Six-hundred-year-old Lumley Castle, at Chester-le-Street, now a luxury hotel, is turning back the clock to 1595 with a series of banquets, giving diners and partygoers the chance to enjoy a fun-filled night, Elizabethan-style.
On arrival at the castle they are led to the dungeons before being piped into the opulent Baron’s Hall and seated on benches for dinner – which is served by wenches and eaten with a dagger instead of cutlery.
To accompany dishes, such as sticky pork ribs and honey-baked chicken – presented on planks rather than plates - diners are served red wine and mead in earthenware goblets.
Meanwhile, in between courses, the Castle’s Lord Chamberlain entertains diners with tales of yore and local legends – including the sorrowful story of Lily of Lumley who was thrown into the castle’s well, by priests, for refusing to convert to Catholicism and whose ghost has been seen by countless visitors and staff over the years.
Throughout the evening the Lords and Ladies of the Court, dressed in period costume, perform sketches and a variety of songs, from traditional North East folk ballads to a rousing finale of more popular tunes, with diners encouraged to join in when they can.
Finally, guests can round off the evening by dancing to a disco in the dungeon with a special price package also available for those wishing to extend the evening with an overnight stay in one of Lumley’s 73 bedrooms.
“The Elizabethan Banquets really show Lumley at its majestic, historic best,” said business development manager Samantha Buchanan-Robinson. “They’re huge fun and make a great night out for groups of friends or work colleagues.”
Along with its Elizabethan Banquets Lumley Castle hosts regular murder mystery dinners while its nine acres of grounds provide an ideal setting for outdoor activities such as clay pigeon shooting.
In addition, Lumley Castle’s renowned Black Knight restaurant can cater for formal or buffet lunches and dinners and can also offer private dining.
Lumley’s Elizabethan Banquets are held on selected dates throughout the year and cost £35 per person.