During Feb half term we headed to Devon for a week, breaking the journey there up with a few days at my brothers and breaking the journey home up with a day at Warwick Castle. As a family we love visiting new places, exploring old stately homes and examining castles, but Warwick Castle is one of the few we hadn’t visited so being invited during half term made for a lovely treat.
Warwick castle isn’t like most of the other castles that you can visit as it is neither free nor part of the national trust, instead it has been turned in to a main attraction in it’s own right with lots going on as well as the castle itself and somewhere you can easily send a full day. Depending on what time of year you go will depend on what is going on so always check the timetable for the day you intend to visit. As we went during the half term there was plenty to do and see with one of our favourite activities actually being the first thing we did, which was the horrible histories maze.
The maze is like any other in that you have to find your way through the twists and turns to the exit, however what makes this maze great is that the children can collect stamps on their way through and as each section is dedicated to a separate era of history with various displays and notice boards throughout, it is also an educational activity too. But fear not as it’s done in a horrid histories manor and is aimed at children so it is far from the boring history lessons I remember from school.
Once we eventually managed to make our way out of the maze we headed over to the castle itself which sure is impressive. You can walk around the grounds, climb up the outside stairs and walk some of the walls, go inside the great hall, visit a tower with the princesses and, if over 10, you can also go in to the dungeons, so you do get see a large portion of the castle.
Whilst at the castle we managed to watch 3 shows. The Bowman, The Mighty Trebuchet and the Bird of Prey show. Our favourite was the bird of prey show which saw us being introduced to three beautiful birds as well as being told all about them, not just their breed but their individual stories and personalities too, which I found really interesting. We were then treated to some flying displays and some rather unsuccessful tricks which was hilarious and goes to show that anything can happen when working with animals. The show we watched, as good as it was, was actually a warm up and practice session for the birds to get them back to their fitness levels and used to performing again so I can only imagine how amazing the main birds of prey show will be which starts at Easter and will feature of 70 birds.
With so much to do Warwick Castle it is a great day out for all the family, however I would point out that it does involve lots of walking, even the car park has a sign saying it is 20 minutes from the castle, so if you have mobility issues you may want to sit this one out but for everyone else it is a lovely hands on educational and fun day out set in beautiful grounds.
1.Take a picnic.
You can purchase food on the grounds however we found this to be a tad over priced and there are plenty of nice spots to sit and enjoy a picnic if the weather is nice.
2. Get to the shows early.
The shows get busy quickly and as they are ones where you need to stand behind a line to watch I suggest you get there early in order to be able to see as you wont want to miss them.
3. Look for advantage points.
An alternative to getting to the shows early is to watch them from other spots instead of on the ground. For example we saw people watching the Bowman show from up on the castle walls and they all seemed to be able to see and when it came to The Mighty Trebuchet show we watched from the top of the castle where we had a great view of the Trebuchet itself, the river, and the speaker who thankfully uses a mic so we could still hear him from where we were.
4. Take a sword.
There is a knight school activity that children can join in with however they need their own sword. This isn’t a problem because obviously Warwick Castle sell them and they do say they have some available to lend out too but if your child already has a sword at home and doesn’t need a new one but would like to do the knight school then my advice would be to take one with you.
(We were gifted complimentary tickets to Warwick castle in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own).