Why You Should Visit Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle is a place that I’ve wanted to visit for the longest time, and this Summer I finally got around to going.
I’m going to start with a negative, in that it’s pretty expensive to get in, especially if you’re bringing the whole family, but other than that, it’s a fantastic experience, one which I thought was definitely worth the money. Not only that, but if you book on line in advance is actually much more reasonable and well worth doing. A fact that we only found out about as we reached the ticket office. Never mind. Next time.
We started by walking around the Castle and into the Central Courtyard, where you can find snack stalls, toilets and the obligatory tat for sale. Straight ahead, at the far end of the courtyard is the Conqueror’s Fortress and if you’re feeling like getting the number of steps up on your Fit Bit, it’s well worth climbing up the many stone steps to reach the top. The views are incredible and you can see just why this spot was chosen for the castle, as they would have been able to see any enemies approaching for miles around.
Below you can see the Boathouse and the Mighty Trebuchet, which is the largest working siege machine in the world. We didn’t see it in action on our visit, but it still launches on selected dates throughout the year.
Back down the stone steps (which was much easier than going up) we checked out the Birds of Prey Mews where we met Frank the Vulture, who seemed totally underwhelmed with all the people staring at him. In fact he decided to grace us with a very large dirty protest just to show his general discontent at being cooped up while his mates were showing off at the Birds of Prey Arena.
The display at the Arena was great. Birds of prey soaring above our heads, while the demonstrator told us about some of their antics. This was the perfect time to have a bite to eat, so we grabbed Cornish pasties to munch on while we sat and watched. We did wonder whether our lunch right tempt the birds to swoop down and make a grab for it, but they’ve obviously tried it before and knew better, as the filling in the pasties was about 2,000 degrees.
So, tongues now with third degree burns, we decided not to visit A&E but instead tried out some archery. Lets just put it this way… I wont be taking it up as a hobby, much to the relief of the guys showing me how to do it.
A quick wander through the Great Hall and State Rooms provided loads of information about the people that used to live in the castle through the ages. Suits of shining armour were displayed, walls covered in silk, and portraits galore all gave a fascinating insight into forgotten times. My one tip for visiting the interior of the Castle would be to go when there is less likely to be every single school trip in the world there, as the noise levels were deafening.
Last but not least, my favourite part, which you do have to book on arrival to get a time slot, was the visit to the Dungeon. When we arrived I had wondered if it was going to be aimed at children, but they assured me it was going to be scary for adults too, and they weren’t wrong. It was brilliant.
Live actors put on a hilariously terrifying show as you are guided, stumbling, through the dark into deeper, darker vaults within the dungeon. The air is thick with fear, and the smell is dank. Perfect creepy conditions. We met the cook whose new job was to undertake autopsies, throwing intestines around while she giggled; the torturer with his ‘chappy chopper’ which came in three sizes ‘small, medium, and liar’; the gavel-happy judge who wanted to sentence everyone to an untimely death, and the witch who elicited screams from us when the lights when out.
It was lucky really that I only ended upon the stocks.
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