This year we’re delighted to be ambassadors for the fabulous Warwick Castle. We headed there yesterday and realised we’d totally underestimated how much there was to do. It’s been a good few years since we went and there are many more attractions now.
We didn’t arrive until nearly lunch time and the castle closes at 4pm in Winter so we didn’t manage to see everything we wanted to. If you’re a bit more organised and want to plan your visit, here’s a list of what to do at Warwick Castle including events. Head to their website for more information.
Inside Warwick Castle
When I used to visit Warwick Castle years ago, it was all about the inside. These days there’s much more going on both indoors and outdoors, but you can still look around the Great Hall, drawing rooms, state dining room, Queen Anne bedroom, boudoir and chapel. As well as seeing the glamorous, historical rooms you can learn about their history.
The castle towers
There are numerous towers and ramparts at Warwick Castle. You can usually go up into them to learn about their history and admire the view. However there is currently restoration work going on so certain parts are out of bounds. You can still go into some towers (see below) and admire the view across to Stratford-Upon-Avon from the top of the mound.
The princess tower is an interactive storytelling experience aimed at children aged 3-8 years old. It is included in the ticket price and you need to go along and book your time slot as places are limited to 30 people. This only takes place at weekends at present. Both of my girls loved this attraction. The story is based around magic and children have to help the princess to rescue someone from a picture by solving riddles.
The time tower tells the story of Warwick Castle’s history through an audiovisual multimedia experience. Characters from the castle’s past tell the story to allow you to submerse yourself in it. This is one of the things we missed during our visit that we’ll definitely head to next time.
The Kingmaker is a walk-through experience featuring incredibly realistic waxworks. You can experience Richard Neville the Earl of Warwick preparing his army for battle in 1471. My girls loved looking around the exhibit and my husband and I found it fascinating to read about the history of the man known as the Kingmaker.
Royal weekend party
This is another attraction that involves intricate wax figures. The Countess of Warwick hosted a party in 1898. The guest of honour was the Prince of Wales, who would later go on to become Edward VII. In this exhibit, 12 rooms are dedicated to the recreation of this historical party. Unfortunately we didn’t make it to this exhibit so it’s one for our return visit.
Warwick Castle dungeon
The dungeon isn’t included in the Warwick Castle entry price. This is worth knowing as you will need to buy a separate ticket for the dungeon when you enter the castle. The dungeon isn’t recommended for children under the age of 10 years old as it is very realistic and quite frightening. It lasts for 50 minutes and uses live actors, special effects and shows to submerse you in the atmosphere of the dungeon. The experience is very interactive and I’ve heard great things about it. Although the girls can’t go in, my husband and I will be making sure we have a look around the dungeon soon.
The gardens and playgrounds
Warwick Castle is set in beautiful gardens dating back to the 1750s when the castle became a stately home. Like many local gardens, these were designed by Capability Brown. The Pageant children’s playground is designed in the shape of a fort with swings, slides and walkways. Unfortunately that’s closed for maintenance at the moment but it will be a great thing for children to enjoy in the summer. In the meantime, the girls found plenty to play with, including the stocks!
There is a replica Victorian mill to the South of the Castle by the river. You can also cross the river to the island where the trebuchet demonstrations take place. We loved the peacock garden with topiary in the shape of the beautiful birds that roam the castle grounds. I get the impression that the owl in the Winter birds of prey show doesn’t think much of the peacocks though.
Horrible Histories maze
This is the one attraction we were really gutted to miss. By the time we came out of the princess tower it was nearly 4pm and the castle was closing. Next time we’ll be heading here first. The Horrible Histories maze features challenges to complete as you go around and if you complete it, you get a prize at the end. It looks great fun, interactive and educational.
The mighty trebuchet
Beside the River Avon is the largest siege machine in the world. The trebuchet catapult is a recreation of one of the largest military machines ever. It was used to throw large missiles like rocks with the aim of breaking down the walls of the castle. They even launched manure and dead animals in order to spread disease within the castle.
Every day holds different shows at Warwick Castle. You can download the programme of events for the day of your visit or just check out what’s on. We loved the Winter Birds of Prey show so much we went twice. The falconer told us fascinating stories about the birds and how he trains them and we watched them soaring around the sky.
To get even more out of your day at Warwick Castle, there are three VIP experiences available. You can choose from afternoon tea, a birds of prey experience where you learn to fly the birds and a behind the scenes tour to see parts of the castle not open to the public. All three experiences include entry to Warwick Castle.
Special events take place throughout the year at Warwick Castle. These include banquet events, themed short breaks, Wars of the Roses Live and even Santa Sleepovers. There are events aimed at both adults and children so head over to their events page to see what else is on.
Stay at Warwick Castle
As you can see from all the things we missed out on, a day is nowhere near enough at Warwick Castle. That’s why they now offer short breaks. I love the fact that the accommodation is themed, so you are submersed in history throughout your stay. You can choose from a lodge in the Knight’s village, glamping in an incredible mediaeval princess or king themed tent or even a stay in an exclusive tower suite. At the moment, there’s 25% off short breaks so it’s worth booking soon.