Warwick Castle – one of the oldest and largest intact castles in the British Isles, it’s only one hour away from MK, and is a truly fantastic day out for all the family. The UK is full of places that are packed with history, of course, but it’s one of the best places I’ve visited for making history interesting and accessible for everyone. We visited with our 6 and 4 year olds, and there were so many things to keep all of us interested and entertained for a full day.
It’s not on a massive site; there’s the area inside the castle walls, and although some of the attractions are a short walk outside the walls to the surrounding castle grounds, there’s lots to see in a fairly small area, which is great for those with littler legs.
This is what we loved about the day:
- The working trebuchet – a massive war machine from the Middle Ages. It is mind-blowing to watch, and to learn about what it was like to operate one of these in a medieval battle.
- The live archery demonstration. Funny, very impressive bow skills, and we learned a lot of great historical facts!
- The Horrible Histories maze – loads of fun, especially the scales for detecting a witch.
- Meet the princess in her tower, hear her story and help her solve a riddle (for younger visitors accompanied by their adults).
- The birds of prey display – seeing eagles flying about the castle is amazing!
- The watermill and riverside stroll.
- Climbing the battlements to the highest turrets of the castle, and the stunning views over Warwickshire.
- The beautiful rooms inside the castle, set out as they were used by its Victorian inhabitants, and complete with their waxworks.
Our children were too young to do this, but had we been alone, we would have been tempted by the Castle Dungeon experience (there’s an extra charge for this). We didn’t get round to the Time Tower experience either, which gives you the whole history of the castle with immersive multimedia (it’s the first thing I’ll go to when we return!).
How long did it take?
We got there just after opening time at 10. We were busy all day, with the various shows, displays and activities. The little one was flagging by 4:45, and we still hadn’t done all that there was to see; however, it is open until 6pm, so you might do better than we did! But it is easy to see how you could enjoy a second day there too…
Food and Facilities
There is a seated buffet restaurant, a tearoom in the formal gardens, and several kiosks offering delicious hot food such as turkey legs and pulled pork rolls, and ice cream and doughnuts. The staff were very friendly, and accommodating of our fussy four-year-old!
There are toilets located in the main castle and out in the tearoom, and portacabins elsewhere on site. Lovely separate baby changing and feeding facilities too, separate from the male/female toilets.
Buggies are not allowed inside the castle, but there is a good-sized buggy park just outside the door. All the outdoor paths are accessible, but there are many steps up to the battlements and viewpoints. There is a small adventure playground near the exit, which we used to bribe our older one away at the end of the day.
Cost: It’s a packed day out with lots included in the price, and the admission price reflects that. At the time of writing, adult tickets are £27, and child / senior tickets are £24.
BUT – there are ways to reduce the cost:
- Buy online before you go. The savings you can make, depending on the time of year and how far in advance you buy, can be huge. They often have flash sales too – I’ve seen prices down to £15 pp before.
- We stayed at The Warwick Arms, which is literally around the corner from the castle on the High Street. It’s a partner hotel, and offers a ticket package at a much-reduced rate with an overnight stay.
- Stay at the Castle – they have several package and accommodation deals available, including a yurt!
- Find a Merlin Attractions deal, which often come up on cereal packets. These usually offer a one free ticket with one full-priced ticket – all the more money for ice cream!
Cost: 4/5 (even better if you can find one of the many deals around)
Target Age: everyone will love it here
We all loved it, and we all came away having learned something about the castle and British history. I’d highly recommend it as one of the best days out around – especially if you can get a good deal on admission – and we will be going back very soon.
We visited in September 2017, staying at a partner hotel and paying in full for their B&B and Castle Entry package. We were not asked to provide this review.
Shows and attractions change by season – check the website for the most up to date information for the time of your visit.
Reviewed by Rebecca Chamberlain