A stay at Warwick Castle – Part 1

On Sunday 18th August 2019 my family and I spent the night in a beautiful lodge in the Knights Village at Warwick Castle.

Warwick Castle

We got to stay there was because I had entered a competition back at Easter with Merlin Annual Pass, and I won! I still cannot believe it to this day that I was one of the lucky four who won a stay at one of the Merlin Theme Parks and I was the lucky one who won the Warwick Castle stay. This was a dream as I love Warwick Castle and to stay here for the night was so exciting for my family and me.

Emerson enjoying Warwick Castle

Waking up early on the Sunday morning we grabbed our bags and headed for the door. Jumping in the car and heading toward Warwick anticipation growing wondering what our accommodation was going to be like. Warwick Castle’s Knight Village offer two different types of accommodation, The Medieval Glamping Pods and The Knight’s Village Lodge, and we were going to stay in a lodge, I honestly could not believe it!

As we pulled into Warwick Castle car park, with our printed car park permit to hand we parked in the Knights Village residence car park and headed to the reception to check in.

Inside the Horrible Histories Maze

After checking in, the lovely receptionist made sure we had our breakfast and dinner reservations booked (breakfast was included in our stay, and you have the option to dine in the great hall for dinner too). Our lodge was not ready, completely understandable as we had got to the Castle for just after 10am and our lodge would not be ready until 4pm, so we headed into the castle for our first day.

As we entered the castle we were handed a map of the grounds and a leaflet with times of the shows and activities that were on during our time there. We couldn’t wait to get started. Scanning our passes and walking through the turnstiles, Emerson was desperate to do the Horrible Histories Maze and as it is just on your left as you come down the hill, just across from the castle itself, we thought it would be a perfect start to our first day.

Photo opportunity in the Horrible Histories Maze
Collecting the Stamps

Emerson grabbed a stamp book as we entered the maze and was determined to stamp all six destinations on it. First we headed towards the Terrible Tudors, trying not to hit all the dead ends in the hedged maze as we made our way through the twists and turns to where the stamp was located. At each stamp location there was an area themed to its dedicated time in history. Once Emerson had his first stamp (and the photo op) we were off again to find the next. All six areas of the maze have snippets of information of the era and something for guests to either get involved in or marvel at. Emerson’s favourite area was the World War 1 bunker. Once all six stamps had been collected we headed out of the maze to find that the exit and we had the choice of two ways out, one for children and one for adults. Emerson loved the children’s way out, as tom and I just casually walked out of the maze Emerson got to jump and climb over logs that had formed a small obstetrical course. Such a good idea! Carrying on the fun as long as possible!

The children’s way out was so much more fun then the adults exit

Now we had completed the maze our next port of call was the castle itself! I adore castles and anything medieval so for me this was incredible. The castle stands proud on its grounds, a medieval masterpiece! Walking over the bridge and under the arched gateway you make your way into the heart of the castle. It is a place of wonder. The first thing you notice is the huge stone walls of the inner castle with a green in the center. To your left you have The Warwick Castle Dungeons and a little shop selling souvenirs and knights armour, swards, helmets etc. everything your little knight or princess needs to feel the part while at the castle, and of course the main castle hall and rooms. To the right some stalls and the entrance to The Bear Tower and Guys Tower where you can walk up to the top of the castles battlements (it has some spectacular views! Well worth climbing the 500+ windy stairs), and in the near distance is a mount you can walk up for even more fantastic view of the castle and surrounding area.

Maze done, time for fun in the castle

The question when you enter the castle is where to begin, there is so much to see and do. First we headed into the little medieval shop to collect Emerson’s pop badge you get when you complete the Horrible Histories Maze. We had promised Emerson he could spend some of his birthday money (he turned 8 three weeks before) on something while we were there and so he chose a sword, a helmet and a cross bow to use during our stay. These where great choices as he used his sward during an activity in the castle, and played with everything while we were at the lodge. He loved being able to feel like a knight while we were there. As we are Merlin Pass holders we do get 20% off food, drink and merchandise in Warwick Castle so that came in handy.

Emerson loved having a real sward

With his new weapons in hand and with the sun shining we thought we would explore the activities they had on outside and leave the indoor activities in case the weather turned on us. Walking around the green and through the huge gate at the other end of the castle we headed down the hill to the Archery and Knight’s school they had on one of the greens towards the river. Emerson couldn’t wait to give them a go. You have to purchase a ticket to go on these activities, they are £5 per activity and we really wanted our boy to try them both so we headed to the little shack that was dedicated for these two activities, paid our £10 and stood in the queue for Emerson to have his turn. It was nice to be able to see what he was about to do and when it came to his turn Emerson was excited and couldn’t wait to get started!

Our Warwick Castle Knight

Emerson wanted to try the Knight’s school first, three children go in a little arena together were they are given a real sword (don’t worry they are blunt) each to learn skills with (no wonder he wanted to do this one first!), they got to learn how to take down their opponent with different blade skills. Emerson swung his sward to hit his “opponent” which was a pole wrapped with rope and he loved every second if it! Once the children had taken down their opponent they were given a lance and learnt how to hold and charge with it like the knights of old. Emerson couldn’t get enough and it was amazing to see how much he was loving this! I have to give it to the man who was dressed as an archer, he stayed in character the whole time and kept the children engaged during their time in the arena, coming out with things that just made us all laugh. He really was brilliant and you could tell the children loved it too! Once all the skills had been learnt each child was given their sword again and was knighted. They were now knight’s of Warwick Castle and given their own certificate saying so. Emerson was so proud! He loved it!

Becoming an Archer

Once our boy had been knighted we headed to the archery where Emerson (adults can have a go too, it’s not just for kids) was taught how to stand with a bow and fire arrows to the target, to say he enjoyed this was an understatement, we paid for 12 arrows and I’m glad as he got through his 12 like a shot (pardon the pun), he really enjoyed it. After the two activities he was absolutely buzzing with excitement.

Emerson with the Warwick Castle Knight

Now our little knight/archer had learnt some new skills and was beyond excited we headed for another activity for him. During the day they have another Knight’s School on for the children. On one of the other greens, four times a day during summer, all your child get to join in and all they needs is a stick, sward or a weapon. A gentleman dressed as a Knight came to the area that had been cordoned off for this activity. I was worried Emerson wouldn’t want to do it after the other Knight school he had just done, but he was raring to go. With his sward in tow we got to watch the Warwick Castle Knight teach all the children sward skills they would need in a battle. He was brilliant! The way he engaged with the children and parents was amazing and we could not stop laughing with what he was saying. The people that work at this castle really know what they are doing, and I have to admit I never thought I would ever see a knight do the floss, but we all got to see it that day! He also got two dads in the audience to join in and “die” and the children just couldn’t get enough. The Knight taught the little knight’s and princesses a sword routine and then they preformed it to us. When they had finished they were invited to line up and were knighted as Knight’s of Warwick Castle, they all looked like they loved it. I was so glad Emerson had done both knights schools as they were both very different and he loved them. We were having the best day watching our boy have so much fun!

Enjoying an ice cream after lunch

By this time is was lunch time, we headed to one of the food stands and decided to try the loaded fries. I can highly recommend (if you like/eat pork, apologies if you don’t) the BBQ pulled pork loaded fired, they are amazing! We finished with an ice cream, and then with full tummies we headed back down hill and over the wooden bridge for The Mighty Trebuchet talk. An archer and a page told us some history about the trebuchet and how in its era it was used during wars and sieges. We got to hear about the different things they use to throw over castle walls to win wars, things you would not believe and even imagen. It was very interesting to hear more about this amazing piece of machinery. During our visit they could not show the mighty trebuchets power as they had discovered a crack in its arm and with fear of it breaking to keep everyone safe they could not fire this amazing wooden beast, but they insured us they intended to fix it for next year.

The War of the Roses Live

With the talk over we stayed down near the trebuchet, because just behind it was the arena for The War of the Roses live show and it was going to start soon. Now this is one of Warwick Castles shows you do not want to miss. Before you enter you get to decide what side of the war you want to support and you head toward their side of the arena. I don’t want to give anything away on what happens during this show, but all I will say is if you like anything to do with horses, stunts, fire, sward fighting and amazing actors recreating a very historical time in English history then this really is a must for you! It’s defiantly something you don’t want to miss during the summer at the castle. We were captivated throughout with everything that was going on and the pure talent of the actors. The daring sword fights and break neck horse riding kept us on edge throughout. We cheered and clapped and booed our way through half an hour of action. It was fantastic!

One of the stunning birds in The Falconers Quest

After the War of the Roses, we headed back over the wooden bridge to see Warwick Castle’s other show, the new Falconers Quest. Again, another amazing show that you cannot miss. This is a falconry show like no other. Again I don’t want to give any spoilers away, all I will say is you follow the journey of Hobby, and how he makes his dream come true, sounds a little cheesy but trust me, you need to see this show. The birds are of course the stars, with Owls, Eagles and Hawks flying over your head (literally, some are so close you feel you have to duck! It’s fantastic!) We all oowed and awwed with each new bird. It was spectacular. We all cheered when the show was over and it left us wanting more.

The castle does put both The War of the Roses and Falconers Quest on twice every day during the summer and we had opted to watch the afternoon shows. With the Falconers Quest finished we decided it was time for us to go and see the lodge that we would be staying in for the evening. Heading out of the castle and down to the Knight Village, all three of us where excited to see where we would be spending the night. It did not disappoint.

The Knight Village

We stayed during the Summer of 2019 and Warwick Castle do have different events on throughout the year, please do check when shows and activities are available by checking out https://www.warwick-castle.com/ before you visit, you can also pre book tickets for your day here too (not sponsored).

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