I ended the year doing something I absolutely love. On an adventure exploring a place I had not visited before.
I Love Castles.
I love Exploring.
Here is the official line:
Warwick Castle is a medieval castle developed from a wooden fort, originally built by William the Conqueror in 1068. Warwick is the county town of Warwickshire, England, situated on a bend of the River Avon. The original wooden motte-and-bailey castle was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century. During the Hundred Years War, the facade opposite the town was refortified, resulting in one of the most recognisable examples of 14th-century military architecture. It was used as a stronghold until the early 17th century, when it was granted to Sir Fulke Greville by James I in 1604. Greville converted it to a country house and it was owned by the Greville family, who became Earls of Warwick in 1759, until 1978 when it was bought by the Tussauds Group.
We arrived fairly late in the day as the BF had to do a work errand first . I would say it was 1.30pm-ish before we pulled up in the Castle car-park. It cost us £10.00 to park, the Castle is open until 5.00pm and the car-park until 6.00pm
I excitedly jumped around because ‘YAY!’ it was open; we would get a few precious hours to wander around. Some website’s had stated it was open while others were stating it was closed. It was New years Eve after all. We weren’t far away so we decided to call in on the off-chance it was open and for once we were lucky.
Admission is £20.00 each for adults and because I love a good dungeon [which includes a torture chamber] we paid an additional £4.00 for a tour of this too, making that £24.00 each .
It is advisable to pre-book your tickets as there are some big savings to be made. If we had pre-booked we would have paid £17.00 each for castle and dungeon entry, a saving of £7.00 each [£14.00 overall ].
It is also worth noting that there is a coffee shop and toilets before you actually enter the castle grounds ‘proper’. Always handy for a quick pit stop – coffee and a wee.
We did both.
I’ve been to a few castles in the UK but most of them tend to be ruins. This castle is very much in tact. It’s incredible. As I walked across the bridge to enter the castle grounds it was hard not to feel slightly over-whelmed; the history these walls held …. the Prince and Princess’s, Kings and Queens , Knights in shining armour … William the Conqueror , Joan of Arc had all walked this walk !
Much to the bemusement of my boyfriend I’m the lady that walks around feeling the walls. There was a hell of a lot of wall feeling; I like to think I can feel all the old souls that have passed through. What can I say … I’m at one with bricks and mortar.
We walked around the grounds, climbed the numerous towers which after 2 weeks of munching on mince pies was both exhausting and ‘tight’ . The views are definitely worth the effort but anybody unsteady on their feet, with very young children or the elderly may find it difficult. But don’t let that put you off as there is so much more to see and do on ground floor level !
The grandeur and beauty of the castles interior , room by room , with wax-work models that look so real it slightly freaked me out.
The Peacock Gardens, The Bear Pit, The Mill and Engine House, Horrible Histories Maze – which we didn’t dare enter in-case we couldn’t make our way out!
There are various places to eat. We plumped for a roast in a roll from one of the snack vans . Pulled turkey … It sounded amazing but arrived looking like something they might have dished up in the dungeon. The BF ate his … I gratefully munched on mine but left most of it. Sorry … but it wasn’t the best.
The coffee however went down a treat and sat back watching the resident peacocks struting their ‘beautiful’ stuff had a very calming effect. There are over 20 peacocks and peahens at Warwick. We spotted just the 2.
Next time we visit I think we will try to book Afternoon Tea in the Conservatory. Much more civilised.
Now for my favourite part of the day … a tour of the dungeons complete with actors role-playing historic figures from the castles history. I’ve watched many a horror film in my time and the lure of a dark, creepy dungeon is always appealing. There’s a weird, yet satisfying thrill in being scared… but also knowing you’ll be o.k. Hopefully!
Before you enter the actual dungeon itself you have the option to have your photograph taken, which can then be purchased at the end of the tour .
You are asked to not take photographs yourself or to use your mobiles while down in the dungeons. BOO … it would have made an awesome insta story.
The tour lasts 50 minutes. As well as being informative , its good fun with lots of laughter. Boy we were a gruesome bunch weren’t we …some of the torture instruments made your toes curl.
Tongue tearers, hooks that pulled your eyes out and ‘chappy choppers’ – I will leave that one to your imagination, buts let’s just say if can only be used on men!
Its worth noting they like to involve the audience and randomly pull people out in each setting to assist with the story telling. If that sort of thing makes you nervous there is every chance you could get ‘picked’, so be prepared. Old muggings here was summoned to the stand in the court room where I stood trail for an accusation that I was a witch. Apparently I had been seen running around the castle naked, luring men with my Jiggly bits! Funny that … it must be my innocent face.
I would definitely recommend the dungeon tour , but maybe not for very young children it might be a little too frightening.
All in all it’s a great day out, especially so if you love your architecture and history. I felt like I’d visited my spiritual home … be that as a Princess or a Witch in a previous life … who knows?
Warwick Castle can be found at Castle Lane, Warwick CV34 4QU. It took us just over and hour and a half to drive from Sheffield … but it was well worth it . Warwick itself looks like a beautiful town that requires more investigation.
So I’m now on a ‘discover more castles mission’ . Please let me know if you have any recommendations. 2019 is the year of adventure and discovery