Kynren: An Epic Tale of England Review.

August 23, 2019

Kynren is a live action show that takes in the history of England from the Romans to the present day.

Have you been to Kynren yet? You have to go to this amazing must see show. Read on to find out why you should visit Kynren this year and get my guide on how to make the most of your experience.

We were sent press tickets to experience the show.

Fireworks at the end of Kynren

What is Kynren?

Kynren is a live action show which spans over 2000 years of history, myth and legend in and around the North East area. It is like nothing you have never seen before. There is a cast of over 1000, mainly volunteers who star alongside animals. It really brings history to life.

Think Hollywood blockbuster with epic special effects in the outdoors and you will only get a vague idea of what is in store. It is an amazing show, the like of which you will not find anywhere else. It is no wonder it has so many 5* Tripadvisor reviews.

You may remember we went to Kynren last year. This year my parents were visiting and we all went. They were blown away by the whole experience. Every year has a different theme. This year is the year of the Viking and a lot of the show is different.

The Kynren Experience

Where is Kynren?

Kyren is in Bishop Auckland in County Durham, about 45 minutes drive from our home in Tyneside. Once you get there is is really easy to find the correct car park. Signposts clearly indicate where to go. You need to pre-book your car park when you book your tickets.

Parking and the Shuttle Bus

There are four car parks, car park C, E and H and Blue Badge Car Park A. You can walk to Kynren from car parks C and E. We were in car park C and it is about a fifteen minute walk to the show area. Some of the landscape is quite steep.

Shuttle bus services are available from car parks C, E and H. You need to book your tickets when you book your car park. It is definitely worth paying the extra as the shuttles are well run and make things easier.

What time should I arrive?

There is plenty to do before the show starts so it is a good idea to arrive early. This gives you time to take in the pre-show attractions and enjoy the atmosphere.

The pre-show attractions are open 3.5 hours before the show starts. Kynren advise you get to your car park at least one and half hours before the show starts and leave plenty of time to get through the security checks.

It is a good idea to check what you can bring before you go, for example rucksacks are not allowed. You can find more information on the Kynren plan your visit page.

Food court

If you are hungry you can stop for a snack in the 1940’s food court. Songs from the era play in the background and bar staff are in 1940’s dress. There is a wide range of food and drink available at varying prices. We didn’t stop here as we ate before we went out.

Visit the Viking Village and see the animals

This year you can visit the Viking village before the show. It gives a good insight into Viking life, when they were not out marauding. It is really interesting to see the Vikings cooking, weaving and working wood. There is even a blacksmiths with chain mail being made.

The village has some animals, including donkeys and some very unusual curly haired sheep with dreadlocks.

On leaving the Viking village you go past the animal croft where you get to meet some of the animals who star in the show. I would advise going early as the animals are taken away near the start of the show. We got to see some of the cattle before they left.

House in the Viking Village at Kynren
A Viking lady standing in front of a tent and a group of vikings outside a hut in the background in the Viking Village
Two blacksmiths beside a forge in a viking hut at the viking village
Two sheep with dreadlocks in the viking village at Kynren. They are grazing by a shed.

Read more: Vikings at Lindsifarne

Kynren – the show

Kynren takes place in the open air on a seven and a half acre stage with a lake against the backdrop of Bishop Auckland castle. The audience sit in a wooden tribune which is the length of the stage. It holds 8000 people. The seats are quite close together and not that comfortable.

It doesn’t matter where you sit, there is always something happening on either side of the stage to look at. Shows start when it begins to get dark, so the starting time varies depending when you go. This really sets off the amazing special effects and pyrotechnics you will see during the Kynren.

From the moment the show starts you are taken on an incredible journey. Arthur, the son of a mining family travels back in time to find out the story of us.

The stage at Kynren with Bishop Auckland castle in the background

Watch Boudicca take on the Romans and see the Vikings invade in front of your eyes. See knights jousting and relive the horror of the English Civil War and the first and second world wars. You are swept up as history rushes past in front of your eyes, sets rise and fall in front of you and geese waddle by. The whole show is breathtaking and totally unique.

It really makes you feel proud to be British and you realise how big a part the North East has played in the history of England.

Knights on horseback with banners
Women herding geese at Kynren
Shakespeares barge at Kynren on the river passing in front of the castle

How long is the show

The show lasts for ninety minutes. It doesn’t feel anything like this long as there is so much going on you always have something to look at.

What happens if it rains?

The show will go on. It is advisable that you wear waterproof clothing or take a rain poncho with you. You can bring umbrellas but you can’t use them during the show as it will block the view.

You can buy rain ponchos on site at £5 each.

Who presents Kynren?

Eleven Arches is the force behind Kynren. They are a charity who want to attract visitors to Bishop Auckland and establish it as a tourist destination. They are definitely succeeding judging by the crowds at the show.

The 1000 strong cast and crew of Kynren are mainly volunteers, known as Archers. It must take incredible commitment to turn up to so many performances over the summer months and put on such an amazing show.

The charity takes its name from Newton Cap Viaduct, a bridge with eleven arches that you need to pass to get to Kynren. It is visible from the site.

How do I book tickets for Kynren?

Kynren is on from the start of June until mid-September. You can book your tickets on their website:

Kynren Address

Flatts Farm
Bishop Auckland
County Durham
DL14 7SF

Have you been to Kynren? What did you think? Let me know below.

Why not pin for later?

A guide to visiting Kynren - an amazing open air show that covers 2000 years of British history

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