Visiting a castle is surely a ‘must do’ activity when travelling in the United Kingdom? Warwick Castle, which is described as ‘Britain’s ultimate castle,‘ was our choice on one of the only sunny days we had!
Although we’re currently living in Australia, Warwick Castle is a place I’m very familiar with. As a child, I lived relatively close (only 45 minutes away) and would visit every few years. Whilst it has changed rather substantially since I was little, I love that the general magic of the castle is unchanged.
Here’s our 5 favourite activities from the trip:
1. Trebuchet Talk
If you time your trip right, you get to see all sorts of awesomeness. We got there just as the trebuchet talk started (11.30am). Now the title itself might sounds pretty dull, but it rather underplays the event itself! Essentially, the trebuchet is a gigantic catapult that was used during the 13th century to breach castle walls – I won’t say anymore about that so as not to spoilt the event but the launching of the trebuchet is something you shouldn’t miss!
Letting a kid loose with a bow and arrow might sound like a recipe for disaster, but thankfully the Bowman was used to unpredictable 8- year-olds! Although this wasn’t included in the ticket price, I’m all for encouraging new activities and Harrison was super keen to try this one. We paid £5 for 12 arrows: the extra spend proved worth it when it was declared Harrison’s ‘favourite activity of the day.’
3. Flight of the Eagles
Warwick keeps an impressive collection of birds of prey. One of the main-stays at the castle is the ‘Flight of the Eagles’ where you get to see the magnificent predator in action. There’s something rather wonderful about watching an eagle swoop the ancient grounds whilst its handler explains the hunting methods. If you really love your birds of prey, you can also book a special package where you can hold and even feed them – something we’d definitely do in the future!
4. The Horrible Histories Maze
The Horrible Histories Maze is one of the newer attractions at Warwick Castle. The aim of the game is to reorder the mess Rattus Rattus has made of time by collecting stamps of each era, then find the way out. At the age of 8, it provided Harrison with the perfect mix of challenge and learning.
Moreover, us Thomas’ are a competitive bunch: give us a challenge and we will go for it full-throttle. Whilst we didn’t get around to collecting the prize for completion, we were super thrilled with the stamps. As an added bonus, we also got to learn a fair amount about the six eras in a true ‘horrible histories’ style!
5. The Castle Grounds
Whilst this might seem completely obvious, walking around the castle grounds themselves is one of the best things you can do at Warwick – particularly if you’re more of an outdoorsy person like myself. Some of our favourites include: visiting the peacocks on the conservatory lawns, climbing the north wall to imagine life as a soldier and scaling the mound to view the spectacular grounds.
Also worth checking out this summer…
Unfortunately, we missed out on some of the big events that Warwick hold each year: Jousting and The War of the Roses as they are only held during the summer season. We’ve seen them both in previous years and I have to say that watching jousting is a memory that will last a lifetime. If you’re planning a visit, it’s really worth checking out the website to see exactly what’s on.
Another time we’d love to visit the newly opened Knights Village Lodges in order to fully immerse ourselves in the experience – I reckon that would make for a brilliant birthday present!
If I wasn’t currently living in Australia, I’d be trying to get my paws on a Merlin annual ticket as they currently have a sale on. This would get you entry into a number of memorable attractions such as Legoland, Alton Towers and Sealife.
We paid £26 for 2 adults and £23 for a child’s ticket. (Zoey at 18 months was free). It’s definitely worth checking out share packs of Cadbury’s chocolate because they have a ‘buy one adult ticket, get one free’ offer on all of the Merlin attractions.
There’s no denying that Warwick Castle is an expensive experience BUT I would say that it’s completely worth it. The trick is to be clever with how you approach the day:
- Park in the nearby St Nicholas Park (£4.50 for all day versus £6 in the castle car park). Although it involves more walking, I personally think it adds to the atmosphere. You can always checkout the park itself afterwards!
- Unless your kids are over 10, just buy the standard ticket. The dungeon is only suitable for those 10 and up, plus there’s plenty to see and do anyway. Don’t forget to check out the Cadbury’s packs too – any excuse to eat chocolate is surely a good thing!
- Consider a packed-lunch. We personally felt the restaurant was a little overrated for the price and we’re pretty disappointed that certain stalls weren’t open during our visit (basically we’re still bitter that we couldn’t have a hot pork roll!)
- Give your kids a maximum of £5 spending money for the gift shop. There’s a lot of gimmicky products that are fantastic for the day, but probably won’t see the light of day afterwards. Harrison bought a foam mace that he loved for approximately 2 hours and hasn’t used since!
- Encourage the kids to choose experiences (e.g. archery lesson) over merchandise like refillable drink bottles. They will remember their arrow hitting the target, but I doubt they will fondly recall their third coca-cola!
We hope that you find this guide useful. Please comment below if you have any questions or indeed to add your own favourite Warwick Castle activities! Don’t forget to hit ‘follow’ for regular updates on education, travel and crafts with kids or like us on instagram and Facebook.