The Tussauds Group have done an excellent job managing Warwick Castle and making it a truly worthwhile place to visit. According to their brochure it is “Britains Greatest Medieval Experience.”
Climb the towers and ramparts, see the recently restored mill at work, take a ghost tour, and don’t miss a trip down into the dungeons of course!
Set in beautiful grounds and gardens where peacocks roam freely, the castle is as grand today as it ever was. Tussauds brings it’s waxworks here too, and within the Great Hall and State Rooms one can see a reconstruction of a Royal Weekend Party as would have probably taken place in the late 1800’s.
Spend a whole day here – you’ll need it!
All the usual facilities you could require can be found here.
Take a pleasant walk from the gardens within the castle grounds and along the river bank to the Mill & Engine House.
Originally built in the 12th century, it brought electric light to the castle for the first time in 1894.
Now restored to its former glory, you can discover how the generated electricity was once used to light up the castle.
Easy to understand diagrams and information are on display, making this working feature enjoyable as well as educational.
As you enter the conservatory at Warwick Castle, you will be faced with a huge stone dish placed high on a pedestal.
This is a replica of the Warwick Vase, an ancient Roman vase which was excavated in 1771. The original vase is now in Glasgow.
It was no surprise to me to find out that the gardens and grounds of Warwick Castle had been designed by none other than Capability Brown. He must have been one busy man - he seems to have designed most of the stately homes and famous gardens in England!
The rambling grounds of Warwick Castle are beautiful, with a wonderful backdrop of the River Avon. Giant Cedar trees, a Rose Garden, topiary peacocks and ornamental fountains are just a few of the things you'll find here.
Warwick Castle always played an important part in English history. The first timber castle was built on this site by the Normans in 1068. By the late 13th century the castle was already a major English seat of power. The Castle's history is much too turbulent to recount here. It changed hands many times, granted by the Crown to the successive Earls of Warwick, who were some of the most influential men in the Kingdom. Its last owners, the Greville family, contributed a lot to the castle's splendour, adding the State Apartments and the Chapel.
For centuries the castle was the centre of social life for the aristocracy and the Royals. In 1898 the Countess of Warwick invited a number of celebrities, including the then Prince of Wales, later Edward VII and young Winston Churchill, to a weekend party, which we can now see re-created, wax figures and all, in the State Apartments.
The place now belongs to the Tussauds Group, who have restored many of its areas. You can walk on the ramparts, climb the towers, explore the dungeon and the armoury, see preparations for battle in 1471, visit the Ghost Tower believed to be haunted by the ghost of Sir Ffulke Greville. You can enjoy yourself there whether you are an adult or a child. Many of the wax figures, not just of celebrities but of the maids, the blacksmith, the carpenters, the nanny look so convincing that I spoke to one of them and then, just in case, asked an immobile kitchen maid if she was real. She was.
It's a great history lesson for everybody. On my way out I was approached by a boy of about 8, who asked me about Warwick the Kingmaker. I was glad to have the guidebook to answer him.
You will need a whole day if not more to see all the attractions. Not to miss any, get a guidebook or use the audio tour (3.50 GBP) but the book costs not much more (3.95 GBP) and can be taken home as a souvenir.
Opening times: April - September 10 am.- 6 pm., October - March 10 am. - 5 pm.
Admission: Adult - 17.95 GBP; Senior - 12.95 GBP; Child - 10.95 GBP; Student - 15.95 GBP; Disabled/Carer - 9 GBP;Child under 4 - free.
You can save some pounds if you book the tickets online but remember that a fee of 1.50 GBP per ticket applies to all bookings made online or on the phone.
For information on admission to Warwick Ghosts-Alive see their web page.
After visiting the various attractions inside the Castle, take a walk in its beautiful spacious gardens landscaped by 'Capability' Brown himself, with the River Avon flowing right across them and an island in the middle. While you are there, have a look up at the castle and you will see a figure in period clothes in one of its windows. Having read about cases of sightings like that in other castles, my first thought was that it was a ghost. Later, to my great disappointment, I found out it was just a wax figure of Lady Mary Curzon, one of the guests at the weekend party in 1898 and then several months pregnant.
Climb the Mound, once an important vantage point with a timber stockade and a square tower in Norman times, now a nice place for romantic rendezvous with a wonderful view over the river and the gardens.
Another nice place to visit, especially if you have children with you, is the formally laid-out Peacock Garden, with real peacocks not at all afraid of the public. And while you are there, you may want to see some exotic plants in the Conservatory. On your way out you might like to admire the Victorian Rose Garden outside the castle gateway, with some beautiful old-fashioned roses popular in Victorian times.
I visited the castle in early May, too early to see any pageants, which the castle is famous for. If you go there in the summer months, especially at the weekends, you will almost certainly see one of their historical performances, which are said to be a lot of fun. You will find information about them at the gate.
Warwick Castle is over a thousand years old with the first fortifications being supposedly erected by Ethelfleda, daughter of king Alfred the Great in the year 914 as part of a network to protect the Kingdom of Mercia, the present castle is a Norman motte-and-bailey type built in the 11th century. The castle is well maintained with magnificent towers and ramparts. The many attractions range from dungeons to the Great Hall, State Rooms and the Royal Weekend Party of 1898. Visitors can climb some of the towers and visit the well laid out exhibitions, many having wax figures. Warwick is said to have the best-preserved castle in Britain and has been inhabited continuously since the Middle Ages, and until 1978 was the home of the Earls of Warwick. The castle is now owned by the Tussauds Group, the company which owns Madame Tussaud's in London, who have carried out extensive restorations to the castle .
April to September: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
October to March: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Kingdom Ticket (Online Price)
Children (4-11): £18.06
In 914 AD, when the threat of invasion grew than the central Anglo-Saxon kingdom, Ethelfleda decided to make a castle around Warwick. It is one of the best Medieval Castle in England. The castle has State Rooms, Royal Weekend Party, Kingmaker exhibition, extensive grounds, torture chambers and dungeons. It’ open all week and the price is for adult £11.25 and kids £6.95. plenty of information could be find on www.warwick-castle.co.uk.
Of course you must see the castle but you do not have to pay full price for entry.
Search on EBay for Warwick Castle and you'll find for sale loads of "Buy One Get One Free" vouchers at giveaway prices.
Entry to the castle is now £17.95 at peak time for an adult ticket so you can make a substantial saving if there is a group of you!
Take your own food too, you are welcome to picnic and the grounds are a beautiful place to sit and eat.
The Hall is the largest room in the castle and throughout history has been its heart. The hall as it stands today, was first constructed in the 14th century. It was rebuilt in the 17th century and then restored in 1871 after it had been badly damaged by a fire which swept thru part of the castle.
With its red lacquer panelling, this is the first of the five staterooms in Warwick Castle. The main painting in the room is of Jeanne d'Aragon, granddaughter of King Ferdinand IV of Naples, Feted as one of the most beautiful women in 16th century Europe, she was also clever, witty and powerful
The last of the state rooms, The blue boudoir today looks much as it did in the 1870s. Dominating this room is an important picture of King Henry VIII, from the studio of Hans Holbein, which is painted on wooden panels and shows the king in his early forties.
To the left of the king are two portraits of the Bolyn sisters, Mary and Anne, both dating from the 18th century. Mary was certainly his mistress and might well have had an illegitimate son by him. Anne was the younger sister and became Henry's second, ill-fated wife in 1533. She bore him a daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth I. Three years later, she was beheaded on the King's orders.
The Warwick Castle Mill and Engine House opened to the public for the first time in April 2002. The earliest recorded mill at the castle, dates from the early 12th century. The Mill and Engine House reveals a little-known chapter of the Castle's history and shows how the innovative and extravagant Earl of Warwick was able to generate electricity for the Castle, including the lighting of the whole Castle for his wife's birthday.
The Castle continued to depend on the Mill and Engine House for its electrical power until the arrival of mains electricity in 1940 which signalled the gradual demise of the plant, leading to complete abandonment in 1954. Now at a cost of over 2 million pounds the Mill and Engine House project has returned the historic building and machines to their former glory.
The Mound in Warwick Castle was first built in 1068 on the orders of William the Conqueror, it formed the most important part of the Norman castle's defense system. Advances in military architecture, however, made it more and more of an outpost. By the 17th century, it had been absorbed within Sir Fulke Greville's garden, topped by a single Scots pine. Today it is the perfect vantage point, not for defending against marauding English troops, but for taking in the beautiful unfolding views of these peaceful grounds. (more pics taken on top of the mound on my travelogue)
This, of course, is the must see attraction in Warwick. It's pretty fabulous as castles go, the folks at the tourist office estimated you needed at least four hours there, we stayed at least 5 hours, maybe closer to 6 hours because of all the special events in the summer. I think Warwick is my favorite of all of the castles I've seen in England, the Mediaeval Festival is a lot of fun for both kids and adults.
The Great Mediaeval Summer festival runs this year from July 19th-August 31, 2008, there are a few performances than you can't see during other times of the year but there are other special activities during the rest of the year, the Haunted Castle in October, Christmas at the Castle in December, Fairy Tale Princesses & Fighting Knights in March/April, the Great Joust in May/June
The castle was an easy walk through town from the train station, you can print out a town map from the Castle website.