I’m not usually one for historic visits but on a cloudy day in July I took Noah down to Warwick Castle to indulge him in his sword wielding fantasies. To my surprise, I really enjoyed the trip. Warwick has mastered making history both appealing and fun to those of all ages.
We found Warwick easy to find. We took a train to Leamington Spa and caught a bus that dropped us right outside the entrance to the castle grounds. We followed a walled path under a canopy of entwining trees to the ticket entrance (this takes about five minutes… more if your child wants to attempt some ‘climbing’ along the way).
Our first stop was a castle themed playground, conveniently located near the ticket gates. This gave me a few minutes to sit down and study the map of the grounds and show times to work out some sort of loose plan for the day.
The ‘Horrible Histories’ maze was a favourite with both of us and we thoroughly enjoyed getting lost while trying to collect our maze ‘passport’ stamps. I felt like this was a great teamwork activity for the both of us as we had to work together to find our way to the different parts of the maze. Later we showed our passport in one of the souvenir shops where Noah received a ‘War of the Roses’ badge for his efforts (he was thrilled with this!).
Next up was archery. I was a little disappointed that this activity was extra (£3 for six arrows or £5 for twelve) but Noah had his heart set on taking part. The staff took time to show and help Noah what to do which I was happy about because I worried he might find it a bit too tricky to do (Naturally, I was wrong!). There was also a jousting training academy which looked fun, but again, cost extra.
By this point, we were both ready to explore the castle. There are various attractions within the castle building. We took part in an audio-visual experience that explained the history of Warwick. Noah was impressed with some of the effects, especially the portraits that ‘come alive’. We also explored the state rooms and Noah was fascinated although a little puzzled by the Madam Tussaud style mannequins.
The Mound and Guy’s tower provided spectacular views however the steps up the tower are steep, narrow, and hard work to climb. We persevered but Noah decided when he reached the top it was too high for him so we abandoned plans to visit the other towers of the castle. Luckily, you have the option of taking the stairs straight down to the exit.
We took a picnic but I could see there were plenty of places to eat. There are picnic tables dotted around all over the place but the grass was dry so we just sat on the grass in the castle’s courtyard. Another nice place to sit would have been the ‘Riverside Arena’ where you can sit on a hill by the river and watch some of the shows on offer.
The ‘Princess Tower’ was another popular attraction that we visited in the afternoon. This attraction is particularly aimed at kids. It’s what I could only describe as an interactive story time session. Noah enjoyed this and was cheeky enough to go and hug the princess on his way out.
We were warned that the jousting show would be busy so we got there with our ice creams early to queue. The ‘War of the Roses Live!’ show was by far the best part of the day. Actors revved up the crowds and Noah got really into it, booing when the red knights appeared and cheering when the Yorkshire white knights were victorious (Noah is a Yorkshire man after all, he was born in Hull, East Yorkshire).
Many questions later from Noah about the ‘mighty trebuchet’, a giant catapult used in medieval warfare, and a stroll around the elegant peacock garden completed a jam-packed day. After a quick, but expensive, trip to the gift shop it was time to leave. Noah entertained the staff on the train home with his knight’s helmet and swordplay.