I love Warwick Castle. There is something quite magical about it and as we are lucky to only live about a forty minute drive away, it is a place that I have been visiting for about twenty years now.
Over the years, the castle has remained the same but what goes on in and outside those sturdy castle walls has changed a lot but one thing is for certain, it has always been a great family day out.
Warwick Castle is celebrating this year, 950 years since the foundations were first laid. 950 years!! That is impressive, nearly a thousand years of history right there in the heart of Warwickshire. It is looking good too for a building that was built so long ago. That first glimpse of the castle as you walk through the gates is always an impressive sight.
This year it was just my daughter and me visiting as the teen and tween were busy, but we were quite excited to go and have a girls’ day at the castle and I was keen to see what was new. We had a wonderful time wandering around, the weather wasn’t great which was a shame, but it didn’t dampen our spirits and I saw more of the castle than I have ever seen before.
There are lots of reasons to visit Warwick Castle, whether you are looking for a fun family day out or something more educational, there is something to please everyone. These are our highlights; ten reasons to visit Warwick Castle.
It is an interactive history lesson
As you stroll around the castle, in and out, there is so much to learn, whether it is about the history of Warwick Castle itself and thousand-year history, about its interesting occupants through the years or about the lifestyle of those with wealth and status throughout history. Its history is certainly colourful with royalty, family, treachery, mystery, murder, it has it all. Everywhere you go there are snippets of information about historical figures who had links with the castle, weapons, armour, the building and my daughter was fascinated by everything and was keen to discover as much as she could.
William the Conqueror is, of course, one of the historical figures mentioned as he was the man responsible for commissioning the building of Warwick castle 950 years ago. My daughter had not heard of him so I told her what I could remember and we Googled him when we got home to find out more information. She certainly learnt a lot during our visit, about the castle, some important figures from history and even how to fire a bow and arrow.
Take a trip back through time in the Time Tower
The Time Tower is an interactive cinema style attraction where some of the castle’s inhabitants tell us about of the key moments from the castle’s history. As the stories unfold, so does an image of the castle and how it grew and evolved over the years. From the early settlement of Ethelfida, Alfred the Great’s daughter, William the Conqueror’s Mott and Bailey wooden castle through to the castle that we see today, this is a fascinating way of seeing the history of Warwick Castle.
You can all get lost in the Horrible Histories Maze
Rattus Rattus, the mischievous rat from Horrible Histories has muddled up time and the challenge for visitors to the Horrible Histories Maze is to find their way through the maze, put everything back in the right order and make sure that Rattus Rattus is caught. There are six interactive historical zones where visitors can find out about the Stuarts, the Vikings, the First World War, The Gunpowder Plot and more. It is great fun and kids can pick up a passport to stamp at each zone and claim a reward from the shop at the end. It takes about 15 – 20 minutes and is really fun to do.
Learn all about The Royal Weekend Party
In all of my previous visits to Warwick Castle, I can honestly say that I have never been inside. There is always such a lot to do outside, that we have always made the most of the weather and the outdoor entertainment. As it was quite a chilly day, we popped into to have a wander and discovered The Royal Weekend Party. Based around a weekend party that was held way back in 1898 by Frances, Countess of Warwick, you can stroll through 12 lavishly decorated rooms which give you a real flavour of life in high society during the Victorian era. With authentic furniture and furnishings, waxwork figures recreate the party scene from that era and it is well worth a wander through.
The views are awesome
One of my favourite parts of a trip to Warwick Castle is walking up the towers and walking around the ramparts. It gives you the best views of the castle and of the surrounding Warwickshire countryside. The very best views come from the top of the Mound, you can climb up from inside the castle and go down the other side and head towards the River Avon. You have to stop at the top, there are signs all around telling you famous landmarks and towns in that direction and their distance from the castle and there are binoculars for an even better view.
The amazing birds
Maybe not something you would expect from a trip to a medieval castle but the birds there are truly amazing. You will undoubtedly hear the Peacocks of Warwick Castle before you see them. We certainly did and my daughter was amazed at how loud they were. If you want to see them, you may see them out and about around the castle but they can usually be found holding court in the Peacock Garden by the Conservatory.
It was rather damp and dreary when we visited but we did catch sight of a few peacocks, most of them were rather sensibly snoozing in one of the trees. I’m guessing they aren’t huge fans of the rain.
But it isn’t just the peacocks who roam the castle grounds. Warwick Castle offers visitors a real treat with one of its daily show, Flight of the Eagles. In this show, a number of spectacular birds of prey are seen close up and flying around the arena. The show is entertaining and quite fascinating and to see these fabulous birds in action is fantastic. You can also take a stroll around the Birds of Prey Mews, where some of the birds are housed for visitors to get a closer look.
You get to witness the Mighty Trebuchet
Another of my personal favourites, the Trebuchet is the largest working siege machine in the world and it is fired twice daily, launching a projectile over 150m. It measures 18 metres high and weighs in at 22 tonnes which makes for a very impressive machine. They make a real show each time it is fired and it is amazing to watch, we love it.
If you are brave enough, enter the Castle Dungeon
Now I am going to admit that I have never been able to go into the dungeon as I have always been with children who aren’t quite brave enough, but I have it on good authority from people who have been that it is a really great attraction and well worth a visit.
Held, of course, in the dungeons themselves, The Castle Dungeon is a 50-minute interactive experience where some of the castle’s most gruesome, frightening and bloodiest moments are realistically brought to life using actors and special effects.
Not for the faint-hearted, there is an additional charge for The Castle Dungeon attraction and it is not suitable for children under the age of 10.
It’s a great way to get the kids outside and walking
One thing we did during our day at Warwick Castle was walk. My daughter isn’t the biggest fan of walking but we must have walked miles and she didn’t moan one bit. Whether distracted information about the castle, watching the peacocks, wandering around the gardens, walking up and around the castle ramparts, strolling down to the restored Mill and Engine House or taking a walk along the River Avon, there is plenty to keep little legs moving. There is also a Pageant Playground, which was closed for refurbishment when we visited, but it is a great playground and a nice place to stop off on your way in and out of the castle.
Choose your side in the War of the Roses
This show is returning in May half term and the summer and although it wasn’t on when we visited, I have been told that it is a show worth seeing. As you enter the arena, you pick a side and choose your allegiance. Set in 1455, the House of Lancaster holds the English throne and King Henry VI’s crown is challenged by the House of York. This fierce rivalry that lasted for 30 years of bloody battles, is re-enacted with sword fighting, jousting, stunt riding and incredible special effects.
Of course, these are my highlights and there are lots more too. There are towers to explore, you can visit the gaol and imagine how it would have been to be locked away in there, find out about the Kingmaker, watch the Bowman Show or even meet that rascal Rattus Rattus. We absolutely love a day at Warwick Castle, it is a great family day out and my daughter is keen to try out the Medieval Glamping, so we may well be back again soon. Check out the Warwick Castle website for more information about the attractions, daily shows and activities and ticket prices.
We were given complimentary entry for one day in return for this post. All images and opinions are our own.