Saturday 25 May (10am-5pm) Sunday 26 May (1.30-5pm) and Monday 27 May (10am-5pm)
Oak Apple Day at The Commandery brings a traditional celebration back to life, telling the tale of Charles II’s flight from the Battle of Worcester through living history and spring-inspired family fun, on the last weekend in May.
The spectacular Grade I listed Commandery in Worcester will see its medieval Great Hall festooned with garlands of oak leaves, its gardens filled with Morris dancing, garden games and living history, and will delight guests with historical tours and talks to take them back in time during the late May bank holiday weekend. Families can get crafty colouring in a Charles II portrait that can be hidden in the oak tree in the great hall.
The Commandery Worcester is one of the only venues in the UK to still celebrate the spring tradition of Oak Apple day, also known as Restoration Day, when the monarchy was restored in 1660. Worcester has a particular connection with the tale of Oak Apple Day, for Charles II hid from Parliamentarian troops in an oak tree in 1651, after his Royalist cause was lost at the Battle of Worcester. He returned to the throne 9 years later on his thirtieth birthday, the 29th May 1660, which became celebrated as ‘Oak Apple Day’.
As part of the celebration, children and adults would wear oak leaves and ‘oak apples’ (a small round gall made by wasps) on their clothing. Those who didn’t do this would risk being pinched, pelted with birds’ eggs or thrashed with nettles.
Oli Carey, Commandery Museum Attendant, said: “Oak apple day is a wonderful spring celebration that local families love, and really brings to life some of the amazing stories from The Commandery’s history. We are really proud to be one of the only places still celebrating this traditional spring tradition.”
The following week in half term, children can learn about the development of warfare and firearms in the ‘Arrows to Artillery’ sessions. There will be live demonstrations as well as talks on weapons through the ages. Children will also be able to make their own bullet pouches during the week.
As well as the Oak Apple day activities visitors can explore the Civil War story and discover the history behind the Battle of Worcester.
Worcester Residents can buy an annual ticket for The Commandery, which includes entry to Oak Apple Day and many other exciting events throughout the year from £5.
The Commandery is open Tuesday – Saturday (10am – 5pm) and Sundays (1.30 – 5pm).