Leeds Kirkstall Abbey transformed into magical fairyland

The ruins of Kirkstall Abbey were  transformed into a magical fairytale kingdom complete with fairies and goblins this weekend. SAT 18TH AUG 2017
Tinkerbell with some fairies
The ruins of Kirkstall Abbey were transformed into a magical fairytale kingdom complete with fairies and goblins this weekend. SAT 18TH AUG 2017 Tinkerbell with some fairies
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An enchanted fairytale kingdom, sparkling glitter wings and pretty pink tutus - and a princess called Rap who’s too sassy to wait around for her handsome prince to come along.

The dramatic ruins of Kirkstall Abbey were transformed into a fairy kingdom with a difference this weekend, as entertainers took over the grounds of the heritage site. From dance lessons with Tinkerbell to hula-hooping with the fairies and treasure hunts with goblins, there were activities galore for young families, and some added spice for the parents to enjoy. For one of the key characters of any magical re-enactment - Rapunzel - was star of the show with her new sassy personality.

The Caterpiller with Ruby Scales, six of Horsforth

The Caterpiller with Ruby Scales, six of Horsforth

“It’s great fun, and it really is magical,” said Julia Benfield, director of Sneaky Experience which organised the event over Saturday and Sunday.

“The children love the fairies, and the goblins, there’s something for everyone. And we built some bits into the script for parents.

“We’ve tried to keep it away from the stereotypes. These days, it’s not just about waiting to be rescued by your husband. It’s fun to dress up in party dresses, but Rapunzel isn’t waiting around. She doesn’t even like to be called Rapunzel - it’s ‘Rap’ now. She’s not waiting around at the top of her tower for some guy, she’s out having fun with Cinders.”

Around 3,500 people attended the event over the course of two days, taking part in the activities and enjoying the food, drink and craft stalls.

Mabel Swales aged two of Calverley

Mabel Swales aged two of Calverley

There was a fashion show with the Snow Queen, rhyming with Rumplestiltskin and storytelling with the wise Caterpillar. Robin Hood, Rapunzel and Alice in Wonderland were guiding guests along mystical tale trails, and there were pantomime performances from Hook and Peter Pan.

Edie Mahoney, aged three and from Calverley, and Hania Skapska, four of Horsforth, spent time with Rapunzel while Maisie Barker, aged five and from Cookridge, was with the Mad Hatter.

For six-year-old Ruby Scales, of Horsforth, and five-year-old Emily Shirlow, from Headingley, the Caterpillar’s stories were the biggest hit.

Guests ranged in age from as young as two up to eight years old, and Mrs Benfield said around 80 per cent were dressed up for the occasion.

Lily Wilkinson aged five of Pudsey with Alice in Wonderland

Lily Wilkinson aged five of Pudsey with Alice in Wonderland

“Kirkstall Abbey is almost a set in itself,” she said. “It’s such a great environment. Tinkerbell has probably been one of the most popular, everyone has loved the dance lessons. The hula-hooping has been busy, the pantomime has had at least 100 people for every performance. And the adults just loved Rapunzel.”

Mabel Smales, two of Calverley

Mabel Smales, two of Calverley

Rapunzel with Edie Mahoney, three of Calverley and Hania Skapska four of Horsforth

Rapunzel with Edie Mahoney, three of Calverley and Hania Skapska four of Horsforth

Eva Riley, seven of Morley has fun with the Hoop Fairy

Eva Riley, seven of Morley has fun with the Hoop Fairy

The Mad Hatter with Maisie Barker, five of Cookridge

The Mad Hatter with Maisie Barker, five of Cookridge

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