard featuring everything from Put and Take, Game of the Goose, rope quoits and Three Men’s Morris, a strategy game similar to tic tac toe which visitors can take away.  

St Mary’s Guildhall, which is managed by No Ordinary Hospitality Management (NOHM), dates back to 1352 and is widely regarded as one of the finest medieval guildhalls in the country. It miraculously survived the 1940s blitz and is home of the famous Coventry tapestry, which is over 500 years old and is thought to be the oldest tapestry still in its original place in Britain. 

Abi Moore, venue manager of St Mary’s Guildhall, said: “We are very excited to launch a new program of summer activities, which explores the Medieval period through music, dance and games. 

“The programme of events is a perfect day out for all the family and immerses visitors in summer festivities and activities that were often held at the hall in Tudor times.

“Activities include an insight into life as a court jester and the chance to try out popular dances and games from the time period, with guests also able to explore our wonderfully restored medieval kitchen and learn about the rich history of summer festivals in medieval times.

“To complete the culinary experience, visitors can also enjoy a range of delicious treats in the Tales of Tea restaurant, including children’s lunch and afternoon tea’s set in the atmospheric Guildhall Undercroft.

“We are looking forward to welcoming people of all ages this summer as we travel back to the music and food from the medieval period.”

For further information or to book visit 

The recent major package of restoration and refurbishment at St Mary’s Guildhall has been made possible through the Cultural Capital Investment Fund resourced by Coventry City Council, Arts Council England, and the Government’s Getting Britain Building Fund through Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and with the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players.