There are two principal areas for picnics at Cowdray
: The Castle and its environs, in paticular Sand Bay on the River Rother and the grassy parkland between the main Cowdray entrance and the Rother Bridge, and Benbow Pond.

Sandy Bay is featured in the book Wild Swimming and is the start-point for the Rother Raft Race. The riverine parkland adjoining it comprises about three acres of grass suitable for picnics. You should park your car in Midhurst's North Street Car Park and walk down the Causeway, pass through the two gates on the Rother Bridge and then turn sharp left and walk along the pressed-grass path inside the low chestnut railings. Sandy Bay is about 100 yards along the river bank. Please take your litter home as there is no bin provided here.

Benbow Pond on the A272 is a few miles east of Midhurst. Half a mile only from the famous 1000 year old Queen Elizabeth Oak, the ponds have integral parking and are thus popular with passing motorists. The swish of cars is continuous as the ponds are only 100 yards from the busy main road; but a 10 minute stroll up a grassy public track away from the road, and which bends left towards the deep valley bounding the golf course, will find you in total peace and quiet. There is a public footpath passing right across a style which takes you within 150 yards of the oak tree if you're interested in seeing this magnificent specimen which played host to Queen Elizabeth 1st when she visted Cowdray Castle for a week long beano in 1591.


Presented by ‘ New France Old England ’

Saturday 30 th & Sunday 31 st May, 10.30am to 5pm .

Come and meet this living history society as they recreate life in colonial America in the 18th century, set against the backdrop of the French & Indian War. It is a time familiar to everyone who has grown up with the much-loved book “The Last of the Mohicans” by James Fenimore Cooper. A wide range of units and characters are portrayed – British, French, and Native Americans – as they would have appeared in mid-18th century North America , when Britain and France battled for control of the continent.

Presented by The Pantaloons

Thursday 11 th June, 7pm

With a cast of just five actors playing twenty roles, silly hats, live music and audience interaction, The Pantaloons’ production of Twelfth Night promises to be a fast-paced, highly physical comedy-romp treading a fine line between reverential order and hysterical chaos! All amongst the beautiful walls of Cowdray. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

Presented by Raven Tor

Sunday 5 th July, 10.30am to 4.30pm

A chance to experience all things Tudor at Cowdray, 500 years since Henry VIII’s accession to the throne. A mixture of Tudor activities and costumes, with combat, cooking, crafts and calligraphy, not to mention the odd fencing skirmish and all kinds of domestic pursuits. A must for anyone interested in the Tudor period.

Presented by the Chapterhouse Theatre Company

Sunday 26 th July, 7pm .

Presented by Chapterhouse Theatre Company, this brand new 10 th anniversary production, a feast of music, song, romance and magic, promises to be one of the most wonderful evenings of family entertainment in the summer of 2009. Bring a picnic! Discounts for groups of 10 or more. Click on image to get an enlargement. Use the expander button which will emerge at the bottom.

Presented by Raven Tor

Sunday 9 th August, 10.30am to 4.30pm

A day for families, with lots of dastardly activities on offer. Have a go at fencing with real swords, witness skirmishes between sworn enemies, learn about combat and derring-do! Plenty of crafty activities to join in, and costumed characters to talk to.

Presented by the Chapterhouse Theatre Company

Wednesday 19 th August, 7pm .

King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table begin their quest for the Holy Grail and the battle begins to save Camelot. Presented by Chapterhouse Theatre Company, this powerful legend comes to life in an evening of magical theatre under the stars. Bring a picnic!
Discounts for groups of 10 or more

Presented by The Mannered Mob

Sunday 30th & Bank Holiday Monday 31 st August, 10.30am to 4.30pm

The Mannered Mob is the 18th Century Re-enactment Group that portrays civilian life between 1730 and 1760. They represent all levels of society from high to low, and their members consist of both men and women who specialise in producing high quality recreations of civilian life. Here at Cowdray you are likely to meet servants and staff, the housekeeper, footmen, nursemaids - possibly even gardener and dairymaids, spinsters and seamstresses - all as they might have been before the fire which put an end to it all in 1793.


Friday 11 th September, 10.30am to 5pm .

Free entry to Cowdray all day!

Come and see the Tudor kitchen in full working order, with demonstrations of traditional cooking and crafts.


Sunday 27 th September, 10.30am to 4.30pm .

Come and experience life in the 17 th Century, in the beautiful surroundings of Cowdray. Food and dining, with reproduction furniture, crockery, cutlery and glassware in use. Cosmetics displayed in all their glorious detail. Skilled needlewomen show many examples of their work. Lace for collars and edgings, embroidery decoration on linens, even garter knitting demonstrated.


Sunday 25 th October, 3pm to 7pm .

A night of entertainments ending in a spectacular firework display, with lots of delicious food stalls and delightful attractions. An event for the whole family.

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