Being on the road constantly and living a life of no-fixed-abode is the life we currently live and exactly how we want to live it. But the one major down-side to that life is that we don’t get to see our three wonderful sons as often as we would like to. To tell you the truth we would love to see them every single day or at least every week but they all have busy lives and we of course are never around when they seem to be free.
So we try extremely hard to organise visits and events with them all as often as possible. Whilst Jo was off on her Pink Ladies Extravaganza in Cambridgeshire I took the opportunity to have a day out with our eldest and youngest sons to the world famous War and Peace Show in Kent.
The War and Peace Revival
Held every year at the Hop Farm in Paddock Wood, the War and Peace Revival is a five day military and vintage festival featuring incredible action-packed battle re-enactments, thousands of original military vehicles, and hundreds of trade stalls selling militaria from all over the world. It isn’t just aimed at military enthusiasts either as it really is an event for the whole family. We’ve been to a couple of previous events so thought a day out at the Hop farm would be a great way of spending a day together. They claim it’s the biggest collection of World war Two vehicles since 1945.
Ryan and I travelled over from Maidstone and Shaun planned to meet us at the show after driving across from Hertfordshire. Amazingly he ended up three cars behind us as we parked so we avoided the endless ‘so where are you’ phone calls.
What sort of people attend the War and Peace Show?
Well it’s obviously a military show so you need to have an interest in 20th century military history or else you could feel a little lost. All three of us have a keen interest so we were loving every minute. There are probably three types of person that attends in my opinion.
- The vast majority of people who have a general interest in history and are just up for a good day out.
- A small number who have a particular interest in the military and military history.
- A minority who have an obsession with weapons and wars.
I think it’s important to differentiate between these groups as the whole showground is full of people wearing authentic historical 20th century uniforms and carrying authentic weapons. The majority of them only carry a weapon as it is part of the look and feel of dressing historically. It’s just a hobby to of these re-enacters and an amazingly sociable one at that. They travel all over Europe, and the world in some cases, with their vehicles and uniforms and colleagues.
Are there a lot of trade stalls?
Hundreds! Selling models and old uniforms and everything you could possibly imagine from the 20th century. They come from all over and the three of us spent hours browsing through the books and historical memorabilia that was for sale on stall after stall. Fascinating.
As well as the trade stalls there are countless food and drink outlets selling a vast selection of tasty treats at fairly reasonable prices. We did unbelievably well in restricting ourselves to just a bacon roll and a drink each although we were all tempted by almost everything on offer!
There is a huge arena at the Hop Farm where they put on shows throughout the day showcasing different vehicles or campaigns. The headline show though was the huge battle at around 3pm where hundreds of soldiers and vehicles re-enacted a major WWII battle in front of a massive crowd. A running commentary that was often drowned out by explosions or machine-gun fire brought the whole show to life. Lots of fun and perhaps a little education for a few.
Does the show glorify war?
That’s a tough one. My boys and I discussed this in detail and came to the conclusion that it in no way glorifies war or fighting at all. It is purely an entertainment show set in a particular period which is all about history. Hopefully a lot of younger people will come away with a lot more knowledge and have had a wonderful day out.
The War and Peace Revival 2018
We spent all day just wandering around the trade stalls and chatting and laughing together. It truly was one of the best days out I have had, such a shame Jo couldn’t have made it here as well as glamping. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea and might even seem a little weird to some but we thoroughly enjoyed the whole day. Not sure any of us are interested enough to buy a uniform and dress up as a paratrooper but we’ll definitely be back in the future.
To cap a brilliant day we met up with Sam and Tabitha and Shaun’s wife Katie later on up in Bromley for a few drinks and some food. A fabulous, fabulous day out.
Dark Tourism after the event
A few days after our visit whilst staying at Shauns in Hitchin we watched an episode of the Channel 4 show Dark Tourism. This is a great documentary-type show about strange places that tourists visit around the world. Often macabre and a bit uncomfortable the episode we watched featured the War and Peace Show. They claimed that all the visitors had weird obsessions with war, death, and weapons. Made it look extremely weird. It wasn’t actually. It was just a lot of very normal people sharing an interest in history (plus the odd weirdo of course). Great show though.