2021 Roadmap

We are really thrilled to be able to announce our intention to hold the history festival this year in June.

It will be a slightly shortened version, running from the afternoon of Wednesday 23rd to the evening of Sunday 27th June. As usual, it will be held at our beautiful venue in Broad Chalke, near Salisbury in Wiltshire. We are also delighted that it will be one of the first big ‘live’ events of the summer, starting just two days after the proposed lifting of Covid restrictions on 21st June.

After much consultation with the relevant authorities and key stakeholders, the five-day event – only made possible after receiving a generous grant from the Arts Council Culture Recovery Fund – will take place in accordance with Government guidelines, with strict health and safety regulations in place where necessary.

Due to government guidelines, there will be restrictions on the number of tickets for sale this year. We would strongly advise you to book tickets early to avoid disappointment.

Our plan is to focus events around two big marquees – with socially distanced seating – and a wider, entirely outdoor programme that will include two new amphitheatre-style stages that will host talks and panels as well as the large tents.

The festival will offer its usual amazing line-up of talks, topical debates, living history and activities for children, with eminent historians and household names all bringing history to life. Among those already confirmed are Max Hastings, Margaret MacMillan, Tracy Borman, Antony Beevor, Rana Mitter, Neil Oliver, Rowan Williams, Vince Cable, Michael Wood and Antonia Fraser.

Margaret Thatcher’s biographer, Charles Moore, will conduct a ‘Whodunnit’ on the toppling of the Iron Lady while our foremost playwright, Sir Tom Stoppard, will be grilled by his biographer, Hermione Lee.

Charles Spencer examines Norman treachery while Lady Anne Glenconner reflects on life as lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret plus the day she accompanied the new Queen up the aisle of Westminster Abbey for the Coronation.

Our Outdoor Programme will include an extensive living history programme, which will swell spectacularly at the weekend. Scarlet-tunics will rub shoulders with Iron Age Celts, Roman, medieval longbow-men and Tudor households. There will be duelling, 16th century cookery, brewing, the exoticism of the spice trade and demonstrations of life and medical care in both world wars. 
There will also be later evening historical storytelling around crackling fires, as well as more performance-related events. The stunning valley location will offer a midsummer return to a spectacular celebration of history with all the accompanying array of food, drink, music and camping that are normal features of the June festival.

“It’s just going to have that wonderful jamboree party feel with tents and flags and archery and lots of living history. Think of it as a return to the sunlit uplands.”
James Holland, Chairman

We all hope you will be as excited about the festival as we are. It will be a fabulous chance for families to go out, have fun, meet friends across the spacious layout of the site and to soak up some culture in a safe environment. It goes without saying that the safety of all those attending will be our upmost priority. 
There will not be a physical Festival for Schools this year. Instead, the festival will be creating a wealth of specifically generated content ready for the start of the academic year in September. This will include filming curriculum-based talks from leading academics and historians relevant for students in Years 10 and 12, and also delivering a mass of filmed material for Years 6, 7, and 8. In this way the festival will provide a long-term, free digital resource in line with the aims of the Chalke Valley History Trust.

The Chalke Valley History Festival is one of the jewels in the crown of the area’s cultural life, It is wonderful news that it can proceed this year. It will be a huge boost to the morale of both history buffs and the many local businesses, which supply and support the festival.
John Glen, MP for Salisbury

The full programme, and more detailed information about what’s in store this year, will be unveiled soon.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday 19th May and will be released two days earlier on the 17th May to the Friends membership.