Full line up confirmed as the Romans get set to return to Chester House Estate

Posted 20th June 2023

A host of experts are on route to Chester House Estate this month, helping visitors step back in time with a two-day programme of talks and demonstrations.

Tickets are going quickly for Roman Festival, organised in partnership with the University of Leicester’s Heritage Hub and set to take place on Saturday, 24th and Sunday, 25th June. With a second batch of tickets now on sale, families are urged to book their FREE tickets promptly to avoid missing out.

Added to the line-up and confirmed this week is a host of talks from experts on many aspects of life in the Roman world.

There will also be two large-scale Roman military demonstrations courtesy of the Ermine Street Guard, who will be donning Roman armour and equipment to showcase aspects of a Roman soldier’s training and artillery, alongside an army camp display.

Visitors will be able to visit Roman themed stalls and craft activities for all the family from a host of different heritage organisations working in Northamptonshire and beyond. The festival also includes the unique opportunity to see an excavation in progress and ask questions of the experts.

The spectacular Ermine Street Guard demonstrations will take place at 11.30am and 3pm on both the Saturday and Sunday.

Cllr Helen Howell, North Northamptonshire Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Sport, Culture, Heritage and Tourism, said: “The line-up is packed full of fascinating speakers and talks from a wide range of individuals and experts in their field, plus re-enactments and demonstrations from the Ermine Street Guard across the weekend.

“The Ermine Street Guard joined us for last year’s event, the re-enactments were exceptional and definitely worth watching, so I am pleased that they will be in attendance once again.

“There will also be the opportunity to get hands on and see some of the amazing Roman objects found in the county – Chester House’s history includes 400 years of Roman life and it is great that visitors will be able to see this in action and through objects that have survived.”

Roman Festival visitors will be able to tour the Estate’s Northamptonshire Archaeological Resource Centre (ARC) and see some of the amazing Roman objects found in the county.

Sarah Scott, Professor of Archaeology, and Heritage Partnerships Director at the University of Leicester, said: “We are excited to be working with the Chester House Estate to deliver this event. Alongside the talks, demonstrations, crafts and activities, visitors will be able to view a live archaeological excavation in progress, handle archaeological finds and talk to the archaeologists involved. There will be something for everyone. Discover amazing archaeology and heritage across the region and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the Roman world!”

Expert speakers will have 30-minute slots in the Estate’s Threshing Barn throughout the festival. Speakers include academics, professional archaeologists and curators from local and regional museums talking about life in Roman Northamptonshire and recent archaeological discoveries and projects across the region.

The following organisations will be running activities, stalls and demonstrations throughout the event: Chester House Estate, Community Landscape and Archaeology Survey Project, Corby Heritage Centre, Cornerstone, Eden Wild, Ermine Street Guard, Leicestershire Museums, Leicester Museums, Middle Nene Archaeological Group, Museum of London Archaeology, My Ancient World Learning Ltd, Northamptonshire Archaeological Resource Centre, Northamptonshire Archaeological Society, Peterborough Museum, Piddington Roman Villa Museum, Roman Trader, Saxby Cider, Trinity Court Potteries, University of Leicester School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester Archaeological Services, University of Leicester and East Midlands Classics Hub and Upper Nene Archaeological Society.

Claudius Way is the estate’s main visitor car park and is accessed through the Prologis Park Wellingborough. Visitors are advised to use the NN8 2DH postcode to find this entrance.

Due to the popularity of Roman Festival visitors are advised to access the site via this main car park. The Lime Avenue A45 entrance will strictly be for blue badge holders only.

Although tickets are free visitors still need to book. Visit https://chesterhouseestate.org/roman-festival-2023/

Chester House Estate is overseen by North Northamptonshire Council and opened to the public in October 2021, following an extensive £17m Nationally Lottery Heritage Funded restoration project.