Bestselling authors, historians and much more at Wimpole History Festival

TV presenter and historian Lucy Worsley will return to the Wimpole History Festival, which also feat

TV presenter and historian Lucy Worsley will return to the Wimpole History Festival, which also features Philip Ardagh. Picture: Phil Mynott - Credit: Phil Mynott

A who’s who from the literary world will appear at this year’s Wimpole History Festival.

Michael Morpurgo will appear at this year's Wimpole History Festival.

Michael Morpurgo will appear at this year's Wimpole History Festival. - Credit: Supplied by Wimpole History Festival

Now in its third year, the 2019 event will run from Thursday, June 20 to Sunday, June 23 at the Wimpole Estate in south Cambridgeshire near Royston.

Writers of screen as well as book will come together to bring the past to engaging life in the idyllic National Trust setting.

Among the 2019 headliners are War Horse author Michael Morpurgo, writer and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg, and historian and TV presenter Lucy Worsley.

Also making a rare appearance will be playwright and Scott & Bailey co-creator Sally Wainwright.

Wimpole History Festival. Picture: Martin Bond

Wimpole History Festival. Picture: Martin Bond - Credit: Martin Bond

Coast presenter Neil Oliver, Colin Grant and Andrew Roberts are also on the line-up.

They will appear alongside practitioners of living history, sword and archery schools, falconry displays and some of the best locally-sourced food and drink available.

Most Read

Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland, who presents BBC Radio 4's history series The Long View, will give this year's keynote speech, while an array of topics across ages and geography will be presented for public delectation.

Tickets for the festival are already on sale, with demand for the events featuring household names expected to be very popular.

The festival has also extended its ambitions, adding another marquee as well as a schools' day on June 20 to its programme.

This third marquee will be dedicated to children, where the festival expects to welcome 600 Key Stage 2 pupils.

Festival director Cathy Moore said: "I am delighted to see how quickly Wimpole History Festival has established itself on the festival circuit.

"I am particularly thrilled at the growing appetite of people of all ages to come together at the magnificent Wimpole Estate over the summer solstice weekend to share their passion for history.

"To feed this appetite we have an even bigger programme this year which includes a Schools' Day where we are set to welcome 600 primary school pupils."

The festival will celebrate the rich panorama of history in all its guises.

Both fun and enlightening, it will also provide crucial context to current events.

Opened by Edward Stourton discussing the BBC during the Second World War, the days will be concluded by the keynote speech, 'Looking Back to Look Forward'.

This will be delivered by journalist and broadcaster Jonathan Freedland, who will call into question our future ability to learn lessons from history given the contemporary cacophony of fake news, post-truth politics and denialism. Where better to discuss the future of history?

The Arrington-based estate, which is just six miles north of Royston, will provide the stunning backdrop to the festival while showcasing regional, national and international stories.

Historian David Olusoga said: "I'm proud to be a patron of this fledgling festival, which feels like it has been running successfully for years.

"This year's programme is diverse, global and spans an impressive arc of history and it brings to Wimpole many of the most exciting historians and writers out there."

Those thoughts were echoed by Paul Forecast, National Trust Regional Director, East of England. He said: "This is the third year of the festival and it is already established as a 'must do' event in the calendar.

"The variety of events and access to the wider estate means that there is something for all ages and interests."

He added: "I am thrilled that we have responded to the popularity of the event for families and added a marquee and new activities for children.

"The festival is ultimately a celebration of stories. Stories of remarkable people, remarkable places and remarkable times.

"I can't wait and look forward to seeing you there."

Other highlights include a performance of Michael Morpurgo's The Mozart Question, about a group of musicians who survived the Holocaust by playing music.

Narrated by the St Albans-born former Children's Laureate and directed by Simon Reade, this event will have music by Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and Vivaldi.

Bart van Es, the winner of the Costa Book of the Year Award 2018, will also deliver an awe-inspiring account of the tragedies and triumphs within the world of the Holocaust's "hide-away" children, and of the families who sheltered them.

Robert Hardman and Lucy Worsley will talk about queens past and present, the former takes Queen Elizabeth II as his subject, while the latter talks on the timely topic of Queen Victoria on the bicentenary of her birth.

Bletchley Park research historian David Kenyon and bestselling author Giles Milton will also discuss the human stories and previously classified documents behind Allied success on Normandy's beaches in 1944.

- Book tickets online at or call 01223 357 851.

Alternatively, visit the box office in person at Cambridge Live Tickets, Wheeler Street, Cambridge.