Kynren & 11Arches Park 2021 | Tips & Advice for Visiting with Kids

*Post originally published in 2017 and last updated in April 2021. I have worked with Kynren in the past, this post has not been paid for.

Kynren is back and bigger and better than ever before. We have watched the show several times now and would 100% recommend to anyone interesting in English History, Local History or just wants an evening of spectacular entertainment which will blow your socks off. 

I recommend the show for children aged 5+, simply because it is on fairly late, can get chilly and there are loud bangs and fireworks but if your younger children are fine with these things, there's no reason why they can't visit too. The show is anything but boring. 

This year, the wider 11Arches Park opens which by the looks of it, is suitable for the whole family and all ages to enjoy. 

What's New for 2021

Kynren is now just part of a wider 11Arches park. You can buy a ticket to Kynren (the evening show) only or 11Arches Park (the afternoon/early evening entertainment) only or buy a ticket to both and make a day of it. There are several options for add-ons too. 

New 11Arches Park 

Expect thrilling shows, immersive experiences, relaxing escapes, places to play, explore, eat and drink. Experiences include: 

  • The Maze of Fame - an immersive outdoor walk-through attraction featuring familiar characters from history. 
  • Fina and the Golden Cape (4pm show) - a 50 minute show featuring heroes, villains, bravery, magic, chariot racing, jousting, trick riding and more.
  • A Viking Village - walk through a replica Viking Village and rub shoulders with traditional craftspeople.
  • Kids Viking Lair - A Viking themed adventure playground for kids with water play and a willow ship
  • Dancing waters - watch the lake come to life as it dances to the classics
  • The Animal Croft - meet the animals who star in Kynren 
  • Georgian Shop - discover unique gifts and souvenirs 
  • Rose Walkway - enjoy this striking and beautiful walkway

11Arches Park - Need to Know 

  • 11 Arches Park will be open every Saturday from 7 August - 11 September with plans to open fully in 2022. 

  • The Fina and the Golden Cape show is always at 4pm, a schedule of other timings will be published 2 weeks prior to the event. 

  • Tickets go on general sale from 5pm on 30 April. If you purchase a ticket before 28 May, tickets to 11Arches are just £10 per person. The discount is automatically added at checkout.  
  • Under 3s go free - they will be required to sit on an adults knee during the performances. If you would like to book them a seat, they will need a ticket. 

  • Please note, tickets to 11Arches Park do not include admission to Kynren but you do receive a discount if you choose to buy tickets to both. 

  • Find out more and buy tickets online (from 5pm 30 April) here. 

There are a range of food and drink options available at 11Arches Park including: 
  • A food court by the lake serving a range of food to go
  • Hot and cold drinks from the central bar 
  • Family meals in the family grotto which is close to the Vikings Lair play area
  • Enjoy cream tea in the secret rose garden tearoom 

What to do between 11Arches and Kynren

If you buy tickets to both the 11 Arches Park and the evening show Kyren, there are a few ways to keep yourselves entertained on-site. Including: 

  • Food court, Family Grotto and Secret Rose Garden will remain open for dining
  • Book an elite 3 course dinner in Arches Hall situated at the heart of the venue adjacent the lake and away from the main hustle and bustle of the park.

Kynren 2021 

In 2021, Kynren will take place on the following dates: 

  • Sat 7th Aug - 9pm-10:30pm 
  • Sat 14 August - 8:30pm-10pm
  • Sat 21 August - 8:30pm-10pm 
  • Sat 28 August - 8:30pm-10pm
  • Sat 4 Sept - 8pm-9:30pm 
  • Sat 11 Sept - 8pm-9:30pm 
Tickets range from to £26 (adult) /£16 child to  £60 (adult) / £50 child and can be purchased online now here.  I have sat in the standard seats right at end, the VIP seats and everything in between. If I was buying my own tickets, I would probably buy standard tickets as there are 5 of us and it can work out to be expensive. If it was just Steve and I, I would spend a bit more as you do get a better view if you are seated centrally. VIP is nice for a treat if you don't mind splashing the cash/ it is a special occasion. 

You won't miss anything wherever you sit and will still have a brilliant experience. Bring cushions if you sit in anything other than VIP though as the seats can be hard. 

Sometimes Kynren do bring out ticket offers if sales need a bit of a boost - in the past there have been family deals and kids go free. If you can be flexible with dates, it might be worth holding out to see if any offers are released. Do keep an eye on availability so you don't miss out though. 

Ticket T&Cs: 

  • While it is impossible to predict what government guidance will be in effect at the time of your visit next year in August, it is fair to assume social distancing may still be in place. As a result, seating capacity has been reduced until further notice and it is therefore important you book early to guarantee access to next Summer’s performances.
  • Ticket prices stated in the booking process include booking fees of £1 per ticket.
  • We are implementing current government guidance on bookings.
  • You can select up to 6 tickets in one transaction and a maximum of 9 tickets in multiple orders. Multiple bookings that exceed this limit shall be cancelled without notification.
  • If your party is larger than 6, and all members of your party belong to the same family bubble and/or support bubble, we recommend you book your tickets in separate orders and email us to ask your orders to be linked together to assist the seat allocation process. Click here for details.
  • For bookings of 10 or more, please click here for details.
  • It is the responsibility of the purchaser to ensure your party composition of each booking adheres to government guidelines.
  • In order to adhere to government guidance in effect at the time of your visit, we will allocate seats nearer to the performance dates. 
  • Seats will be allocated on a first booked, first allocated basis.
  • We aim to issue your tickets with seating allocations by email at least two weeks prior to your chosen performance date.

Kynren - Previous Reviews and Tips 

This section of the post includes some of our photos, tips and experiences from previous years. Things may be a little different this year so please keep this in mind but hopefully it will give you an idea of what to expect. 

Expect everything from the Knights of the round table to Boudica, WW1 and the monks of Lindisfarne to be re-told in front of your eyes like never before. 

We first visited Kynren when our children are aged 6, 8 and 10 and all thoroughly enjoyed Kynren (and Jack didn't moan once which is very unusual). I think age 5 is probably the youngest I would take due to it being quite loud in places and it's a late night.

Arrival at Kynren | Parking & Shuttle Bus

I would definitely recommend pre-booking a car parking spot and shuttle bus ticket. This is very well organised and despite there being a large volume of people leaving Kynren all at the same time we were on the road within 30 minutes of Kynren ending thanks to such fantastic organisation.

It's around a 20 minute walk from the main site to the car parks which is downhill on the way there but uphill and in the dark on the way back so for this reason, definitely not recommended with kids.

Tip - Pre-book a car parking spot and shuttle pass

Kynren - where to sit with kids

There are various ticket options. In these photos we are in a mid-price seat and was perfectly adequate.

Tip - Take your own cushion to sit on as the seats are quite hard. You need to carry them in a CLEAR plastic bag (these can be provided when you board the shuttle bus if needed). 

Jack and Heidi are quite short but were both able to see. Jack had an adult sitting in front of him but could still see through the gaps and Heidi spent a lot of the time on Steve's knee.

There was an empty stand next to us and a fair few people moved over to these seats when the show started to get a better view. We were in row W which offered a good view. Cushions will help boost little ones up a little. 

Kynren - Accommodation

Kynren started at 9pm on the evening of our performance. The show lasts for 90 minutes. It begins at sunset at ends in darkness with a spectacular firework finale. This is a late night and I didn't fancy the 90 minute drive home in the dark so we opted to stay in a local hotel.

There are lots of local options over on the This is durham website and staying over really added to the sense of occasion for us. We stayed in a family suite at the Park Head Hotel and were very happy with our stay. There is an on-site bar and restaurant, a kids play area and breakfast was canny too. 

Tip - it's a late night! Book into local accommodation or change your kids into their PJs for the drive home. Plan for a lazy morning the following day. 

Kynren - A review of the show

Kynren is performed by 1500 volunteers and features over 29 different scenes from England's past. The show is super fast moving and my three were not bored at any stage.

There was always something new to look at and they watched in awe at everything that was going on. I also feel slightly smug that I can class Kynren as an 'educational' trip and the kids really reconciled some of their learning and recalled a few things they'd learned in school (Heidi especially enjoyed telling me all about the history of Roman's and Harry the Anglo Saxons).

Please check out my video from the show which will show you a few of our highlights: 

The whole show was spectaular with stunning special effects that I just hadn't witnessed before from the cast walking on water to galloping horses, Viking ships rising from the bottom of the lake and a particular moving scene where the Durham miners headed down the pit for the very last time. 

There is a whole section of the show dedicated to Shakespeare with mini versions of some of his best loved plays and it's really quite immersive as I started waving my flag as Queen Victoria's parade travelled past I almost forgot where I was for a second. It all seemed so real!

Some of the scenes were really quite poignant and a real tribute to our past including an emotional tribute to WW1 which honestly almost brought me to tears.

The show features a cast of live animals too and it was the horses that really impressed me but the kids loved the geese and sheep and really enjoyed it when they were featured in scenes. They say never work with children and animals but everything seemed to go pretty smoothly so Kynren must be doing something right.

Although Kynren is based around a history of England, there is a heavy North East influence with many references to how the North East has shaped the country we live in today. You leave feeling uplifted and really proud of our North East heritage.

The finale is absolutely stunning. The arena is filled with the whole cast and there are lots of fireworks and music. You can check out this Facebook live video if you'd like to see for yourself.

I have not heard one single person say they've regretted watching Kynren. If you are on the fence about going, just do it. I promise you won't be disappointed. 

I really want to give a special mention to all of the volunteer stewards and helpers. Every single person we encountered was super friendly and cheery. I swear they must attend the Disney school of customer service or something. Each and every volunteer we encountered was a real credit to the Kynren team.

Kynren receives a massive 10/10 from all of us here at North East Family Fun. I'm not sure how anything is going to top this for us over summer. We all absolutely loved the show and would definitely recommend to families with children aged 5+ who don't mind a late night and aren't scared of fireworks. 



  1. I'd love to take the Teen so will look into it now :)

  2. I've never thought about going and in all honesty didn't really know too much about it before reading this but I think I'd love it! I don't think we'll be able to make it this time as we have a lot on, but I'm definitely going to look into it for next time!

  3. Looks fantastic will be taking the family using the discount for a free child.

  4. I had never even heard of this before, it looks really interesting. My children would never sit through anything like this but it does sound like a great family event x


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