Members of the public will be encouraged to don their medieval thinking caps from this weekend as an outdoor adventure game launches in Ludgershall.

The escape-room style activity sees visitors challenged to locate 10 gold coins hidden around Ludgershall Castle by solving a series of challenges and puzzles. Actors will portray King Henry III and Sir Oswald the Knight, who will assist and infuriate participants in equal measure as they try to find the hidden treasure.

The launch is part of a national rollout of outdoor adventure games by AdventureOut! Games and English Heritage, with various historic sites across the country playing host to these quests.

AdventureOut! Games’ founder, Ian Cox, said: “This site is the culmination of six months hard work by our amazing team. We are delighted by the game and are looking forward to rolling out over 35 games across England.

The games are a unique combination of puzzles to solve and things to do, based in beautiful historical sites that are hundreds, if not thousands, of years old. We feel very fortunate to be able to offer exciting and challenging games in these unique parts of England”.

Ludgershall Castle dates back to the late 11th Century, when it was constructed by the Sheriff of Wiltshire. However, evidence on the site suggests an Iron Age fort may have been present over 1000 years earlier.

In around 1100, the castle became the personal possession of the King, with much of the stonework built around this time. King John improved the castle in 1210 as he regularly used it while hunting in nearby woodland.

However, his son Henry III was the most fond of the site, visiting at least 21 times. Between 1234 and 1251, he built royal apartments, a new great hall, and laid out parks for hunting and for tournaments,

The castle passed down through the royal family, but by the 14th and 15th centuries they stopped visiting, and most of the site was levelled in the 1540s, though the tower remained as a garden feature. It was then excavated in the 1960s and 1970s to give the site as it is today.

With the launch of the game, Henry III will be returning to his favourite haunt, and challenging visitors to find 10 gold coins in an hour. Win, and visitors keep the money, but lose, and they have to pay him 10 more coins.

Another actor will portray Sir Oswald, described as a knight who may not be acting in visitors’ best interests.

These actors will give help when they think it is needed, or when asked, in order to ensure everyone has a good time during the activities. The game is designed to be Covid-safe, with all props sanitised after each game, and gloves and masks available for players to use.

While turning up on the day is possible, booking ahead is strongly advised. The game will debut on Sunday, May 2, and will run until at least September.

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