Swords of Kings

254 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do

Date of travel

September, 2022

Product name

Sutton Hoo

Product country

United Kingdom

Product city


Travelled with


Reasons for trip


Going to Sutton Hoo and not illustrating the famour helmet (even though it’s a reproduction) seems almost a betrayal. The good news, however, is that soon it will be more authentic than since first reconstructed. The experts at the British Museum have established that its left eyebrow was never backed by gold leaf to give the same radiance as the right. Instead it seems to have represented the blind eye of the great god Woden or Odin, meaning that its wearer was regarded as the god’s earthly representative. How appropriate to be told this while waiting to view the ‘Swords of Kings’ exhibition.
These treasures are part of the Staffordshire Hoard, found a few years ago in a field beside a Roman road. Nobody knows why the hoard was buried: it may have been loot; the destruction of Christian items suggests this. Few exhibits in ‘Swords of Kings’ are Christian, however. As the title suggests, many are fittings from weapons.
Whether the weapons have been intentionally destroyed – to negate their potency – is another question; they may have eroded.
Nonetheless, because the prestige of weapons was high in the Anglo-Saxon world they were elaborately decorated with gold, garnets and other jewels. In this they rivalled the iconography of religious artefacts. For comparison, a Byzantine crucifix is included beside the weaponry. In itself this is evidence of trade or loot.
Most exhibits are very small although one set has been mounted to show how its parts would have adorned different sections of a sword handle. There are also more pacific decorations such as the two fish apparent swimming in opposite directions. The shoulder clasp is one of a pair.
Some of the items in the exhibition, which continues unti 31 October, are from the site ar Sutton Hoo, others are from the Norwich Museum. On permnent display is another example of the wide-reaching contacts made by the Anglo-Saxons. As well as the garnet decorations, some of which came from Sri Lanka, there is a golden bowl decoated in relief with exotic animals, for example a lion. This is thought to be from Bysantium (now Istanbul), and may have been an object of trade or again loot. The exhibition is highly recommended, as is the renovated site itself, with a viewing tower giving splendid views on not only the burial ground of kings but also their distant commercial counterpart, the container port at Felixstowe.


Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.