Hear ye, hear ye: Medieval Times in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, is truly an amazing family outing for all ages. You'll get to experience dinner and an exciting live show featuring knights on horseback, jousting matches, sword fights, games of skill, and more.
Whether your little prince or princess is a toddler, teen, or somewhere in between, this is truly an outing the whole family can enjoy together. Read on to find out what you can expect during a visit to the castle.
And be sure to check out our article on other themed restaurants in New Jersey here.
What To Do Before the Show at Medieval Times NJ
Medieval Times advises guests to arrive about an hour before the show. That might feel like a big ask with little ones, but there's quite a bit to see if you take your time (and possibly bring some backup entertainment for little ones).
The castle itself is fun to look at. My crew gazed up in awe, excited to enter a "real castle," and curious about whether we had to cross a moat with crocodiles (the answer was "no," by the way). We had already entered a magical world and we hadn't even scanned our tickets yet! The realistic decor and costumed actors/staff members transported us to Spain in the Middle Ages.
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Feel like a royal as you don a crown and take the throne.
Once inside, step one was to scan the tickets, receive table cards for seats (assigned first come, first serve), and don cardboard crowns color coordinated to the seating section.
Next, you can pose for some professional photos and head into the Hall of Arms. This large, darkened, circular room is filled with vendors selling swords (some lit-up plastic, others quite realistic), princess hats, knights' armor, jewelry, figurines, and other souvenirs. There's a bar for those who wish to imbibe as well as a dungeon that doubles as a museum of medieval torture. (An extra fee applies.) Since our kids are young, we opted out. But pre-teens and teens may be up for it.
You can also spend some time watching the Queen's pre-tournament ceremony, in which those celebrating special days kneel before her and are knighted to the cheers of the crowd. Huzzah!
It was fun to walk around and take in the atmosphere, but after about 30 minutes, my kids grew impatient with waiting with practically nowhere to sit. If I could change one thing about my trip, it would be to plan better for the wait.
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Take a seat, eat with your hands, and watch the battle begin! Photo courtesy of the venue
Eating at Medieval Times, New Jersey
At show time, you'll be called by color to enter the arena, where seats are separated into six sections according to color, each cheering for a different knight. Guests sit side by side at long tables, with plenty of room to pass behind (great for bathroom breaks, but there's no room for strollers). There are only about four to six rows, so every seat is a good one. Note that children under 3 don't need tickets, but they also must sit on your lap and eat from your plate.
Very soon after sitting, we were offered beverages and our first course: delicious tomato bisque soup. Word to the wise: There are NO utensils, which actually was a bonus for my boys. They had a blast eating with their hands and sipping soup from the bowl.
The meal also included some crusty garlic bread, roasted chicken, buttered corn on the cob, half a roasted herb potato, and pound cake for dessert. Everything was super yummy and my family loved it, though it should be noted that everyone (kids and adults) received the same meal, except for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free meals, which can be requested in advance.
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The show is filled with astounding feats of horsemanship and swordplay. Photo courtesy of the venue
How Long is the Medieval Times Show?
The show, which runs about 2 hours, starts with some beautiful displays of horsemanship and games of skill. Horses high step and leap; a real falcon swoops and flies through the audience; and knights hit targets with their jousts—all right in front of you while you eat.
About halfway into the show, things start heating up with one-on-one battles between knights, who clang their weapons and tumble off their horses as the audience cheers wildly. Everything is very tastefully done. There's no actual gore, and injured knights are escorted away with care. But be warned: It's dark, it's loud, and it might be scary for sensitive children.
I chose to explain everything in advance to my kids, including that the action was staged and the knights would be OK in the end. It worked like a charm for my kids; their belief was happily suspended during the show, but they understood that anything scary was just pretend.
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Take a trinket home to remember your day in medieval Spain.
As we left, the kids were already planning a return trip, and I'll be happy to oblige. It's not every day that you can enjoy a trip back in time, plus dinner and a show that kids and adults are equally happy to see.
How Much is Medieval Times? and Other Things to Know Before You Go
- The show at Medieval Times in NJ runs for about 2 hours.
- Tickets cost about $40 for kids and $70 for adults but watch for deals. They run special pricing all the time.
- Kids under the age of 3 don't need a ticket, but they must sit on adults’ laps and eat from their plates.
- Everyone—kids and adults—gets the same meal, but you can order a vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free plate in advance if you need it.
- Show times vary for the day. Many times of the year, show dates fall mainly on Thursdays-Sundays. Check the schedule for ticket times and availability.
Unless noted, photos by the author.