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Oak Apple Weekend – A Right Royal Restoration

  • 27th May 2017
  • Time: 10:00 - 17:00
  • Location: The Commandery
  • Cost: Adult £5.50, Concessions £4.50, Children (5-16) £2.50, Family Ticket (2 adults & up to 3 children) £13.00. Free for Worcester City Council tax payers (please make sure that you bring your council Tax bill as proof of residency)

Join The Commandery, Worcester for their traditional spring-time celebration of the restoration of the monarchy in 1660.

Saturday 27th, Sunday 28th  and Monday 29th May 2017

(10am-5pm Sat & Mon, 1.30-5pm Sun)

Historic spring tradition Oak Apple Day will be brought to life at The Commandery once again this year. It originated in 1660 as a public holiday celebrating the return to the throne of Charles II after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester, the final battle of the English Civil War.

Festooned with oak leaves, The Commandery will bring this little-known tradition, which was celebrated for 200 years up until Victorian times, to life with participatory maypole and Morris dancing, a living history camp with the Worcester Militia and Restoration period children's games. There's also a chance to see a 17th century football match and meet some curious characters in the old-fashioned coffee shop.

Visitors will want to wear their sprig of oak leaves, as tradition has it that those who didn't were thrashed with nettles!


(Events happen through the bank holiday weekend unless otherwise specified)

  • Mr & Mrs Pepys will read excerpts from Samuel Pepys' famous diary
  • Join in with 17th century football in the gardens
  • Visit the 17th century Coffee House talk and demonstration
  • King Charles II receives his public (Sun & Mon only)
  • Try your hand at traditional pub games in the Royal Oak Ale Tent.
  • Watch Bedcote Morris perform and have a go at joining in (Mon only)
  • Musket salutes for the King
  • Fight for the King - a demo of 17th century weapons of the day
  • Enjoy the humorous mummer's play
  • Find out about the escape of Charles Stuart after the Battle of Worcester
  • Immerse yourself in history the living history camp with Worcester Militia

Family Activities

  • Try your hand at Maypole dancing
  • Enjoy popular 17th century children's entertainment and games
  • Have a go at Oak Leaf woodcut printing*
  • Decorate a woodland mask for the mummer's play*
  • Follow the Scavenger Hunt around the building
  • Have-a-go archery in the gardens (Sun only)*

*A small charge applies for crafts & archery to cover costs

Commandery Coffee

Make sure that you support the newly opening Commandery Coffee for their amazing artisation coffee and cake during your visit. They will be getting into the spirit with 17th century costumes all weekend too!

Happening Today, 25th May 2017

Characters from the Collection

Location: City Art Gallery and Museum

Time: 10:30 - 16:30

Cost: Free

This new display around the museum's atmospheric balcony cafe brings out a selection of rarely-displayed paintings from the museum collection and introduces their accompanying stories.

From film stars to artist's muses to great Worcester leaders, the Worcester City museum collection includes pictures of many interesting characters, ones you'll know and ones you won't. 

David Cox and his Contemporaries

Location: City Art Gallery and Museum

Time: 10:30 - 16:30

Cost: Free

Enjoy the beautiful landscapes of David Cox and his contemporaries Turner and Constable in an exhibition exploring Cox's position in the great age of British watercolour painting.

Discover the vibrant art scene of the West Midlands during the nineteenth century through the work of Birmingham born David Cox.

Renowned for his landscape paintings, this exhibition explores the artists that influenced Cox, as well as the influence that his own work and writing had on watercolour painting, landscape art and the vibrant artistic communities of the Midlands. Bringing together Worcester's amazing collection of paintings by Cox with works high profile loans by Turner and Constable from the British Museum, this exhibition uses rarely displayed artworks to explore Cox's place as a world class artist.

Taking the story of making and collecting art into the 21st century, the exhibition will also host work by recent graduates as part of New Art West Midlands 2017, accompanied by a selection of works from the Worcester City collection acquired through the Contemporary Art Society.

Download artist's guide to David Cox

Download children's guide to David Cox 

Enquiring Minds

Location: City Art Gallery and Museum

Time: 10:30 - 16:30

Cost: Free

Visitors can discover and celebrate this rather special period from Worcester's past in this exhibition drawn from the museum collection and some special items on loan.

Seemingly impossible engineering feats, global wildlife explorations, early investigations into iron-age man, world-renowned artist sketching trips: all these amazing activities were happening in Worcester a hundred and fifty years ago. Worcester was a burgeoning cultural city in a busy changing landscape.

Exhibition highlights are drawings by naturalist John Gould, land- and cityscape watercolours by artist HH Lines and local artefacts discovered by famous archaeologist Pitt Rivers. 

Hartlebury Castle’s History as a WWI Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital: 'A Happy Convalescence'

Location: County Museum at Hartlebury

Time: 10:00 - 17:00

Cost: Adults £5, Seniors £2.50, Children (aged 5-16) £2.50, Family Ticket £13 (admits 2 adults & 2 children)

Stories of fun, friendship and romance that offered a brief respite from the front lines for injured soldiers sent to recover at Hartlebury Castle Hospital.

The exhibition will feature real objects from the trenches, including gas masks, cigarettes and even a surgeon's kit used at the front. The exhibition has been curated from Museum Worcestershire’s collection along with loans from George Marshall Medical Museum, The Mercian Regiment Museum and from local people.

A Happy Convalescence, is part of the Worcestershire World War One Hundred project.

Find out more

The County Museum at Hartlebury closes Mondays.

Please visit the County Museum at Hartlebury page for opening information

Young at Art: Planet Mobiles

Location: City Art Gallery and Museum

Time: 10:30 - 12:00

Cost: £3.00 per child – payable on the day. No booking required.

Looking for a hands-on, stimulating and fun toddler session? Come and enjoy exploring, listening and making sessions for the Under 5s based at the Art Gallery and The Hive on a Thursday morning.

Young at Art is a partnership with Worcestershire Libraries and sessions are tailored for the under 5s and will cover exploring, listening & making.

Discover more events