On a hot inset day, we added Pevensey Castle to our list of English Heritage sites to fit into our year of membership.
Five-year-old Herbie was keen to get into the site where William the Conqueror landed, in between peeing in the bushes in the field outside (there are no toilets on site although there are public ones in the car park next door).
One of EH’s smaller sites, the castle still makes a lovely day out if the weather is fine, and MOST IMPORTANTLY has a gift shop manned by a helpful volunteer so Herbie could peruse the overpriced hats and swords before
haggling wearing us down enough to agree on a plastic helmet and small wooden dagger. Meanwhile, I added to my collection of food and drink that sounds good but that I will hardly ever use – some ginger wine and blackcurrent curd. Herbie and one-year-old Gus are at least eating the curd as I’ve told them it’s knights’ jam. Re-reading that, I’ve realised that actually sounds gross…
Pro tip for the adults is to get an audio tour, which, as well as being entertaining (particularly the heroic attempt at an American accent by the narrator when depicting the site’s use as a garrison for soldiers in the Second World War), is also a great way to saddle your other half with the kids whilst you wander around pretending you can’t hear anything.
After a picnic lunch outside the walls, we made our way to the Pevensey Courthouse Museum and Gaol. This is one of the those uniquely British local museums, which as well as revealing the social history of past centuries in the town, also manages to be a time capsule in itself, revealing what museums were like circa 1971 – not a bad thing. It was manned by an enthusiastic lady who told us all about the exhibits and locked Herbie in the dock, only agreeing to let him out with a certificate of release on payment of bail, a clever fundraising technique. In a defiant up yours to health and safety, under the museum are the former cells, which are actually still self-locking, so it’s wise to take someone with you in case you are never seen again.