About 5 years ago on a visit to England we went back in time and met brave Knights and fine Ladies at Warwick Castle. The Castle is a little further afield – about an hour drive northwest from London. There are also tour buses you can travel there on or you can take the train to Warwick if you don’t have a car (we recommend not getting a car if you are in Central London). If you want to take more than a day trip to the castle, you can stay overnight in the Castle or right outside of the wall in the lovely town of Warwick.
The castle has a rich and long history. The oldest part of the Castle was built in 914 AD. Records of a walled-building in Warwick can be traced back to the Saxon fortification which was used to defend against the invading Danes. In 1068 the first castle built on the site was a wooden motte and bailey at the command of William the Conqueror. Under successive Earls of Warwick, the Castle was gradually rebuilt in stone throughout the middle ages. Warwick Castle remained under the stewardship of the Earls of Warwick and later the Greville Family as a private home until 1978 when the property was taken over by The Tussauds Group. Since then Tussauds/Merlin Entertainment has maintained the property and brings the events available to everyone!*
The portcullis rises every day at 10:00a.m. to the cheers of crowds where many start their day. Closing times vary depending on season and various seasonal events planned at the castle. For halloween they do a special “Haunted Castle” event featuring wondrous witches, Horrible Histories (this wasn’t there when we were there, but we are big fans of Horrible Histories and would love to check it out!) and the return of the spectacular Fire Joust. There are also special events during the Christmas Season.
There is a lot to do and see at Warwick Castle. The shows vary daily, so check their schedule. Our two favorite things were the Mighty Trebuchet demonstration and the Birds of Prey show. Pack a lunch or a snack to enjoy while watching. We also spent time climbing the Towers & Ramparts and were able to check out the beautiful surrounding view. Word of warning, it is a one-way route with over 500 stairs, so if you don’t think you can make it, you might be better off going to the top of The Mound, where the view is still lovely. This is a good option for smaller kids too. I mentioned Horrible Histories and they have added a “Horrible Histories Maze” now that I know my son would absolutely love. Tudors, Stuarts, Normans, Vikings and the Middle Ages are all represented and the adventure begins on your first step!
Everyone can try archery (for a fee), which was a fun introduction for our son and started his love of this new sport (and we have actually picked this up as a fun family activity at home too). There is an archer available to teach you and help the kids aim. Walking the grounds is pleasant and you may come across a few surprises, like a party of peacocks and peahens! Make sure to check out the castle’s dungeon for a bit of history. There were no actors in the dungeon when we were there, so both 5-year-olds did just fine and it wasn’t scary – just a bit dark. There are various other exhibits to see, such as the Kingmaker: Eve of Battle and the Princess Tower.
We highly recommend a visit to the castle. There is good fun for the whole family!
*History listed above comes from: