Bideford will be turned back in time for the week from Saturday with shops creating a living, historical experience.

Bucks and wenches, live leeches, VE Day tea parties and medieval banquets will turn Bideford back in time for the week leading up Heritage Day.

From Saturday, visitors to the town will be wondering what era they’re in as shops pull out the stops to create a living, historical experience.

Dozens of members of the Businesses of Bideford (BoB) group will be decorating their shops, creating displays and dressing in costume.

SMR Pheonix will be putting volunteers in the stocks and children and adults can take part in street games such as hopscotch and spinning tops at First Years and Beyond.

The Green Goose will host a medieval banquet, Raphael’s will have Victorian shoe shining and Bideford’s three witches and Lindsay’s will have a live Rockabilly band.

Lavington Church will have old relics on display, Maynard Johns will display their accounts from 1799 and Gertie’s will be hosting a 1940s tea party.

Cooper Street will be transformed into the Grenville era and over in East-the-Water, Tea on the Train will display old photographs in its carriage.

“I’m embarrassed to say the organisers of Heritage Day said to us that no one in the town supported Heritage Day,” said Katie Russell, of BoB.

“So this year we rose to the challenge and everyone has really pulled out the stops.”

On Saturday heritage week will kick off with the mayor’s parade at 10am and the official opening of the week at 10.10am, as well as gig racing all day.

A week of heritage events, organised by Bideford 500, will take place around the town next week including at Bideford Library and the Burton Art Gallery.

The week will gear up to the big event – the annual Heritage Day – which will see all sorts of activities take place including jousting and medieval combat in Victoria Park.