Warwick Castle, United Kingdom
A Fairy-tale Destination for the Whole Family
Do your kids dream of castles with jousting knights and fire-breathing dragons lurking in the shadows? Then you must plan a visit to one of England’s best castles – Warwick Castle! Ok, maybe they won’t find any fire-breathing dragons, but they will find secret passageways to explore, birds of prey to marvel at and plenty to fill their imagination from by-gone days.
While England has over 600 castles for visitors to explore, Warwick Castle stands out because of all the educational and interactive exhibits that are available. From the moment you enter the enormous walled fortress you are immediately drawn into a fairy tale setting. When you’re done with your castle visit, be sure to visit the quaint cobble-stoned town of Warwick just outside the castle walls.
We learned so many things about Warwick’s interesting and long past. Originally, a motte-and-bailey castle was built on this site by William the Conqueror in 1068. Since that time the castle has been rebuilt and expanded many times. It has had 35 different owners and countless visitors.
Our top picks for your visit to Warwick
Check the Day’s Schedule and Plan Your Time
Each day Warwick offers various scheduled activities. Be sure and check online prior to your visit so you will be able to take advantage of all the day’s events. Sort of like planning your day at an amusement park, some things are only offered once or twice a day and other things are offered every hour. Planning your day ahead of time can ensure you make the most of the time you have there.
Climb the Turrets & Ramparts
One of our favorite activities while visiting Warwick was exploring through the castle wall labyrinth. Most of these tower walls were built in the 14th Century and are an exciting maze of ups and downs leading you on a journey around the perimeter of the castle. We loved the lookouts throughout our exploration. These positions gave archers a clear view to target the enemy below, but they provided us with the perfect spot to marvel at the countryside around the castle and take pictures. Towers such as these were the primary defensive system for a castle. Caesar’s Tower is the tallest and stands three stories high.
Visit the Time Tower
This high-tech exhibit was not available when my husband and I visited Warwick back in 1999, but this addition by Merlin Entertainments (today’s owner) is a great addition to the castle visit. This is especially great for kids, who in today’s world are accustomed to advanced technologies and multi-media galore. The Time Tower is a 20 minute audio visual multimedia experience that truly showcases the rich and vibrant history of Warwick Castle. Through hologram type videos, visitors are able to see what Warwick has looked like through the years and the many kings and queens that called it home. This is a history lesson that will keep everyone’s attention!
Watch the Flight of the Eagles
This show is not to be missed! We gathered with other guests on the Birds of Prey Lawn to watch a spectacular show of vultures and eagles flying from the trainer through the air, to the castle ramparts and back. These amazing creatures have such strength and keen eye-sight. We watched them swoop down from great heights for a morsel of food. We learned a lot about their history and legacy as hunters through the middle ages.
See the Mighty Trebuchet
Warwick Castle is home to the largest working trebuchet in the world! During our visit, there were no scheduled demonstrations, but that didn’t stop us from climbing the Mound to get a bird’s eye view of this amazing medieval machine of destruction.
Explore the Gardens
We thoroughly enjoyed exploring the conservatory and peacock garden. Over 20 peacocks and peahens call these gardens home. The 64 acres of manicured lawns, fountains, rolling hills and playground make this a great spot to take in the outdoors.
Other Attractions Worth Seeing
Trebuchet Fireball Spectacular
Horrible Histories Maze
What I loved most about Warwick Castle is that this place is the real deal. Unlike similar Disney-type recreations, this castle is a historical landmark with thousands of years of stories to tell. The Merlin Entertainments Groups (who now owns Warwick Castle) has done a very good job at keeping the integrity of the original structure while also adding the innovative and advanced modern technology to exhibits to really allow kids and adults alike to learn the most they possibly can about the people who once inhabited these walls.
Tips for Your Visit
Purchase your tickets online to save money.
If possible, visit on a weekday or in the off-season when the castle will be less-crowded.
In all, we spent four hours visiting the castle and exploring the grounds. Even with that, we didn’t see everyone they had to offer.
Consider stopping in for afternoon tea at the Thomas Oken Tea House just a short walk outside the castle grounds.
Where to Stay
We were staying in the nearby Cotswold village of Broadway and found it to be a quick and easy 45 minute drive to the castle. Stratford-upon-Avon is even closer at just 25 minutes away. Oxford is 1 hour away and London is 2 hours away. And if you want to stay really close by, Warwick Castle now has two suites available right at the castle called Tower Suites. They are a bit on the pricey side, but if your family has always wanted to sleep over in a real castle, here’s your chance!
Literature Suggestions for England/Castles
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