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Looking to get all the details on whether a visit to Warwick Castle is worth it? Perfect, I’ll answer everything in this ultimate Warwick Castle review!
One of my favourite castles in all of England is Warwick Castle. My family and I have been coming here for years ever since we used to invest in a Merlin Annual Pass to go in all the theme parks! Warwick Castle is one of those places that remains fond in your memories way after you’ve left.
Warwick Castle takes you on a journey of over a thousand years of history!
Originally founded by William the Conquerer in 1066, Warwick castle has seen many notorious visitors including kings, queens, knights, nobles and famous politicians. Even now, some ghosts have been spotted haunting these hallowed halls.
Warwick Castle is not just any castle, it’s an immersive experience that transports you back in time with its award winning interactive exhibits, reenactment staff and entertaining shows like jousting and their trebuchet!
Here’s the ultimate Warwick Castle review and why a day out here is totally worth it.
Warwick Castle History – how old is Warwick Castle?
Did you know there is over 11 centuries of history at Warwick Castle?! There have been more battles that involved Warwick Castle than most castles in England combined!
Warwick Castle was built at the birth of an Empire and continued as a stronghold chess piece in battles for the crown long after that. It has been a battlement, castle, family home and tourist attraction through the ages with a bloody and colourful past.
Who built Warwick Castle?
There has been evidence of settlers on this site since the threat of Danish invasions in 914 when Ethelfleda, daughter of Alfred the Great, ordered for a ‘burgh’ to be built. This was an earth beaten rampart to protect the settlement in Warwick from invaders.
William the Conqueror
Then, when the Normans invaded England, William the Conqueror took the English crown in the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Two years later, he makes a wooden motte and bailey fort.
With William I came the manorial system which basically means we gave knights a title and let them rule over a piece of land or manor. With this Henry de Beaumont is appointed the 1st Earl of Warwick. There was an Earl of Warwick at the castle until 1978!
In the 13th century a stone castle is made in place of a wooden one and by the 14th century, many of the towers and ramparts we see today are built.
Warwick castle remained an important stronghold for many battles including the War of the Roses. Richard Neville, the 16th Earl of Warwick gained the title Kingmaker for deposing Henry VI and Edward IV.
You can see this story in Warwick castle today. Many monarchs like Queen Elizabeth I and William III visited the castle too!
The Greville Family Home & Today
Then in the 17th century it became a royal home to the Greville family gifted by King James I. During the restorations it was actually part of the Gunpower plot of 1605 with Guy Fawkes.
The new residents made lots of extensions including the state dining rooms, conservatory and gardens. The last Greville Earl of Warwick, Charles Guy, was a movie star in Hollywood. He took the stage name of Michael Brook and starred in Dawn Patrol in 1938.
That was all the way up until 1978 when the Tussaud’s Group purchased the castle for us to visit today. In the last 10 years alone there has been £6 million worth of restoration work.
Ghosts of Warwick Castle
I don’t think there is a single castle in England that doesn’t have a few ghost stories! Warwick Castle has many spectres that have been sighted;
- Sir Fulke Greville – Fulke Greville was murdered at Warwick Castle when he got into a heated argument with Ralph Haywood. Ralph was convinced that Fulke was cheating him in his will. Fulke was violently stabbed to death and to this very day haunts his family home and the Watergate Tower where he met his untimely end.
- Moll Bloxham – Moll Bloxham was a supposed witch who was caught stealing from the Earl of Warwick. She was tortured in public and before she died put a curse on Warwick Castle. A grey lady is seen floating around the castle thought to be Moll who enjoys giving people a fright if alone!
- Warwick Castle Dungeon – A ghost with no name is said to haunt the Warwick Castle dungeon. Rumour has it, it’s a former jailer who enjoyed torturing prisoners there. There are also spectres of those tortured prisoners too. Enter if you dare!
Practical information for visiting Warwick Castle
Where is Warwick castle and how to get there
Warwick Castle is in the town of Warwick (no prizes there) which lies on the banks of the River Avon in the county of Warwickshire;
How to reach Warwick Castle by Car – Warwick Castle can easily be accessed from the M40 by coming off at junction 15, from here it’s an easy 2 mile drive that’s well signposted.
How to reach Warwick Castle by train – From London Marylebone there is a direct train heading to Warwick Castle that should take you around 1 hour 45 minutes. If you’re heading from Birmingham you can get a direct train from Birmingham Snow Hill to Warwick. After that it’s a one mile walk to the castle. Check rail routes with National Rail.
Warwick Castle Parking
If you’re heading here by car, then you can park up in one of two carparks. If you have a Merlin Premium Pass or Warwick Castle Annual Pass then parking is FREE. But, if not, there is a charge;
- Stables Car Park Express parking | CV34 4QU – £10 charge
- Stratford Road Car Park | CV34 6AH – £6 charge
When you enter the carpark you won’t pay, but on the way out make sure you pay at the machines so you get a token to leave! Or, you’ll get stuck if there’s a queue.
How to purchase Warwick castle tickets and prices
- Regular tickets – I would 100% recommend booking online a few days before your visit. The castle tickets then are around £19 per adult. If you buy on the day these can jump up to £28! You can also buy joint castle and dungeon tickets in advance for £24 whereas on the day these would be £33. So, it pays to book before you go! I also LOVED the fact these came with a rainy day guarantee, so if it rains for more than two hours while you’re here, they’ll let you come back for FREE!
- Warwick castle dungeon – Unfortunately, regular tickets don’t get access to the Castle dungeons, these cost extra. On the day it’s £10. But, like above, you can buy a joint castle and dungeon ticket in advance for £24!
- Annual Passes – If you live in the area, or like heading back a few times a year there are Warwick Castle Annual passes for as little as £35. Merlin Passes get you into some of the UK’s top theme parks like Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and Alton Towers and more!
Warwick castle opening times
Warwick Castle is open from 10am but closes at different times throughout the year depending on the season. In winter it closes at 4pm and in summer it closes at 5pm.
During the month of October the castle is open until 6pm to 9pm for certain fright night in honour of Halloween!
Can you stay at Warwick Castle?
Yes! If you want to extend your stay they have a variety of accommodation to choose from.
Warwick Castle accommodation is made for all budgets so you can be a princess for the day in their tower suite with its royal four poster bed, go medieval glamping or stay in their Knight’s village.
Warwick Castle Review – 8 reasons why Warwick castle is worth a visit!
1. It’s one of the most well preserved castles in England
England is full of old castles but there aren’t many like Warwick Castle. English castles that have stood the test of time of over 11 centuries are ruined or no longer standing!
As I have an active imagination, I love ruined castles. I find them so romantic and can dream what being there would have been like when it was built. But, in Warwick Castle, I don’t need to imagine. It’s like actually walking through time!
The castle has seen so many rulers, owners and restorations so now it’s a combination of all the centuries in one place. You can climb on 14th century ramparts, walk through 17th century state rooms and learn about modern day conservation in their bird sanctuaries and gardens.
Over the past 10 years Warwick Castle has made over 6 million pounds worth of restoration works so it’s beautifully preserved to enjoy today.
2. There are so many ramparts and towers to explore
One of my favourite things to do in castles is climb on the ramparts and towers.
In years past it would have been patrolled by guards on the look out for enemies from afar, but today they always provide the most unique views.
Warwick Castle has so many castle walls and towers to explore and I loved the fact that you were free to roam here.
Warwick Castle, once upon a time, was one of the most powerful castles in England and it grew and expanded through the centuries.
A must visit in Warwick Castle is to climb up and walk on the castle walls.
Originally, these curtain walls were created so that archers could get from one part of the castle to the other easily if the castle was under attack. But today, they provide breathtaking views of the complex.
It’s not for the faint of heart as you’ll climb up to heights of 39 metres! But, it will be worth it as you’ll see some spectacular views of the area below.
On the route you can climb up to Guy’s Tower which is the first defence tower you will see as you enter. It was built in the 14th century and the view from the top will make your jaw drop!
There’s also Caesar’s tower which is 44 metres, along with the gatehouse and Barbican.
Or you can climb up to the mound, this is the original part of the castle from the 10th century. From here you also get a magnificent view of the countryside and, on a clear day, you can see all the way to Stratford-upon-Avon, where Shakespeare was born!
3. There are Warwick Castle events throughout the year
The best part of Warwick Castle are their reenactment shows throughout the year. So, even if you’ve seen this castle many times you know there’s a new exciting event in store.
These shows really bring the castle to life.
You can watch knights jousting in the summer, meet a princess in her tower, watch the royal bowman make his mark with a bow and arrow or visit the castle dungeon for a fright!
The Falconers Quest Warwick castle
New for this year is the Falconer’s Quest at Warwick Castle, the UK’s biggest bird’s of prey show.
Here you can see over 70 rare birds take flight all the around you while you join Hobby on his quest to find birds for the castle.
I was pleased to hear that the birds are here as part of conservation projects and they loved getting out to flap their wings. The birds are fed during the show and are well looked after.
I could not believe the sheer size of some of the birds coming out and flying on top of the tower.
Rosie, the Andean Condor, has a wing span of 9 ft! That’s 4 ft taller than me and at one point she flew right for us and I felt her wings touch my eye haha.
There were also Eagle Owls, Harris Hawks, Red Kits, Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons and Stellar’s Sea Eagles too. We sat right at the front so had the best view of all of them!
In the finale, you can see all 70 birds take to the skies and fly around the area, it’s absolutely breathtaking to watch. I would highly recommend it.
The Bowman Show
This was the first show we watched at Warwick Castle. Here you can join the royal Bowman talk about archers in war. Did you know that King Edward III banned men from playing football in the 14th century and forced them to practice archery instead in preparation for war?
Archers were also mainly peasants and the majority of them would die on the battlefield.
This is because they would be first in line on foot, with knights and kings on horses at the back. But, you don’t hear about many archers in battle history, do you?
It was fascinating to see the Bowman shoot his arrows high into the air and straight through the eyes of a helmet! This is where an archer would aim to kill his enemies.
This all came with a really informative and entertaining commentary which was hilarious! A must watch.
The War of the Roses Live Jousting
The War of the Roses were some of the most famous battles in English history.
It lasted 32 years and was between the House of Lancaster and the House of York. King Edward III was part of the Plantagenet dynasty and both the Houses of Lancaster and York were his descendants.
The Lancastrian King Henry IV took the crown by force and it divided the country into believing he was a ‘pretender’ to the crown along with his sons who became kings after him. The House of York believed they were the rightful heirs to the throne and so fought for the crown.
Here you can watch some live action jousting between the two houses and watch knights in action! They even have their very own jousting stadium where you can watch and cheer along with your favourite knights with their lances and favours.
4. Warwick Castle has the largest functioning trebuchet in the world!
This part deserves a point in itself. When I was a kid, I used to play the games Age of Empires and Total War (showing my age and the fact I was a weird kid) and so I loved learning about battle strategies, warfare and weapons including using the trebuchet.
A trebuchet is essentially a huge catapult that hurls big boulders and fireballs to destroy your enemies.
They even used to hurl animals into the sky including pigs, so they really did fly!
A trebuchet required manpower to move and men used to walk like hamsters on the wheels that turn inside. Some even used to throw up due to the motion only for it to fall back on their heads!
You have to think, you’re at war. You haven’t slept properly, or eaten much and you’re having to walk inside a never-ending sphere. A lot of the men would remain blindfolded to stop the sickness. It would drive anyone mad!
The Mighty Trebuchet at Warwick Castle is an authentic representation of this killing machine and is the largest of its kind in the world. It stands at 18 metres tall and weighs a whopping 22 tonnes!
You can attend their trebuchet talk and watch them catapult a flaming boulder into the sky. Unfortunately, when I visited that day the trebuchet wasn’t working but having seen it in the past it’s really impressive.
5. Travel back in time with their staterooms and exhibits
As Warwick Castle is owned by the Tussaud’s group it’s fitting that there are some exhibitions with waxworks!
You may have heard of the famous Madame Tussaud’s museum in London that showcases waxwork models.
Madame Tussaud’s originates from Marie Tussaud’s of France who used to take the heads of people being executed to practice her waxworks. She created her first model of Voltaire in 1777 and used to tour the country with her collection of lookalikes!
She eventually settled down in London and opened a museum in 1835 and it’s still a major tourist attraction today. Warwick castle has some famous people you may or may not recognise as you’re walking about.
This is my favourite exhibit of Warwick Castle. The sights, sound and smells really make you feel like you’ve travelled back in time to the days of Richard Neville the Kingmaker!
The year is 1471 and Richard Neville is preparing his troops and the castle for battle. As you walk through, you’ll find decorated horses, see soldiers sharpening their swords and archers preparing arrows.
You can even pick up chainmail, shields and swords (don’t worry they’re made of wood)! I couldn’t believe how heavy the armour and chainmail was, some armour used to weight over 50 pounds and that’s before you’ve even picked up your sword and shield.
The Great Hall & Staterooms
The Great Hall is the largest room in all of Warwick Castle and was built in the 14th century!
But, back then it used to be filled with hay. It was then rebuilt by the Greville family in the 17th century and the one we see today is a reconstruction from 1871.
Here you can see knights propped on horses with suits of armour and swords displayed on the walls.
It’s a huge room with a magnificent teak wood ceiling. Don’t miss Guy’s Porridge Pot, that is over 500 years old and used to cook the stew for a whole garrison.
The Staterooms are magnificently decorated including the State Dining Room. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert have dined in here.
As you walk around you can admire the opulence of the bedrooms, paintings of royal family members and all the gold gilt splendour!
The Royal Weekend Party
The year is 1898 and Frances the Countess of Warwick is having a party you’re invited to!
Here you can find all the royal guests as waxworks including the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII) and Winston Churchill.
The rooms here are beautiful and gives you a feel for Victorian England. I loved all the dresses and ballgowns the women were wearing for the party. If you’ve been watching Victoria on TV, you’d love it.
6. Gorge on delectable cuisine in the Warwick Castle restaurants
There are plenty of places to eat at Warwick Castle.
They have stalls open selling burgers, roast rolls, medieval ‘dirty’ chips and sandwiches.
Or you can dine in their Undercroft Restaurant which is a buffet serving all you can eat pizza and pasta! It costs £12.95 per adult and £7 for kids.
The Coach House Warwick Castle
We decided to eat at the Coach House Restaurant which is located by the ticket entrance. It’s recently been refurbished and had the most beautiful wisteria!
I went with my family and we all had something different. I decided to have Guy’s Tower Hot Dog topped with pulled BBQ pork on top and medieval ‘dirty’ chips which are skin on! My Dad had the Fish and Chips and my Mum decided to have one of their sandwiches.
We were all really impressed with the quality of the food and the reasonable price. It was the same that you’d get if you had a country pub lunch. They also did a great selection of wines and beers if you fancied it!
7. You can immerse yourself into nature and lush gardens
As well as a historic castle with tales of battle and dungeons, Warwick Castle has some beautiful gardens to visit while you’re here. In fact, there are 64 acres!
The gardens have been here since 1576, around the time of Queen Elizabeth I and have developed since the 18th century into a botanists paradise. So, you can escape from the ramparts and into an oasis.
During Summer, some of my best memories of Warwick Castle were drinking a glass of Pimm’s surrounded by Peacock’s here! Did you know that Peacock’s sleep in trees? Well, you do now!
The peacocks wander about freely in their home of the iconic Peacock Garden where you can find topiary Peacocks along with a gorgeous fountain at the centre.
These (rather loud) residents are truly stunning, showing off their colourful feathers while they laze about in the sunshine. If you’re lucky you’ll see one spreading their feathers too.
Don’t forget to check out their conservatory from 1786 that used to hold the Warwick Vase, a piece of Roman pottery that was discovered. It has since been donated to a museum and now a reconstruction is in its place.
You can relax here in the Peacock Garden and drink a coffee from their Costa coffee café. Or, in summer, they have a Pimm’s stall. It’s always Pimm’s o’clock somewhere!
If you take a walk down to the River Avon banks you will find a restored Victorian Mill.
There has been a mill on the site since the 12th century, but the one we see today is a reconstruction of the water wheel from 1894.
They actually used the mill for electricity to power Warwick Castle until 1940!
Here you can learn about the water wheel mill in their exhibit and catch some spectacular views out over the River Avon.
There are also some beautifully manicured gardens nearby with the remains of the 17th century Castle Bridge that led over to the castle.
8. It’s an incredibly historic day out in England!
Most castles in England you can see within a couple of hours, but Warwick Castle takes the whole day and then some to explore, so it’s a fantastic day out and well worth the money! There’s so much to do you will be spoiled for choice.
I always remember a visit to Warwick Castle long after I’ve left as you learn and experience so much.
I’m a huge history buff and so it’s the perfect day out to travel back in time and feel what it was like all those centuries ago.
Warwick Castle has truly stood the test of time and is still, after over a thousand years, an iconic stronghold that inspires people. They will continue to talk about this castle for centuries to come, so you really are a part of history here too.
Don’t miss a visit to Warwick Castle on your adventures in England!
With thanks to Warwick Castle for gifting me tickets in exchange for this review. Although I was a guest, all photos and opinions are my own.