1128 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

September, 2017

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

On your own

Reasons for trip

I had read Riversiderouge’s “review”: last year and decided this was something I had to do.

Sometimes long awaited treats don’t live up to expectation, but this one did – in buckets full. It was everything Riversiderouge described and more. It was WONDERFUL with sounds, light and smells assaulting all the senses. The classic words by John of Gaunt from Richard II set the scene for something very special.
“This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise”

As the words died away, a small boy kicking a football in the way all small boys feel compelled to do ran across the arena followed by two little girls. As all boys do he kicked a goal, managing to break a window. When asked why his response was “this place is so boring – nothing happens here….” Then the magic began. A mist arose from the lake (liberal use of solid carbon dioxide) and the Time Portal rose out of the lake with clock going backwards. Joseph of Arimathea strode across the Lake to plant the rose of Glastonbury which magically grew out of the water.

It just got better and better as dusk turned to night. There were so many memorable moments – the floodlit castle appearing on the horizon. The arrival of the Roman legions. William the Conqueror in his floodlit boat across the Lake. The Medieval fare with jousting knight in armour on horseback racing full tilt trying to hit the quintain. The harvest festival with bucolic scenes of people dancing, men scything or sawing tree trunks, cows and sheep. In dramatic contrast, Stephenson’s Locomotion trundled along pulling wagons loaded with happy cheering people and frightening the horses.

The Industrial Revolution also brought disasters and the massive mine explosion really did wake up the audience. Horses and carts carried the coffins to Durham Cathedral which was the only place large enough to hold the bodies. (Visit to find the Miner’s Memorial to the Durham miner’s who have lost their lives down the pit.) Arcs of light formed three arches in the sky with round stained glass windows in the centre of each one and the smell of cordite lingered in the air. A real tear jerker of a moment.

The First World War was recorded by letters from a soldier to his loved telling the story of the Christmas Day truce and football match, complete with light effects of falling snow. Peace was celebrated by the Miner’s Gala, still an annual event, with brass bands and colliery banners.

There were the unforgettable words of Winston Churchill during the Second World War, with the peace celebrations bringing us back full circle with the little boy kicking his football and a grand finale of all the 1500 strong cast as well as the 33 horses, flock of sheep, pair of oxen a donkey and a gaggle of geese plus a firework display that lit up the sky. What an evening – it had taken us from the heights of euphoria to the depths of pathos. It had stirred the imagination and made us proud of our heritage….

As it ended I just wanted to sit and absorb the atmosphere and was amazed/horrified by people getting up to go. I was reminded for the scrabble for the exit in the cinema to escape before the National Anthem was played.

Before finishing, I want to say a word of praise about the organisation. It was a major logistic exercise and the organisation was superb. There was nose to tail traffic arriving for the car parks and a steady stream of pedestrians before the show. It was a bit like going to a major football cup match with all the crowds. It was a very happy and relaxed atmosphere with none of the football rowdiness to spoil it. Security was tight with armed policeman and sniffer dogs.We were asked not to take backpacks on site and were given a clear plastic bag for belongings. There were armed policeman and sniffer dogs around. Handbags were checked before we entered the site.

It was pitch dark when we left and there were plenty of marshalls around to make sure everyone found their ay back to the right car park. Fleets of local buses were waiting to take pedestrians home and traffic moved quickly and smoothly. It really was a well run occasion.

I was using a small point and click camera and was surprised how well the pictures turned out considering they were taken from half way up the stand avoiding people’s heads.

Would I go again – yes if given the chance. There is so much happening across such a large area that it is difficult to take in and remember everything. The moulded plastic seats were a lot more comfortable than I had been led to believe. The ninety minute performance flew by.


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