Paused for thought

Paused for thought

Friday, 14 August 2015

Staycation postcards: Warwick Castle

I love living in the Midlands. What it lacks in a sea view or mountain range it makes up for with easy access to a vast number of places around the country. Even on my tired days I don't have to travel far to find a great family day out.

This week I took my boys to Warwick Castle. Despite growing up in a neighbouring town my first visit to the castle didn't come until my teenage years, Ludlow and Kenilworth having been favourites instead with their opportunity for exploration and the need for your imagination to be invoked. Warwick, on my first visit, felt more like a stately home in comparison, which whilst lovely, was not what I had anticipated. Owned by the Tussauds Group it was well kept but presented in much the same way as some of the chateaux I visited in France during family holidays, and certainly not the castle ruins that I was used to visiting. Rooms were immaculately set out and, somewhat predictably, adorned with wax work figures. It was certainly interesting but I felt as a visitor it was rather designed to show the spectacle of the accommodation and events that took place at the Castle, rather than engaging you with its historical importance. On my second visit however, I saw a saddle that was used by Queen Elizabeth I, who visited the Castle in 1572. Mesmerised by its intricate embroidery and fascinated to see something so well preserved and from one of my favourite historical periods I was hooked. I took time to read about the beginnings of the Castle, and its transformation through the ages, and it became much more real and interesting than the Royal Weekend Party exhibition gives it credit for. I am glad to say, that since those early visits more of the Castle has been opened to visitors and more history is being slowly revealed.

Warwick Castle is not without controversy. A trebuchet display earlier this year saw a Victorian boathouse brought down in flames. This summer the local news has been focused on the application from the management to erect additional overnight facilities including lodges and treehouses. Put that to one side though and now you can't help but be enthralled. Owned by Merlin Entertainment (who purchased Tussauds in 2007) there are several events throughout the day to capture hearts and minds. During our visit we saw a Bald Eagle flying and a jousting tournament. There was an area set up for archery and although we were occupied elsewhere there are Horrible Histories productions during the summer holidays too. 

If you need a pit stop, tents are casually placed around the grounds offering refreshment and souvenirs, cleverly cashing in on eager visitors. There is also a café and of course, a visitors’ gift shop.

The Pageant Playground in the Castle grounds is a big hit with our family as is the rose garden. For older children the dungeons may be of interest, along with viewing the rooms in the Castle itself, and not forgetting the armour (and Oliver Cromwell’s death mask) in the Great Hall. The Mill and Engine House is also well worth a wander to, and for those who are fit and able, a stone staircase will lead to the ramparts with views across Warwick and beyond, a must! Also in the Towers are recently opened rooms (part of Warwick Castle Unlocked) which are finally bringing some more of the magnificent history to the fore.

We would definitely recommend it as a fabulous day out, and will be returning in the near future.

Have you visited Warwick Castle? I’d love to hear what you thought!

I did not receive any compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

The Free Range Family


  1. This looks fantastic. I really want to start visiting more attractions like this, and it looks like there's a lot to do there, The grounds look beautiful. #busydoinglife

  2. Id love to visit Warwick Castle! my little boy would love it ! - #busydoinglife

  3. Thanks for commenting! There are often offers for reduced price entry to Warwick Castle, worth checking before you visit #busydoinglife