Walking the Walls of Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle is under siege.  It 1642 and the middle of the English Civil War and Royalists are camped outside the castle, held by Parliamentarians.  The invaders have bought cannon with them which they fire at the castle.  The smoke from the cannon clears… but the defences are too strong and the castle is undamaged.  Despite the Royalists’ best efforts, the siege is ended when Parliamentarian reinforcements arrive and the Royalists flee.

Warwick Castle Entrance
The Royalist forces could not breach Warwick’s defences

This is just one event in the very long history of Warwick Castle.  The first buildings to form part of the castle were built in 914AD by the daughter of Alfred the Great, Ethelfleda, making Warwick Castle nearly 1100 years old.  It has survived sieges, fires and has even been successfully invaded.  Over the years it has been added to and changed according to the fashion at the time so the building styles and decoration are quite varied.

Warwick Castle today

Warwick Castle today is full of activities and there is plenty for kids to see and do.  As with many of these attractions, there is far too much to see in a single visit so try to plan what you’d like to see before you go.

There are shows, mazes, gardens, dungeons and the interior of the castle to explore, as well as walking the castle walls and finding out more about its history.

It is also possible to stay at the castle and various accommodation is offered on the website.  You can choose from Mediaeval Glamping or staying in lodges in the Knight’s Village but I’d love to stay in the Tower Suites, where there is even a family room.

Keep an eye out for themed events around school holidays and national celebrations.

Our visit

As we arrived at the castle we walked through a barbican.  This is a narrow passageway between two portcullises.  In the days of yore, invading soldiers would be trapped in between the portcullises and would become sitting ducks for the defending soldiers to pick off with arrows, boiling oil or whatever the weapon of the day was.  I couldn’t help but imagine what this might have been like as we walked through the barbican.

The main part of the castle
The main part of the castle

The first thing we did was to wander around the courtyard just looking at the castle.  There is one main building and walls encircle the courtyard, broken by large towers.  The castle is built on a mound and the walls are built in a higgledy-piggledy fashion around the mound.  Stirring medieval-style battle music plays out of speakers around the site to add to the atmosphere.

Warwick Castle trebuchet
The trebuchet launching its fireball

Seeing that the trebuchet show was about to start we headed out of the courtyard and grabbed a spot on the river banks.  This siege weapon is the biggest in the world and takes four men about half an hour to crank, running in giant wheels like hamsters.  The whole thing is run as a show with costumed actors and that music.  When the thing finally let go of its flaming payload it was worth the wait – the fireball went pretty high and landed with a hefty thump several hundred metres away.  You wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that in the middle of a battle.

Tea Rooms - a great place for lunch
Tea Rooms – a great place for lunch

Pausing to watch a bit of the falconry show, we went in search of food.  There are plenty of food stalls and a couple of restaurants in the main courtyard but they didn’t really appeal.  Instead we went to the Conservatory Tea House which had sandwiches and cakes and looks over a garden with fountains and peacocks.  “This is much more our style,” exclaimed the husband.  You’ll be surprised to hear that he is ribbed mercilessly at work for enjoying the finer things in life…

Next we booked a time slot for the Princess Tower and walked around the inside of the castle while we waited.  There is a fantastic display of armour inside the main hall and the rooms are set out as they would have been used at various points in history.

The Cub had a great time inside the Princess Tower.  You go in a small group and an interactive mystery has to be solved.  I won’t say any more here except that little girls will love it.

We also chose to walk the castle walls. With Bee in the sling we climbed up one of the towers for some great views over the castle and the town of Warwick.  There are a lot of steps and many are precarious, especially when walking up and down the towers.  Inside the towers are displays showing various events in the castle’s history.

All of this took several hours and so with the children (and us) feeling exhausted we headed for home.  We’d like to go back and see the bits that we missed, like the Time Tower, the Dungeon and the Horrible Histories maze.  Perhaps next time we’ll risk some glamping…

 Thieves and drunkards

Know before you go

Warwick Castle is managed by Merlin Entertainment so if you’ve got a Merlin Pass entry will be free. You can book your tickets online at the official Warwick Castle site to save money.

If you’ve got small children use the drop-off section close to the castle before you park your car.  It took us quite a while to walk from our car to the entrance.

We wanted to walk along the walls so we didn’t use our buggy; Bee went in the sling.  You can leave your buggy at the foot of the steps but I didn’t see a dedicated buggy park.

The Princess Tower needs reserving so book your time slot outside the tower as soon as you arrive to avoid disappointment.

Some attractions aren’t suitable for little ones – we definitely couldn’t take ours into the Dungeon.  We didn’t think that the Time Tower would be suitable either.  It also had quite a big queue outside it so be prepared.

Make sure you pick up a schedule for the shows.  You shouldn’t miss them!

The kids’ costumes in the souvenir shops are very appealing.  Be warned, your little ones will want to be kitted out which will cost you an arm and a leg.  Months later, the Cub still asks to be a “pink knight” even though we were mean and didn’t buy her anything…


58 thoughts on “Walking the Walls of Warwick Castle

  1. raastha says:

    Oh my dear, you brought back my memories. While studying in England, I had this opportunity to visit, Queens summer castle. Vice nice post. I specially like the last pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  2. emmajeux says:

    I love your writing and adventures! I remember some heartfelt fights i had with someone about how it’s impossible to travel with children… Amazing to see somebody really doing it!

  3. Kerri says:

    Warwick Castle is one of the best and most beautiful (I think) in all of England. The surrounding area is wonderful to visit also. I’ve never heard of a Merlin card, so that was a new learning for me.

    • Emily Cole says:

      Agreed! I do need to see more of the local area, it’s only about an hour or so from where I live so no excuses. I hadn’t heard of Merlin cards either; we haven’t yet made up our minds if it’s worth it or not for us.

  4. Bethanny Sudibyo says:

    This is such a beautiful castle. I love your pictures and you all seems to have had a lot of fun! England is still on my list, but I haven’t had the chance to yet. So I love seeing your pictures and reading your articles!

    • Emily Cole says:

      Thanks Bethanny. We’re lucky in the UK – there’s a lot for families to do. I hope you get to England one day; there’s loads to see!

  5. Passports and Pigtails says:

    Prinesses and tea rooms and castles, I’m sold! Looks like a fantastic place to visit, I love adventures that are so family friendly. It’s nice when history for the adults meets fun for the kids. The Tower room sounds wonderful, but I’m honestly tempted by anything glamping. Great post!

    • Emily Cole says:

      Yes, this sort of place is perfect for us for those exact reasons! We’re giving glamping a go next month so if it’s a success I think there will be lots more to come!

    • Emily Cole says:

      Thank you, I’m glad you liked the post! These photos were taken with an iPhone 6S but I have literally just upgraded to a DSLR. After much agonising I went for a Nikon D3300.

  6. Diana - MVMT Blog says:

    I had no idea there was a princess tower inside the Warwick Castle! Looks like so much fun for little girls though, and I like how they have interactive activities as well. Looks like your daughter had a great time there.

  7. Juliette @ Snorkels To Snow says:

    Warwick Castle is beautiful – I visited with my parents when I was only about 14 and out of all the old buildings, churches & castles we visited on that trip, Warwick Castle was the one that stuck with me all these years. Incredible place to see.

    • Emily Cole says:

      It does seem to have that bit extra – I think it must be the the fact that it’s so old and has been added to over the centuries.

  8. kallsypage says:

    This looks amazing! I would love to go glamping at a castle like this. Warwick seems to have such rich history and tons of character. I also loved the old time fashion ensembles in your photo!

    • Emily Cole says:

      Yes, there’s something to interest most people here. The sky that day made taking photos difficult – it was overcast yet very bright.

  9. ckaway says:

    What a fun excursion! Really enjoyed reading about your adventure at Warwick Castle. I have never been there but sure looks like it would be an enjoyable experience.

  10. Daphne says:

    Love your pictures – crystal clear. I don’t even need to visit the castle to appreciate its beauty. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Eric Gamble says:

    About how long did you guys stay there? Seems like you spent many hours! I hope to be in that area next April So I would love to check out Warwick Castle but didn’t know if its a whole day event which is not a big deal

    • Emily Cole says:

      We must have spent about 4 hours there. A good hour of that was lunch and we were slowed down quite a lot by the kids. You could whizz around a lot quicker than us. But we didn’t see the Dungeon or the Time Tower which might take up more time.

  12. Suma Jain says:

    Warwick Castle is so beautiful, its like going back in time!! The Tea House reminds me of the vintage romantic novels, with the peacock in the garden its truly magical. Its good to see they have included various fun activities along with the tour of the place. Hope to visit it on my next trip to the UK.

  13. Corinne says:

    I don’t have small kids anymore, but I think this castle and the Merlin pass would make exploring the grounds even that much more fun. I love being silly, especially medeivally silly.

    • Emily Cole says:

      They’ve done a great job in making it as fun and as interactive as possible. The kids loved the actors who were wandering around.

  14. Indrani says:

    I like how they do up these old castles. Perfect place to take the kids to.
    I have visited a couple of them and I am so charmed by them.
    This post of yours too has triggered my urge to visit it.

    • Emily Cole says:

      I am very guilty of not visiting local attractions that I would run to if they were abroad. I’m gaining a new appreciation of the UK now that it’s harder for me to leave 😉

  15. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) says:

    Medieval glamping sounds so much fun (as does staying in one of the suites!) I’ve never visited Warwick castle but had no idea you could actually stay there too!

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