The Chalke History Festival - the biggest, most celebrated history festival in the world -will this year run from 24th to 30th June and tickets are available now. To mark the start of a whole new chapter for the event it has announced a new name and a new look, with the website and branding being given an eye-catching makeover.

Aided by the expertise of leading branding agency BLOOM and celebrated digital media agency Konekt, the festival is set to make a splash in 2024 using a fresh new logo, new social media handles and a new domain name - all reflecting an exciting moment in the history festival’s life.

History has rarely been more important than now. The Chalke History Festival programme for 2024 will reflect this, dealing with themes and concerns that dominate our current lives. The festival planning team will also be mixing the timings up a little this year, so as to avoid a wall of events all running concurrently, and there will be an increase in the number of panels and discussions. The aim is to provoke more conversation and debate about how the past guides us to the present and helps us prepare for the future. The line-up will show the threads and patterns of history and help those who visit to think about our history in different ways, and also help people to contextualise and make sense of the current rather tumultuous world we live in.

This year is historic for a number of reasons. 2024 marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the largest amphibious invasion in military history that took place during the Second World War. 2024 will also see more than half the world's adult population across more than 40 countries go to the polls, with the possibility of the global political landscape being changed forever. History is the foundation on which our knowledge of science, economics and philosophy rests so, as we navigate this complex world, there will be more discussion about the big themes than ever before at the Chalke History Festival and visitors will have an opportunity to hear from and pose questions to some of the country's leading thinkers.  

LoveReading is pleased to announce that we are sponsoring an event at this year's festival. Join James Holland on Friday 28th June on the Hiscox Tent for the Casino '44 talk. Creating a vivid picture of what it was like for the men - and women - caught up in the terrible Battle of Cassino campaign from January to May 1944 using the very latest academic thinking and contemporary sources. You have until the 26th May to enter our competition for a chance to win a pair of Day tickets to this year's festival. 

A number of big household names - including Robert Peston, Sebastian Faulks, Adam Rutherford, Rebecca Wragg Sykes, James May, BBC's Security Correspondent Frank Gardener, The Rest Is History duo Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook, co-creators of the hit TV show ‘Ghosts’ Ben Willbond and Laurence Rickard, Max Hastings, Bettany Hughes, musician and record producer Jakko Jakszyk, and Sathnam Sanghera - have already been signed up as well as a greater number of international speakers and experts. Actor and comedia Al Murray, well known for his role at The Pub Landlord will be at the festival performing The First Draught of History, a special stand-up routine. In addition, for the first time the members of The Alphen Group will be attending the festival. The Alphen Group is a network formed of the leading strategic thinkers from Europe and the United States working to consider the future of the trans-Atlantic relationship as well as European security and defence. 

There will be more performance this year, with no less than eight different acts and performers speaking around the site - every day and throughout the week - from light-hearted yarns through to expert traditional crafts people, and from the Iron Age through to the Second World War. In addition, there will be five main venues for talks and discussions, so there will be a huge amount on offer.  

With the continuing rise in popularity of podcasts, especially those that focus on history, audiences will be given a rare opportunity throughout the week to hear some of these podcasters speak live at the festival. There are more podcast events being announced so stay tuned.

The layout of the site will be slightly different too as the team has given thought to the whole experience of how visitors can view the many events on offer. The main tent will be set-dressed on the stage, the second venue will be a vaudeville-style Spiegel tent and the outdoor stage will be a honeycomb dome design and closer to the hub of the main activities. 

Interactive living history experiences and performances remain at the heart of the Chalke History Festival with a huge range of activities and eras on offer for visitors to immerse themselves in. For the first time this year, the team behind the off-Broadway 5-star hit Beowulf, Autojeu Theatre will be performing 'One Man King Author' with their signature brand of physically comic storytelling. 

The Spitfire and The Hurricane will also be flying over the festival once more this year after being absent from the festival for six years. 

There will also be more live music, including an ABBA tribute act on the Friday night and the hugely popular Saturday Night Party with the D-Day Dance is set to return this year on the Saturday evening. Saturday night's party will host The Swing Ninjas, who will bring an authentic, up-to-date approach to the sound of a 1930s band and The Polka Dots will be getting everyone on their feet with the swinging sounds of the 30s, 40s and 50s. Each night there will be a different live music act, as well as on the Sunday a five-course lunchtime historical banquet. Dressing up is encouraged but not essential.

The Chalke History Festival is also popular amongst schools, with 18,000 children having visited since its launch the Chalke Festival for Schools. This year, this aspect of the festival is sponsored by Rathbones and over the three days the festival will offer a wide range of curriculum-based subjects which will allow pupils the chance to experience the sights sounds and smells of history through a programme of interactive and immersive activities. Topics and themes this year include The French Revolution, The History of Pies, Tudor Women, Sword Smelting, The Rise of the Mounted Knight and The History of Infectious Disease.  

News of programme developments will be announced over the coming months and those interested in attending are encouraged to keep checking on the new website and the festival social media channels for all the latest announcements. Tickets will go on general release to the public in April.

Over 200 fascinating talks, given by incredible historians and entitled ‘Chalke Talk’, can be heard on the Chalke History Festival podcast. These talks have been taken from more than a decade of festival appearances.

The Chalke History Festival will take place at Church Bottom, Broad Chalke, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 5DP.  For more details including the latest updates about the festival, please visit the recently-relaunched website at and get your tickets now.

Follow all the news on X @ChalkeFestival and Instagram and Facebook.


Photo credit: Elizabeth Perry