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The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival Monday 26 June – Sunday 2 July 2017 

See history, Hear history, Feel history 

The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival is on the move. Still very much in the heart of the Wiltshire Chalke Valley near Salisbury, and in an equally stunning location, this June the sound of sword-fighting and mounted cavalry will be heard in Church Bottom, Broad Chalke, for the first time. 


Win a family pass to the festival worth £40 for Saturday 1st July or Sunday 2nd July.  The pass will allow the family to get into the Festival – with access to all the Living History events, the Pop-Up History programme, Air Displays, stalls etc. Click here to enter.

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This coming year we will see commemorations of some very important historical events: the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen, the centenary of the Russian Revolution as well as the Battle of Passchendaele, and the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Now in its seventh year, The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival will be covering all of them this summer, along with a wide range of talks given by some of the finest historical talent in the country. Plus a series of fascinating discussions, debates, and study mornings, which are set to educate and inspire, whatever age you are. 

 

Throughout the week, and at the weekend, the very best living historians will be bringing the past to life and furthering our understanding of our ancestors with an exciting array of demonstrations and activities. On the Saturday and Sunday, historic aircraft will be rolling and twisting in the skies above the Festival in a series of breath-taking air displays. 

The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival is the largest festival in the world devoted entirely to history and attracts a line-up of speakers like no other. The 2017 programme has just been announced and tickets are now on sale. Making their Festival debuts this year, amongst others, are: award-winning lyricist Tim Rice, the last Governor of Hong Kong Chris Patten, revered First World War historian Lyn MacDonald, Britain’s favourite gardener Monty Don, award- winning playwright, novelist and translator Michael Frayn, former Chief of the General Staff. 

 

Richard Dannatt, presenter of R4’s Woman’s Hour Jenni Murray, and geographer and BBC TV presenter Nicholas Crane. Giving history a political twist at the Festival for the first time are: former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Harriet Harman, popular and respected political journalist Andrew Marr, one of the most talented politicians of his generation Ken Clarke, former Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, well-known foreign correspondent and newsreader Michael Buerk, and former Cabinet Minister Kenneth Baker

 

Festival favourites returning once more include: Suzannah Lipscomb, Antony Beevor, Claire Tomalin, Max Hastings, Tracy Borman, Don McCullin, John Julius Norwich, Michael Wood, Artemis Cooper, Charlie Higson, Peter Frankopan, Ben Macintyre, David Owen, John Sessions, Paddy Ashdown, Ben Kane, and Alex Langlands. The full literary programme of over 140 speakers, from eminent professors to household names, can be found here.

 

Dan Snow’s History Hit digital TV channel has become something of a podcast phenomenon and now generates over a million listeners every time a new show is released. Each night at the Festival this year, taking place in the NAAFI tent and in front of a ‘studio’ audience, Dan Snow and James Holland will be hosting a live highlights programme, full of films shot earlier, interviews, features and other history hits. There will be plenty of opportunities for attendees to get involved, and for viewers to engage directly with the show via social media. 

 

The Chalke Valley audiences always extend a warm welcome to the Second World War veterans, and this June the Festival is delighted to be hosting a morning with two Knight’s Cross Winners: Hugo Broch and Günter Halm, and veteran of the entire Eastern Front campaign, Hans Schönfeld. French holocaust survivor Jacques Altmann will also be sharing his extraordinary story, as will the last surviving member of the Long Range Desert Group who fought in North Africa, Mike Sadler. Fighter pilots Keith Quilter and Colin Bell will tell tales of incredible skill and courage whilst flying their planes over enemy territory, as will former Lancaster bomber Rusty Waughman. A special appearance by Hitler’s godson Niklas Frank, when he will be in conversation with co-Chair James Holland, is sure to be one of the highlights of the weekend. 

 

The 2017 Prospect debate will tackle the most thorny of issues, with the motion ‘Nationalism in Britain is a force for ill’. Is it a unifying force that can be harnessed to something good, or is to be feared? Contesting the debate will be a panel of experts, including Professor of History at Cambridge University Robert Tombs and former MEP Daniel Hannan. In addition, the popular series of panels entitled The Long View – where current world issues are discussed by experts through the prism of history – will this year see three highly topical issues analysed: the first will be ‘War With Russia?’ with Malcolm Rifkind, Anne Applebaum and Frank McDonough, the second about Brexit and Britain’s close links to her continental neighbours, with David Owen, Brendan Simms and Lynne Olson, and the third entitled ‘The Challenge to Liberal Democracy’, with James Delingpole and Channel 4 News’s Europe Editor and presenter Matt Frei. All three panels will be chaired by Mary Ann Sieghart

 

The air displays, which take place at intervals on both days at the weekend, are one of the real stand-out moments of the Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival and this year the line-up will include some of the most beautiful and iconic aircraft from the Second World War. The Battle of Britain veteran Hurricane R4118 and the P-51D Mustang ‘Tall in the Saddle’ are already confirmed, as is Britain’s only flying Lancaster. 

 

Commenting on the huge range of events planned for this year, co-Chair of the Festival James Holland said: ‘We’ve got another very broad programme both in terms of talks and discussions as well as a vast array of living history at our exciting new venue in one of the most beautiful corners of England. Celebrated academics and household names will be sharing the spotlight with incredible historic aircraft and some of the very best living historians in the country. It’s a salivating prospect.’ 

 

During the week, and especially at the weekend, the new venue in Broad Chalke will come alive with the sound of sword-fighting, gun-fire and horses’ hooves. This year’s Living History programme promises to be particularly special, with many exciting activities for all the family to do and see. Amongst the living historians (all experts in their field) will be Medieval knights, Vikings and Anglo-Saxons, Celts and Romans, as well as a large Napoleonic encampment with infantry, artillery and even mounted cavalry. There will also be a horse-drawn First World War ambulance as well as a number of other historic vehicles. On the evening of Dress-Up Saturday, after the last talks have finished, the Festival will be hosting a party – free for all – when the fabulous Bombshell Belles will be singing. This will be a chance to step back in time to the wartime years of the 1940s, and to dust off those dancing shoes! 

 

Running alongside the main programme, the Chalke Valley History Festival for Schools sees thousands of pupils, from primary school to sixth formers, visit during the week on special days dedicated to different year groups. Year 6, 7 and 8 pupils will attend on Tuesday 27th June and Thursday 29th June, and Year 10 and 12 students on Wednesday 28th June. Academics, best- selling and television historians will give talks and be on hand to explain secrets from the past, and to encourage pupils to learn and get involved. The wide range of subjects being discussed vary from The English Civil War and The Crusades, to Witchcraft and The Cold War. Guest speakers include Sarah Gristwood, Professor Jeremy Black, Jonathan Fenby and Helen Rappaport

 

The Pop-Up History programme was an instant success when it debuted at the Festival two years ago. Once again this year there will be a series of informal, interactive and free half-hour talks, designed to encourage the audiences to ask questions and feel involved. All they have to do is simply turn up and listen to what the speaker has to say. Also returning again is the popular Children’s Creative History Tent, providing art and craft activities for children aged 6 to 12 throughout the weekend. Plus The History Tellers will be giving free talks – primarily aimed at children – using props and costumes, and recounting tales from our rich historical past. There will be plenty of stalls for some well-earned retail therapy in The Emporium, plus both glamping and camping for those wishing to stay near the site. Book signings will be arranged by Festival partner Waterstones

 

The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival will take place in Church Bottom, Bury Lane, Broad Chalke, Wiltshire, SP5 5DP. For more details about the Festival, please visit the website cvhf.org.uk Tickets can be purchased from here or by calling 01722 781133. 

Follow the news on Twitter at @CVHISTORYFEST and on Facebook, Pinterest and Google+.

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