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Fredericton Day Trip: King's Landing

Kings Landing is a living museum located in Prince William, about 20 minutes west of the city along Route 102. It is an 1800s Loyalist settlement with costumed actors depicting early settlers. The museum features farms, restored buildings, workshops, and special events throughout the year. Children are welcomed as "visiting cousins" and can enjoy a week of total immersion in the 1800s.


This was one of my favourite activities in New Brunswick. When you visit, make sure to stop in the King's Head Inn for a delicious bowl of seafood chowder and a homemade apple cider.

A group of costumed  youth next to a wooden rail fence in the shade of trees
King's Landing New Brunswick
 


 

Fredericton Day Trip: Kings Landing

The Kings Landing Historical Settlement is a collection of buildings from the period of 1820-1920 that were saved from around the area when a dam was built. The buildings include homes, barns, shops, mills, and more. All have been moved and rebuilt/renovated for public display.

A wooden sign welcoming visitors to Kings Landing Historical Settlement

Plan to spend 3-4 hours minimum to explore the site. Meanderers, people-watchers, and photographers will likely want more time than that.


The site is large, and the roads are not paved, so visitors with mobility issues will find some areas difficult or impossible to navigate. However, a free hop-on, hop-off wagon ride winds through the settlement, which can cut down on some of the walking.


Open: June 01 - Thanksgiving weekend (mid-October)

5804 Route 102, Prince William

20 minutes west of Fredericton

$28 adult, reduced rate for children, youth, students, families and seniors.


What to Expect at King's Landing

Although Kings Landing was never a real village, it is a good replication of a typical New Brunswick settlement. The areas surrounding Prince William were primarily settled by Loyalists from the United States. Other early settlers included Scottish, Irish, and English immigrants. The primary occupations for the Loyalist settlers were farming and community trades and services.

The buildings have been arranged on the grounds in a typical settlement from the late 1800s with farms and trades on the outskirts and a village with all the expected services of the time. Most are staffed with costumed interpreters who draw visitors into stories of the daily life of the original occupants of the buildings.


The museum strongly focuses on education through living history. It offers many hands-on workshops, multiple special events, school programs, and summer camps. Don't be surprised to be invited to participate in the daily activities; active participation is encouraged.


Where to Eat in King's Landing

Exploring the village and settlement will work up an appetite and thirst. Whether you're looking for something quick and easy or you are looking for more of an experience befitting the village, you will find what you need on-site.


King's Head Inn

The King's Head Inn is the featured restaurant with costumed wait staff and a menu with traditional and contemporary items. The restaurant also hosts themed dinners and foodie events. Be sure to check at the Visitor Centre for any special events. Be sure to try a mug of hand-pressed apple cider made from the apples grown in the museum's orchard.

Axe & Plough Café

This cafe is in the Welcome Centre and is the place to find modern fast food and bakery items. Grab a coffee and a muffin as you arrive to enjoy as you explore the area.


Getting Around: Free Wagon Rides

Wagons pulled by Belgian and Percheron horses circle the site throughout the day. Be aware that there is a lunch break plus any additional breaks as determined by the teamster. The teamsters take great pride in ensuring the animals are comfortable and safe at all times. Teams are switched out regularly and rides are cancelled in extreme weather.


The wagon rides are more than transportation. Expect a lively narration that will teach much about the horses and their care through entertaining stories. Our teamster declared himself to be the "most photographed man in New Brunswick".

A head & shoulders shot of a bearded man with a straw hate and period clothing
Wagon Driver

Settler Life at Kings Landing

When the early settlers arrived in Canada, they brought with them their former lives, quickly establishing farms and small villages. Most set up homes in settlements that mirrored the people and land where they had come from.


Some of the highlights of your visit will include farms, businesses, settler homes, a parish school, and an Anglican church.


Farm Life

The majority of early settlers were farmers. The land in the Saint John Valley is suitable for both livestock and crops. The animals living at King's Landing are important for more than demonstration purposes. Eggs, chickens, fruit, herbs and vegetables produced on-site are used in artisan products sold throughout the site and are highlighted in menu offerings at the King's Head Inn.


Joslin Farm

The Joslin Farm was home to a Loyalist family for 6 generations. The interpreters play the part of William and Hannah Joslin, who run the farm with the help of their adult sons and daughter.

A woman plowing a field using a horse.
Joslin Farm
Lint Farm

The Lint farm was home to a New York family who arrived in New Brunswick in 1783. The farm includes chickens, crops, and an apple orchard.

An older white-bearded man wearing a straw hat in an apple orchard

Business Life

Every settlement needs services. The early settlers also included tradespeople and entrepreneurs.


Jewett Sawmill and Grist Mill

The enterprising Jewett family established a gristmill, sawmill, and carding mill on the banks of the Saint John River. The sawmill produced lumber used locally and also shipped to the US and Europe.


Demonstrations of operations are narrated by characters playing the part of hired hands. This is a wonderful place to sit across the water and enjoy the gentle sound of the water wheel.

A wooden sawmill on the banks of a river surrounded by trees
Jewett Sawmill

Blacksmith Shop

The Blacksmith shop represents the Hoyt family, which first arrived in New Brunswick in the late 1700s. Blacksmiths were vital to a settlement's success, as they were needed for everything from farm equipment to nails and household items to barrel hoops.


Visitors can watch the blacksmith create many different items. Make sure to check the schedule (we didn't!) to ensure seeing a demonstration.

Grant Store

The local general goods shop was another essential service in settlements of the time. It was the centre of a community, with the local shopkeeper considered to be a community leader. Purchases could be made using cash, trade, or credit.



Village Life


Hagerman House

Hagerman House represents the established, wealthier farmer who could afford a large house and a more luxurious lifestyle.

A 2 storey white shingled house with 3 costumed people in the foreground
Hagerman House with villagers and a visiting cousin
Fisher House

The more humble Fisher House represents the tenant farmer. The interpreters present the storyline of Mary and Matthias Valentine, who rented from Peter Fisher. Matthias also works as a carpenter to supplement the farm income.

A backsplit wooden-shingled house with a small shed in back.
Fisher House
Parish School

The schools of the era were small, and teachers taught most lessons using rote instruction. Classes included all the local children in a single classroom with most students leaving school in their early teens. Teachers were known to be strict and doled out tough punishments and few rewards.


St. Mark’s Anglican Church

With the arrival of the settlers from Ireland, Scotland, and England came a demand for more Church of England churches. St. Mark's is an example of a church built during a period of church expansion in the mid-1800s.

A small wooden church building painted white with red trim
St. Mark's Anglican Church

Other New Brunswick Locations to Explore

Fredericton

Fredericton is the capital of New Brunswick. It's a university town with a very chill and welcoming atmosphere. If you pause at an intersection, cars screech to a halt to allow you to cross a road. It has gorgeous parks, a lively craft beer culture, beautiful Victorian homes, tons of special events and festivals, and a beautifully maintained historic centre. Check out my previous post for things to do in Fredericton here.

Looking across the Saint John River at twilight with a church steeple silhouetted
Fredericton, New Brunswick

Bay of Fundy/Hopewell Rocks

No visit to New Brunswick would be complete without exploring the tremendous tidal action of the Bay of Fundy. The Fundy tides can rise to 16 metres (53 ft), washing about 160 billion tonnes of seawater in and out of the bay twice a day. The best place to get a fundamental understanding of these tides is at Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park. Check out my previous post on Hopewell Rocks for more detailed information.

Saint John

Saint John is a vibrant, historic city that combines the charm of the old town with the magnificence of the mighty Bay of Fundy. It is an immensely walkable city with narrow, steep streets, beautiful architecture, fabulous restaurants, funky cafés, rich galleries, and museums. For a more detailed look, check out my previous post on Saint John here.

Moncton

The City of Moncton is a delightful mix of English and French Acadian cultures and offers a beautiful mix of outdoor adventure and urban experiences.

A fun activity is Magnetic Hill, an optical illusion in which your vehicle appears to roll up a hill. The area also includes a zoo, an amusement park, a butterfly exhibit, a museum, and a winery.


Florenceville Bristol Potato World

The humble potato is a very important crop in the Maritimes. It played a significant role in the survival of the early settlers and continues to be an essential part of the modern economy. The 2-acre Potato World complex is located just off the TransCanada Hwy in the French Fry Capital of the World: Florenceville-Bristol.

The exterior of a long red-painted wooden farm-style barn/exhibit hall
Potato World -- a fascinating place to visit

Inside, Potato World includes displays, educational videos, antique farm machinery, and plenty of tasty potato treats, from fries to chocolate potato cake, from its on-site Harvest Café.

Vintage farm equipment with the farm in background

The museum closes over winter and on holidays, but during the season, it opens weekday mornings at 09:00, closes Monday through Wednesday at 17:00, and stays open another couple of hours on Thursday and Friday. Admission is $5.oo.


Covered Bridges

I love the look of a covered bridge, and New Brunswick is home to 58 of them. I am more than willing to drive out of my way to get a few photos. Check out this fun blog for an excellent listing of all the bridges. The author's goal is to visit and photograph every covered bridge in the province. It hasn't been updated for a while but the information is still good.

A wooden covered bridge
Sawmill Creek Bridge

One of the easiest to visit is the Sawmill Creek Bridge next to the main highway between Fundy National Park and Moncton. This bridge was rescued, moved downriver, and refurbished when a new bridge was built in 1975 to accommodate traffic and heavier vehicles.


St Andrews

St. Andrews is a small historic town in Charlotte County and a National Historic Site of Canada. It is designed like a typical 18th-century colonial settlement, with classic architecture and a large market square.

a typical 2 story wooden blockhouse with cannon in front
St. Andrews Blockhouse

St. Andrew's Blockhouse was built during the War of 1812 and is one of 12 remaining blockhouses constructed for protection against an American invasion.


Final Thoughts

Visitors to New Brunswick can expect to enjoy a variety of activities and historical sites. King's Landing represents many of the early settlements first established by American Loyalists and later populated by Scottish, Irish, and English settlers. Visitors who enjoy exploring history in a more immersive and fun experience will want to include this day trip from Fredericton to Kings Landing on their New Brunswick itinerary.


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8 Comments


Guest
5 days ago

To me, a living museum is like stepping into a stage and taking up a supporting role. It must be fun to see the real-life action taking place and even more exciting to be part of it. This reminds me to follow-up on an acting dream project of mine in Almeria's spaghetti-western taberna. I might just give it a go just like these everyday actors #flyingbaguette


Jan - https://flyingbaguette.com/

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I've never been to a place that does a virtual recreation of past life in this way, although I've heard of many.

The set-up certainly gives an invaluable insight into the daily actions and life of a past era. With the dirt tracks and restored buildings, the atmosphere must be great.

Good info on attractions and places nearby too.

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Lyn (aka Jazz)
Lyn (aka Jazz)
6 days ago
Replying to

I really enjoy living museums -- more than regular museums! The actors do such a good job of bringing the era to life.

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How fun! I always enjoy a good living museum. It's such a great way to learn about the past instead of the usual storyboards and indoor museum displays. This is one I'd happily visit and I liked how you go over the different things you can see there still. A lot of great history, and always extra fun when told by actors in this way. Reminds me of Barkerville up in Northern BC

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Lyn (aka Jazz)
Lyn (aka Jazz)
6 days ago
Replying to

It is very much like Barkerville. I love living museums, I learn so much more by immersing myself in stories. Kings Landing does an excellent job.

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What a fun way to spend the day! Sounds like a great way to learn about the history of the area. My mother-in-law does this as a volunteer and she absolutely loves it. I think it's such a great way to experience - it's showing, learning, and doing all together.

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Replying to

I have often thought that this is the sort of thing I would enjoy volunteering for. I can see why your MIL loves it. The interpreters do such a good job!

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Well, you had me at seafood chowder and homemade apple cider at the King's Head Inn, but King's Landing has so much more to offer! What a great way of learning about early settler life in the area. I especially like the way that actual families are represented, which really brings their stories to life. The wagon rides sound like loads of fun as well, and it's good to learn how seriously they take the animals' welfare. This looks to be a fantastic day out which is educational as well!

Mitch from https://www.verytastyworld.com/

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