Bin The BBQ And Celebrate Summer At A Banquet

FOOD lovers looking for an alternative to scorched sausages and burnt burgers this summer are being invited to swap the ‘barbie’ for a banquet.

Six-hundred-year-old Lumley Castle, at Chester-le-Street, is turning back the clock to 1595 with a series of Tudor feasts in the coming weeks, 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 Court and seated on benches for dinner – which is authentically served on planks, 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.                                          

“Lumley’s Elizabethan Banquets are the perfect alternative to the summer barbecue,” said General Manager Christine Gott. “No worrying about the weather, or if the food’s properly cooked – we do all the work, so everyone has a great night out.”

Lumley’s Elizabethan Banquets will be held on 4, 11 and 25 July and 1, 22 and 29 August and cost £35 per person.

To book or for further information call 0191 389 1111, email or visit

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