Unashamedly Old Fashioned Easter Fun at Layer Marney Tower
As far back as our statistics go, there is always a spike in visitor numbers at this time of year. Of course, we are at the beginning of our summer season and one might be forgiven for thinking that people are desperate to get out and about after the long winter months. That might be partly true, but actually what draws them like a magnet to the Tower is the sound of bleating lambs, hungry for their bottle of milk. Bottle feeding the lambs is our most popular event of the season.
It is a simple pleasure, but a chance for people to connect with farm animals in a way they normally never have a chance to do. As I type, the car park is full to overflowing, there are the sounds of happy children running around, not a screen in sight!
But we are not just about bottle feeding lambs. We always have a family Easter Quiz which cunningly encourages our younger visitors to go to every part of the site as they search for clues. Our 2019 Quiz is “Help! Some of our Knights are Missing” There were once at least 22 knights living at the Tower, in Tudor times that is. When Henry VII defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth, the new king banned private armies, but Henry Marney, who built the Tower, was permitted to have 22 knights ready to fight for the king, as he was Captain of the King’s Bodyguard. The backstory of the quiz is that the knights have been in training and are now in the middle of Lent, when Tudors fasted in the 40 days leading up to Easter, as they haven’t been eating much they are grumpy and some have gone missing. The children have to search for the knights, their pictures are hung round about the Tower, all named and work out which ones are missing. Smaller children just search for pictures of knights.
Quiz done it is worth spending a time marvelling at the Crowns and Crests exhibition in the Tower. These are an amazing collection of eclectic Crowns and Crests (45 in total) once on show at St George’s Chapel Windsor. A Garter Knight (who can only be appointed by the Queen) has one of these crests made (or a crown if they are royal) and they are placed above their seats in St George’s Chapel. They remain there until the Garter Knight dies and they are removed. We have the crowns and crests belonging to those who have died in the reign of our Queen. They are brightly painted and quirky, Sir Edmund Bacon has a wild boar for his, a play on his name, Harold Wilson a model of the lighthouse on the Scilly Isles.
There is also a small art exhibition to see, on loan from the Victor Batte Lay Foundation, artists from East Anglia, you may well find favourite local scenes as well as paintings by well known artists.
Don’t miss our huge dolls’ house. On loan to us, all the furniture was made by a remarkable woman, Pat Camp, the detail is amazing and you can spend hours gazing at the tiny objects that Pat has made and the family and staff who live in the dolls’ house.
When you have checked out these things and done the quiz, climbed on the play equipment and maybe sat awhile on one of the benches in the garden, you have probably earned a cup of tea and some of our delicious cake in the Tea Room.
If you come at Easter we have a Toddler Easter Egg Hunt and Egg and Spoon Races for older children. That’s fun too.
So lots to do at Layer Marney Tower. We look forward to your visit.