We’ve become a bit obsessed with castles in the last year, and high on our bucket list of places ti visit was Warwick Castle*, and we ticked it off! I last visited Warwick Castle when I was in school so we’re looking at a good 20 years ago (that makes me feel really old, no lie) but Warwick Castle is iconic. As soon as I stepped inside the main castle walls it felt familiar and I had that flashback of being there as a kid.
Fortunately, this time the weather was far better, and the experience even more memorable with our two boys in tow. Henry took it all in and loved every second of it. And what a perfect way to celebrate Dexter’s first birthday! We won’t be forgetting this for a very long time.
A little pre-warning, this post is photo heavy, but as we came away with over 1,000 photos from the day (Henry took approximately 650 photos) it was always going to be tough choosing photos.
The Castle is massive. And I’d advise taking a carrier over a pushchair as there are a LOT of steps, especially in the towers and I didn’t see many places to park pushchairs when not in use.
We explored all the outside sections of the castle including the towers which are accessed by stone spiral staircases. Henry was a total champ climbing up and down these. The views from the top of Guy Tower is amazing. It’s also really secure walking around with lots of metal railings so you don’t have to worry too much about little ones, though of course it is advisable to keep a hand on them anyway.
New for 2019 is the Falconer’s Quest Birds of Prey show. It shows daily at 12:30pm and 3:30pm and was the highlight of our day. We saw both showing because both the boys loved it, and Henry has not stopped talking about it ever since.In fact we picked up two plushy eagles for the boys from the gift chop and Henry has been pretending to be the Falconer ever since!
The Falconer’s Quest is set along the riverside bank in a specially made set. It tells a story of a man named Hobby who wants to be Warwick Castle’s falconer and bring wild birds back to the Castle.
The guys performing with the birds have combined over one hundred years of experience handling birds of prey, and the show is seamless. The story plays over speakers, whilst the bird handlers move around, with them positioned in different places around the audience and stage to ensure that everyone gets a glimpse at the birds. Being sat in the main audience stand is amazing as the birds swoop right over your heads, some coming so low.
For our second viewing we sat under the trees to one side and watched and it, and the show is equally good then too. The 12:30pm showing was incredibly busy with a lot of school groups, with the 3:30pm showing much quieter. I’d probably recommend sitting in the main audience area in the afternoon as it was far less crowded, and a few less screaming teenagers.
The show is great for everyone of any age. It’s educational with little a synopsis about each bird as it performs, that still plays well into the story telling.
Also Henry took approximately 300 photos per show for us too, and that second row, first image with the blue sky background is one of his! So very proud!
There is an amazing amount of space both inside and outside of the Castle grounds, making lots of space for picnics. We had lunch out on the riverside before the first Falconer’s Quest show and it was so perfect. The most idyllic location, plus plenty of trees for shading yourself, and picnic benches further back if you want them.
There’s further green space by the Trebuchet than overlooks the weir, accessed by a wooden bridge. Unfortunately after the 11:30am Trebuchet talk the bridge was closed off to be painted so we couldn’t spend much time there.
So what else do you need to know?
Places we didn’t explore – purely because of time restraints. We arrived around 11am, and left at about half 4, and we did pack in quite a lot, but as it was hot we didn’t do as much running around, taking a more chilled approach to the day. Plus we had to see the the Falconer’s Quest twice. We will go again one day in the future, and I’d love to explore the conservatory, which we avoided on our visit because if it was anything like our one at home would have been like entering the rainforest – not an especially great location for little ones. However on cooler days I imagine it would be a beautiful place to go. We also missed out on the Horrible Histories Maze which is between the caste and the main entrance courtyard. As book fan, we really want to do this one day.
Food – There is indoor dining in the form of a pizza, pasta and salad buffet which was a reasonable price at £12.95 per adult. There are a number of kiosks selling a mix of burgers, roast rolls and hotdogs (not all of them were open when we went but it was a weekday in term time, so I expect more of them would be open at peak times) and all the kiosks had Vegetarian/Vegan options. If we hadn’t brought our own picnic,I would definitely have gotten the Jackfruit Roll. There’s also an ice cream truck, and slushy stand, which we were very thankful for as it was 26C when we were there and drinks were needed.
Toilets – We noticed two sets of toilets in the main castle, which were clean and in good order, one set inside the castle grounds by the restaurant and the other by the main entrance. I’m sure there are others, but we never had to queue much and the toilets in the main castle had a separate baby changing facility.
Parking – parking is £6 for the day. You need to pay and pick up a token from the entrance court yard before you leave which you then pop in the barrier to let you out. There is the option to pay at the barrier, but at busy times I imagine this would annoy everyone behind you, so worthwhile keeping in mind. There is a lot of parking available, and a shaded walkway running alongside it which is perfect for little ones to walk up safely. If you park at the bottom in Bay 9 you’re looking at an approximately 5 minute walk up to the Castle entrance. Look out for the bug hotels and peacocks on the way.
Location – Warwick Castle is located a short distance from Jnt 15 on the M40 which plenty of sign posts so you know where you’re going. It’s actually placed in the middle of the Country (a tactical position from it’s earlier life when it needed to be in a good position to get to all parts of the Country) so is easy to get to for everyone.
Merlin Pass – Warwick Castle is part of the Merlin Group, so you can use your Merlin Annual Pass to get in too. Which has added to our wish to get this for the family in a few years time because we absolutely need to visit again.
*Entry tickets provided for us in exchange for review – all opinions are my own.