Feasting with Henry VIII and his royal subjects was not how I ever envisioned spending an evening. But a couple of weeks ago, in the historic area of St Katharine Docks , we did just that. A four course meal, unlimited red wine and ale, and entertainment fit for a king awaited us at the Medieval Banquet.
We were led underground, past coats of armour and a wall lined with swords, into the depths of the Banquet, where rows upon rows of long tables were waiting to be filled. We took our seats next to where all the action would be, hoping that the other people joining our table were in the mood for a fun evening.
As the place started to come alive with more guests, the noblemen and women wandered around talking to visitors, asking us which distant land we had come from and bidding us a good evening.
Most of the other guests came in large groups for a birthday, hen or stag night – the perfect place for a big celebration. People excitedly scanned the rows of fancy dress outfits like big kids, wanting to hire some medieval attire for the occasion. I suggested I get a crown and Mr Ayla a jester hat but for some reason he didn’t seem too keen on the idea (I have no idea why – he’d make the perfect jester and we all know that I’m a Disney princess under cover), so we satisfied ourselves instead by giggling at all the other guests who were kitting themselves out.
There were a few rules for the evening and the fear of being beheaded by the very serious looking Henry VIII made sure we followed them.
Firstly, when we needed our jugs of wine or mead topped up, we were to shout out “Wench!” Admittedly, I felt a bit too rude to do this so gladly left it to the other gentlemen at the table who, after a couple of glasses, were perfectly happy to shout out at the wenches. Secondly, we were to show our appreciation by banging our fists on the table; and, lastly, no throwing food. Clearly the health and safety here is a tad more up to date than it was in medieval times.
Not only are the tables communal but so is the food, and we passed the first course – a big bowl of creamy vegetable soup – around the table each filling up our individual bowls. Realising that we wouldn’t be getting any spoons, we tore off chunks of bread from the big loaves to mop up as much of the soup as we could and the rest we drank straight out of the bowl. This banquet really was medieval and it’s the one place you don’t need to be ashamed about bad table manners!
Course after course continued arriving in front of us – cheese and meat platters, chicken with roasted potatoes and vegetables and, finally, a deliciously warm fruit pie with cream.
I did think that having to dish up our food from the same serving bowls as total strangers might be a bit awkward but there was always plenty to go round and the wenches were happy to fill our bowls up if we needed more.
I’m not sure if we’re just lucky in these situations or if it’s just down to both of us being genuinely friendly people (yes, we really are just that nice) but we always meet some great people on these sorts of adventures. We were joined with some like-minded travellers from New Zealand who we shared stories and drank wine with all night.
Between each course we were entertained by jugglers and acrobats, troubadours and minstrels (or poets and singers to your 21st century ears), all performing impressive stunts and tricks that completely held our attention until the next round of food appeared in front of us.
After copious amounts of food and wine, everyone cheered uproariously as two knights battled it out in a sword fight, and when the dancing wenches dragged people up to join in the celebrations, we laughed in surprise as the music took a slight detour from the medieval theme and suddenly switched from Greensleeves to Rihanna. After all that wine we were ready for a dance to end off the most fun night out we’ve had in ages.
Have you been or would you like to go to the Medieval Banquet or any other themed evening like this one? Let me know in the comments below or at:
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Big thanks to The Medieval Banquet who hosted our night. Despite all the wine (and the sore head the next morning), our entertaining evening of festivities is one I won’t be forgetting any time soon!
27 thoughts on “An Evening of Festivities at the Medieval Banquet”
Wow…sounds so interesting and FUN! I went to a medieval ‘fayre’ in Johannesburg last year. Wasn’t as fancy as your do, but was fun nevertheless. People came dressed in all sorts of costumes (dogs too!) and there were some interesting stalls selling potions. Here is my post if you are interested.
That sounds like lots of fun too, I’ll have a read of your post! I love a chance to get dressed up – it brings out the big kid in all of us 🙂
This looks like an absolutely hilarious night out! I think I’d be a little shy about the whole themed situation at first but no doubt once that mead got flowing… hahaha!
They didn’t really get the audience involved until the end when they got people up to dance and by that time the wine and mead would have worked its magic and you’ll be raring to join in!
ive never tried a ‘themed’ restaurant. Seems like this one ticked the boxes!
It was so much fun! You should try one out 🙂
I’ve often been past this place but never been in, looks like a lot of fun. What faraway land did you say you were from?
Suze | LuxuryColumnist
Maybe you should take a look next time! I’m from the county of Kent my lady 😉
When we lived in England, Rich had a flat in St Kats Docks and has done this twice and raved about it! He never took any photos though so it was great to get an insight into what the night entails! Looks like so much fun (and a great excuse to eat a lot of food…)
Follow Your Sunshine
You may have to try it with him next time you’re back in London then. It was super fun and yes all the food and wine was an added bonus 🙂
Read about this place a few weeks ago and it sounds like my perfect evening out – I thought they only did corporate events, but I’ll have to get a group together!
No anyone can go to this no matter how big the group size is! I would say going as a bigger groups is better than going as a couple purely because it is so much fun. But we still really enjoyed our evening talking to others 🙂
That sounds like great fun! Do you know if they have veggie options? I LOVE the fact you can dress up, so you can go all Blackadder on it! Brilliant!
Yes, they have a vegetarian menu so check out their website and maybe give it a try when you’re next in London. It was so much fun!
Ok, thanks Ayla! Great to hear!
This looks hilarious, I have to try it (I’d totally be in there with the costumes too after a couple of wines!).
So much fun! The wine flows all night long so I’d love to see what medieval costume you’d pick out!
Haha, this looks brilliant! Would loved to have seen Alex in a jester hat though 😉 From the comments above I think a #travelbookclub night out might be in order!
Yes please! That would be an awesome place for a blogger meet up!
What a delicious riot of an evening!
Delicious and riot are two words that sum up this evening perfectly!
This sounds great fun! I write medieval poems for weddings so love finding out about new medieval experiences!
You would love this then!
That’s amazing!!! I always wanted to do something like this!!
How cool and fun. I have once eaten in a cave medieval restaurant in Bratislava, but nothing like this. I am surely saving up the name for when I go to London 😀
Ooh that sounds like fun! I may have to add that to my bucket list! Yes, definitely do this next time you’re in London 🙂
It’s on my list!! I’m sure W will love it too hahah 😀