Dover Castle's Second World War Weekend returns for the May bank holiday

by Lauren Abbott

Experience life on the Home Front, relive the blitz with a brew from the Naafi wagon and get the kids to take on Sergeant's infamous assault course.

Dover Castle's extremely popular Second World War living history weekend is back and it's not to be missed.

It's one of the most popular events in the English Heritage attraction's calendar and is running across all three days of the upcoming bank holiday weekend.

Grab a cuppa and learn about life on the Home Front
Grab a cuppa and learn about life on the Home Front

Families will be able to experience the atmosphere and action of the 1940s, which this year will also include 75th anniversary events to mark the D Day landings with new activities and a new theatrical arena show.

Spectators can witness a tense, action-packed battle between the allied and German forces featuring striking pyrotechnics and real-life vintage army vehicles, discover some of the tricks of espionage that were used in Dover in 1944 to deceive the German forces about plans for the D Day landings and meet the soldiers at military encampments from both sides of the conflict.

The wartime weekend takes place for three days. Picture by Jim Holden.
The wartime weekend takes place for three days. Picture by Jim Holden.

You will even be able to get up close to a life size replica spitfire.

And life on the Home Front will also be in full swing. Grab yourself a victory roll hairdo at the 1940s beauty parlour, get a strong drink from the Resistance bar and enjoy life music from the Swingtime Sweethearts in the performance tent.

All of the wartime events and activities take place alongside Dover Castle's existing attractions between Saturday, May 25 and Monday, May 27 and tickets booked online by Friday, May 24 will receive a 10% discount. Events run from 10am until 5pm.

See a full run-down of the events programme below:

  • Arena

10.30am - Children’s Exercise Drills

12.00pm - German Firepower Display

12.30pm - Children’s Exercise Drills

1.30pm - The British Tommy, with The Hampshire Regiment

2.30pm - Children’s Exercise Drills

3.30pm - The Epic Battle

4.30pm - Children’s Exercise Drills

  • Performance Tent

11.00am - the Swingtime Sweethearts perform forties favourites

11.30am - Handbags to Hand Grenades - a Special Operations Executive agent goes through her recruitment and training to be a secret agent

12.30pm - Dancing with The Cinque Port Lindy Hoppers

1.00pm - the Swingtime Sweethearts perform favourite forties hits

2.00pm - Moondrop to France -A SOE agent describes jumping from an aircraft and what life was like in occupied France as she helped the French Resistance prepare for D-day

2.30pm - Vintage dancing from The Cinque Ports Lindy Hoppers

3.00pm - the Swingtime Sweethearts perform favourite wartime songs

4.30pm - Visitors can join The Cinque Port Lindy Hoppers as they perform favourites from the Forties

  • Keep Yard

Running all day - Hollywood Howdy Do’s Beauty Parlour. Get a wartime look with a glamorous 1940s hairstyle.

  • Peverell’s Lawn

All day - Children’s WWII Obstacle Course

  • RAF Airfield with the pilots of 212 Squadron

Noon - Fighter Command Operations briefing

2pm - Development of the Super Marine Spitfire

4pm - Bail out over the English Channel

  • History Tellers (By Keep Yard Curtain Wall)

11am ‘The Raid of St Nazaire’ – the gripping story of the St Nazaire Raid or Operation Chariot, the successful British amphibious attack on German-occupied France during the WWII

1pm ‘Engines and Espionage’ – smart Resistance agents who were also racing drivers tell of epic battles

2.30pm ‘Six tales from D Day’ – the History Tellers take visitors back in time with six short stories all about D-Day

  • For more details about booking tickets in advance please click here for Dover Castle's website.
  • Don't miss our huge half term round up of all the family events taking place across the county during the May half term holiday. See them all here.

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