Warwick Castle And The Knight’s Village

If you are looking to visit a castle this Summer, then you really need to take a trip to Warwick. Without doubt, Warwick Castle is one of the finest examples of an habitable castle in Britain, with beautiful state rooms, rising towers and battlements that you can climb and enjoy, and expansive grounds which, this summer, are housing a War of the Roses jousting arena and  a Horrible History play. Warwick Castle is a magical, mystical place that has over a 1000 years of history attached, and is a wonder for adults and children alike. And, what is even more exciting is that you can now stay in the Knight’s Village and expand your castle experience into an overnight stay.

The Knight’s Village

The Knight’s Village is set in the grounds of Warwick on the bank’s of the river Avon. The village is made up of Knight’s Lodges and glamping tents, and has it’s own car parking area and reception. The village also has a banqueting hall where you eat breakfast, and can also book in for dinner if you decide you want to eat onsite, although Warwick town is only a short walk away (around 10 minutes) and the helpful staff will recommend places to eat in the town.

The whole Village is wonderfully landscaped, with lodges all clearly numbered and easy to get to. Each lodge is warm and cosy, with central heating for days when the weather is not so good. We stayed in lodge 127, which had a double bedroom and a room with bunk beds, plus an extra pull out bed for the children. The lodges also have a bathroom/wetroom with a shower. Toiletries from Elemis are provided, as well as plenty of soft clean towels. The feel of the lodges is that they have been built to a high spec, and feel luxurious. There are tea and coffee making facilities in each room, as well as gorgeous ginger and chocolate cookies and shortbread – a really lovely touch.

What I really loved about the lodge was the little touches that added to the medieval experience. Above the double bed was a shield and ornamental swords that just fascinated the children. In the children’s bedroom was a Bayeaux style tapestry that virtually covered one wall. There were also objects of Hunter’s regalia and coats of arms in the room, giving the lodge an authentic feel.

In addition to the decor of the lodge, the grounds are just so idyllic and beautiful, with acres of grass giving a safe place for children to play games. Each lodge also has a terrace area where you can sit and relax, watching the sun going down on the River Avon.

But it is not all about peace and quiet. Each evening there are displays and entertainment along the banks of the river. Knight’s fighting duels with swords and axes, Princess school where you can learn about deportment and curtseying, and old fashioned toys and games to practice. There are archery lessons and lots of photo opportunities with the dashing knight’s. It is old fashioned fun and we loved it.

To find out more about a stay at the Knight’s Village, click here.

Warwick Castle Summer Fun

There is just so much to do with Warwick Castle. The inside of the castle is full of history and stories of the famous owners and inhabitants, from Warwick the KIngmakes, Fulke Greville and Henry the VIII. The Great Hall is truly magnificent, with suits of armour that delight young children. The Time Tower is a great way to learn about the history of the castle, from it’s early beginnings as a Fort belonging to Ethelfleda, the Lady of the Mercians, to modern times under the ownership of the Tussauds group.  For younger children, the Princess Tower lets children solve a puzzle, this is perfect for the under 8s.

Horrible History

One of the most popular areas with children is the Horrible History maze. You collect a book in order to collect the stamps at each different section of history. Each area has a reminder of horrible history, from a Viking ship, to Tudor stocks, right up to the trenches of World War one. Once you have collected the stamps you can then collect your reward from the Courtyard Shop.

The Horrible History theme continues with the Horrible History show, an hilarious look at the life and times of Warwick with appearances from Louis Walsh and Keith Lemon, along with rap, dance and very funny sketches.

The War of the Roses Jousting

A definite highlight this Summer is the War of the Roses joust which takes place in a specially built arena. You chose your side, from the Yorkists and Lancastrians, and then learn all about the key battles and characters of the Wars, from Richard III to Margaret of Anjou, from Henry Tudor to Elizabeth of York, all the time watching the exhilarating jousts which feature real feats of bravery, from flaming jousts, to riders who hang from their horses just attached by their stirrups. The joust is amazing entertainment, and a glorious history lesson all in one.

Food

The grounds are perfect if the day is sunny and you want to take a picnic, but if not the pizza and pasta restaurant is great. Set within the castle itself, the restaurant is self service buffet style, and hot and soft drinks are also included in the price. The staff are friendly and helpful, and were more than happy to provide plain pasta for my niece when we requested this.

Warwick Castle is the perfect family fun day out, with so much to do and learn. Definitely a one to visit this Summer.

To find out about admissions, opening times and events at Warwick Castle this summer, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

The Haunted Castle is back at Warwick Castle

It’s that time of year again, when witches and wizards, warlocks and demons and all the things that go bump in the night make their annual appearance. Halloween is almost upon us and with it, the beautiful, historic Warwick Castle becomes the spooky, mysterious haunted castle, with Witches Towers, Devils ramparts and haunted hollows. We went along yesterday to check out the seasonal activities, and, getting into the spirit of things, took our own little ‘Grim Reaper’ along for the trip.

dscn3906

dscn3905

dscn3904

Warwick is one of the best examples of a castle in England, and I love how it truly gets into the spirit of Halloween, with activities and attractions that can be enjoyed by lots of different age groups. Activities range from those aimed at children and families, including the rather wonderful ‘Horrible Histories’ maze and the spooky but beautiful ‘Haunted Hollows’, to the terrifying, adults only ‘Tormented’ and ‘Outbreak 1349’ where you can come face to face with the plague ridden residents of Warwick Castle.

dscn3953

dscn3913

 

Certain events are free, but timed, so it makes sense to get your tickets and then enjoy something else whilst you wait. We got timed tickets for the Witches Tower session, which is a story and spell session perfect for children under the age of eight. This is interactive, with children tasked with finding the ingredients for a special witches spell, and the taking screens and decorated surroundings make this great fun.

dscn3911

Whilst we were waiting for our session in the Witches Tower, we made our way to the Horrible Histories Maze. This was Joe’s favourite activity, he loved following the trail, and trying to send me the wrong way. At different intervals you can find stamps, and when your book is completely stamped, you can collect your reward from one of the castle shops. The highlight of the maze is the enormous Viking longship, with the trenches of First World War proving to be poignant, especially with their poppy tribute.

dscn3914

dscn3919

dscn3916

dscn3922

dscn3921

dscn3924

dscn3925

dscn3927

A trip around the ramparts is both exhilarating, and a horror in itself, with a total of 500 steps. The winding staircase of Guy’s Tower is hellish, but you are rewarded with spectacular views across the Warwickshire Countryside and a real sense of achievement at reaching the pinnacle…it’s just that you then have to make your way down again!

dscn3934

dscn3937

dscn3938

dscn3939

We finished our wonderful trip with a visit to The Haunted Hollows. This is a spooky Halloween trail with skeletons, graves, a witches garden and talking scarecrows. With atmospheric smoke and sounds, this really is the perfect way to get yourself in the mood for Halloween, and is a great way to end your visit to the spookiest castle in England.

dscn3941

dscn3942

dscn3943

dscn3945

dscn3947

dscn3948

Warwick Castle – The Haunted Castle is open every day until 9PM until Halloween, and is then open 10-4pm daily. For ticket prices and information, visit the website https://www.warwick-castle.com/

dscn3949

dscn3950

dscn3935

dscn3933

dscn3926

dscn3912

dscn3910

 

Spending a day at Warwick Castle

When I was a child, my favourite family day out was not at a theme park, or even at the seaside. I was a true history buff (still am) and my idea of half-term heaven was a day spent at the stunning Warwick Castle. This beautiful Medieval masterpiece is a magical place that brings historical events and characters to life in the confines of those thick castle walls. Last week I passed my love of this fabulous place to my six year old son, also turning out to be a bit of a history lover (thanks to a school project about the Staffordshire Hoard). Our first family visit was a definite success.

Warwick Castle is a real castle, so often when we talk of Castles we are faced with ruins as a result of the Civil War, but Warwick was on the winning side during that period, and so it retained all it’s magnificent. The home of such historically important characters as Warwick the Kingmaker, and the site of a murder in the 17th century that is now linked to it’s reputed haunting, Warwick has all the ingredients to make history fascinating for adults and children alike.

DSCN6748[1]

Beautiful Warwick Castle

11159513_748566891908081_8533009899883895504_n

The Castle

Our visit took part on a gloriously sunny day, which meant the chance to explore the grounds and outdoor demonstrations. We started though by touring the  Great Hall and the State Rooms. Joe was fascinated by the suits of Armour, including models of armoured horses, and was very excited when one of the very helpful guides dressed him as a medieval Knight, complete with chainmail, shield and a rather large (but luckily very blunt) sword. There are plenty of guided tours, but we decided to take things at our own pace. I was fascinated by items pertaining to belong to Elizabeth 1st, and the death mask of Oliver Cromwell, whilst Joe loved unusual items like the very large cooking pot.

DSCN6752[1]

DSCN6755[1]

10408891_748566308574806_9108231989090454518_n

DSCN6761[1]

Pete with Oliver Cromwell’s Death Mask

DSCN6770[1]

That rather large cooking pot.

The Royal Weekend party is just a stunning way to bring history to life, recreating a Victorian weekend from the time when the captivating Daisy Brooke was the chatelaine at Warwick, and the mistress of the heir to the throne, Bertie aka Edward VII. The attention to detail in this part of the castle is wonderful, from the glasses of wine to the brushes on the dressing table. This is my favourite part of the castle – it really takes you back in time as you observe and eavesdrop on conversations from royalty to the hired help.

DSCN6776[1]

10409055_748566658574771_7133525156876234466_n

Towers and Ramparts

The towers and ramparts at Warwick offer some amazing views across the River Avon and Warwickshire, but Joe was a little frightened to venture up the enormous Guy’s Tower, instead venturing up the Clarence Tower with his dad. The Time Tower offers a new attraction for 2015, with an interactive display telling the history of the castle from Saxon times to the present day. Joe particularly enjoyed this, especially the talking portraits that moved out of their frames, as if by magic.

10613135_748566511908119_330188934042343319_n

DSCN6786[1]

Food

We enjoyed the unlimited pizza and salad option at the Undercroft buffet restaurant. This is part of the castle itself, so offers another fantastic experience. There are plenty of different pizza options, both meat and vegetarian, and also garlic bread and a good choice of salads. Unlimited soft drinks are also included in the price, which is £10.95 for adults and £6.95 for children. We really enjoyed the food on offer and liked the buffet option, but there are other outlets including fish and chips, hotdogs, Warwick Cream teas and The Coach House Family restaurant.

In the undercroft buffet

In the undercroft buffet

The grounds

There is so much to see and do in the grounds. We watched the birds of prey display, with Joe gasping as the huge Condor swooped down over our heads. We then visited the birds of prey mews where the birds sit so perfectly I actually asked my husband if they were real (I know – durrrr!). On such a beautiful day, many people were just sitting on the river bank enjoying the day, and the area around the Conservatory and peacock garden was very busy. This is one area that I totally fell in love with, the Conservatory is just beautiful and serves a great cream tea, whilst the fact that the peacocks roam free just fascinated Joe.

By the Millhouse - another place you can visit at Warwick Castle

By the Millhouse – another place you can visit at Warwick Castle

The birds of prey are just fabulous.

The birds of prey are just fabulous.

DSCN6799[1]

One of the many amazing views from the Mount

The Conservatory - a must visit for afternoon tea

The Conservatory – a must visit for afternoon tea

One addition that I certainly don’t remember from my childhood visits is the Pageant Playground. This is a lovely, children’s wooden playground resembling a medieval fort, perhaps based on the original Warwick Castle. This is a great area for allowing parents to have a sit down while kids can run off any excess energy and indulge in battles using the shields and swords they will have picked up at the numerous gift shops (quite reasonably priced – Joe had a plastic sword and axe priced at £3 each). We finished our visit with a trip to the playground, knowing this would tire Joe out for the journey home.

DSCN6808[1]

Sir Joe.

Sir Joe.

Warwick Castle is a true day out, you can literally spend the whole day there absorbed in the pomp and history of the wonderful building and its spectacular grounds. It is now an established favourite with my family and we can’t wait for our next visit.

11173355_748566375241466_8466174921137309083_nTo plan a visit, find admission and opening times, please visit the Warwick Castle website here.

*We were given free admission to Warwick Castle in return for a honest review.

Family Fever