We recently headed to Warwick Castle to experience a mediaeval luxury glamping getaway thanks to the PR Agency who extended us a press invite. We were offered a night’s stay in their King’s Tent as well as two days’ entrance tickets (with breakfast) to the Castle in return for a review of the place. It was the first time we have ever been to Warwick hence we provide you fresh eyes to the facilities, activities as well as what it was like to stay in the tent. Our getaway blog post also shares what our family experienced through photos as well as an 8-minute HD music video.
We arrived at Warwick around 11am and headed straight to Stratford Road car park as we were told that bays 9 or 8 would be the closest to the Knight’s Village area. Next, we headed to reception, dropped our bags off and obtained our access code for the gate that leads directly from the village into the Castle grounds. This was great as we could drop off our luggage bag and just carry our picnic bag with us as we explored the Castle grounds until 4pm before we headed back to the the Knight’s Village to check-in and get ready for the evening.
Now for those who have never been to Warwick Castle, its a mediaeval castle developed from an original built by William the Conqueror in 1068, located in Warwickshire on a bend of the River Avon. The Castle which goes back almost 11 centuries is being restored and todate, they have already spent about £6million in the last 10 years alone.
There are lots to do at the Castle. Here are just some of the not to be missed attractions:
- The Princess Tower (Amazing for little ones)
- Tour of the Great Hall (Fabulous life like replicas of important people)
- Guy’s Tower (watch those knees as you do have a long way to walk up narrow stairs)
- The Birds of Prey Show (A fantastically choreographed performance by the majestic birds)
- The War of the Roses Show (A not to be missed Epic show! We watched it twice)
- The Mighty Trebuchet (Worth watching while you relax by the River and have a snack)
- Horrible Histories Maze (which our kids loved as they enjoy watching Horrible Histories on CBBC)
- The Peacock Gardens (fabulous place to relax and take a short break while admiring the peacocks which are everywhere, there is also a restaurant and lovely ice-cream bar there.
We would totally recommend bringing a picnic with you as there are lots of areas (64 acres of it) for you to sit around and enjoy the stunning view. We found some benches but people just brough along a picnic mat. We brought along sandwiches, a mat, and lots of snacks to feed the kids. There are plenty of food stalls there, mainly selling pasty, sandwiches and hot food with drinks and ice-cream. We only spotted 2 restaurants…The Undercroft Restaurant and The Coach House Restaurant, which was beautifully set next to the Peacock’s Garden with stunning views, Costa Coffee and proper ice-cream.
The Princess Tower
Our first stop was the Princess Tower, we had to pre-book a slot and waited no more than 15 minutes for the show to begin which was very magical. We joined a group of parents and kids and were ushered into a room where we heard a narration of the story, next we were guided in for an interactive sit down story telling. The experience was very magical for our kids and they really enjoyed it…without giving too much away, we loved the animation part of it. If you have young kids, do make a point to head to the Princess Tower.
The Great Hall
There are lots of tours throughout the day organised by the History Team if you would like a more indept tour of the rooms in the castle and the Great Hall (which was first contructed in the 14th centrury), we opted to walk on our own leisurely pace discovering the grandness of each rooms as it was more convenint with the kids in tow. Our kids loved this, as they got to see the life like replicas of important people in each rooms which was somewhat frozen in time. Some rooms had audio narration which is a great feature as you could listen about the person who lived there as you walked around.
A view from the Top of Guy’s Tower
Now there are many towers located in the Castle, one of the more popular tower is Guy’s Tower which was built in the 14th century and it is one of the first towers that you would spot when you entered the grounds. We would totally not recommend this to anyone who is afraid of heights or who does not like walking up steep narrow and windy stairs. To be honest, it was a struggle getting our 5 year-old up the tower (which was five storey high / 39m tall) as it was a hot day and he did not enjoy walking up the long stairs. But, the view on the top is stunning and was totally worth it!
Besides this tower, there is also The Curtain Walls which connests all the towers and main castle structure with walkways. The Mound, which is one of the oldest parts of the Castle, Bear & Clarence Towers and Caesar’s Tower which is the tallest tower (same height as 10 double decker buses) in the castle and home to the dungeons.
Here’s a short 8 minute video which we have created of our 2-day experience of Warwick Castle, its facilites as well as what we did there. Do view it if you plan to head to the castle as it will give you an idea of what to expect there with little sneak peak clips of the activities as well.
Birds of Prey Show
One of our highlights of the trip has to be the spectacular Birds of Prey display. We saw some fabulous birds such as Condors, Vultures, Owls and Eagles which flew from the Castle ramparts. Held twice a day, the is show so popular with both adults and kids, we loved it so much we watched it on both days.
The birds are so well behaved and were great entertainers, big applause also goes to Chris O’Donnell, who has over 30 years expedrience of training birds. He was funny, calm and very entertaining as well. The show gives you the chance to get up close and personal with the birds…as you can see in the photo below, the Condor swooped down really low to our eye level (don’t worry there are lots of health and safety guys around). There were benches on one side, standing spots for spectators on the other side and there were also lots of people just sitting around having a picnic as they enjoyed the show. Would recommend heading there about half hour before the show starts to get a good seat.
Flight of the Condor
If you missed the shows, don’t worry, you could walk further along and there is a dedicated place where you could view most of the birds showcased in the show there, do watch the video (scroll above) to see what this looks like.
War of the Roses
What can we say? We LOVED LOVED the War of the Roses! It was… in one word… Epic! The showmanship, props, costumes, acting and performance was totally professional and you can see that the cast has put in 110% of hard work into it.We headed to the Arena and started queing half an hour before the show began which was perfect timing as we got a great spot to stand (you could sit on the wooden platform too), the first day we decided to support the House of York whilst on the second day we decided to support The House of Lancashire. Kids were totally thrilled watching the show… there was fearless jousting by the team, stunt horse riding as well as rehearsed battles. What we loved most was the cast getting all the spectators to cheer our team on (reds / whites)…so we were chanting ‘White’ when we were with the House of York and ‘Red Rose’ when we were under the House of Lancashire and Booing the opposite side. The show runs twice daily on weekends in the month of June and July (until 2 September).
What is the War of the Roses?
In a nutshell….It’s 1455 and the House of Lancaster holds the English throne. King Henry VI’s crown is challenged by the House of York. The rival houses clash in battle and the bloody war that ensues was to last over 30 years.
We could not believe that the actors only took three weeks of training to be ready for the show, their years of acting experience and discipline of getting into character was what we admired most. Despite the weather being really hot …they must have been sweltering in their knight’s costumes but still continued. We were lucky to get a photo with the main cast at the end of the show …as not everyone did. You would be able to spot the cast walking around to say hello if you are one of the last ones to leave.
The Mighty Trebuchet
After watching the War of the Roses, we decided to head to Riverside Arena to wait another half hour to witness the largest working siege machine in the world launch a projectile more than 150ft in the air. We sat down, relaxed and had another nice picnice while waiting for the show to start. To be honest, although the machine was fantastic, I was getting a bit too bored waiting as its has to go through a long process before it eventually did launch. We were told that in olden times, they used to catapult large rocks and stones and sometimes even pigs (as they are thought to be more aerodynamic), dead animal and faeces (to spread disease) towards the enemy…yuck!
Horrible History Maze
One of the top highlights for my daughter was visiting the horrible history maze and she was so excited when we got there. She enjoys watching the Horrible Histories on CBBC and this made the maze even more fun, there was also little cards for kids to pick up at the start of the maze and abour 6 places for them to get stamps. They were so excited about this that we were often left running after them in a bid not to let them get lost in the maze..
We loved how much facts there was located through out the maze, it was informational to any child who needed some history lesson or any parent who needs a refresher course. We spotted a Viking ship, walked around the trenches, read about the evil plots and managed to escape the maze before things got horribly wrong. It was the perfect way to learn and unravel history in the world’s first Horrible Histories adventure maze!
The King’s Tent, Kings Avenue
After a tiring day on our feet and walking everywhere, we were now so ready to just head back somewhere cosy to relax and get ready for our evening dinner. We were totally excited to head to our tent set in a picturesque woodland grove on the river bank within the Knight’s Village. The tents were sturdy and fully set up, hence no faffing about getting it set up (even better as it was starting to rain and we did not want to do that with 2 kids in tow). The tents had nice wooden flooring that came with a grand double bed plus 2 x single beds with mattress on each side. The beds had fresh clean linens, duvets and pillows. Our tent also included towels, mirror, Free WIFI, 2 x Power sockets, 2 throne themed chairs, Sheepskin rugs, Oak Storage Chest). There were on-site showers and toilets (which were clean) and this had toilet paper and hand-wash.
As you can see in the photo below, we slept like Kings and Queens that night, it was amazingly warm and comfortable and sleeping on the castle grounds made it that much more special! Also being woken up to birds chirping instead of an alarm clock was so refreshing.
Some tips on what to bring
- Torches (the place was lit up beautifully inside and outside, but we found that the kids enjoyed walking around with the torches when it got dark
- Toiletries with a sling bag
- Raincoats as well as sun cream, hats and wellies (you can never predict the weather)
- Kid’s favourite toys or pillow (we always bring our kid’s favorite toys on trips and this was no exception)
- Slippers – if you want to leave your shoes at the door (we were warm enough walking just with our socks on)
We pre-booked our dinner time slot at the Mediaeval Dinner Hall before we arrived, so we knew what time dinner was. We got there early enough and ordered our food. One BIG tip, they only handed us the below menu hence it did not occur to us that they also offered a separate kids menu. Luckily we spotted some kids next to us ordering some chips and chicken and we did the same. The dinner meal cost £18.95 per adult and £9.95 per child and we loved how they still kept to the mediaeval theme with chunky turkey’s leg which was served in a large platter (you could ask for more if this was not enough for you). It made us imagine how it would be like hundreds of years ago. Here’s their winter menu which we were offered. We also enjoyed the sword flight performance during our dinner (scroll up to see the video where we show a short clip of the enactment). After dinner, we headed back to our tent for some much needed rest.
Smoked Bacon & lightly charred Chicken, served in a crisp tart shell
Filo Christmas Parcel
Creamy Brie & sweet Cranberry inside a Filo Parcel
The Castle Cooks Winter Broth
Keep yourself warm with this broth of winter vegetables
Fowl & Apricot Terrine
Slices of Chicken & Apricot Terrine, served with crisp Ciabatta bread.
The Winter Family Feast!
A skillet full of winter favourites bought to your table to share Freshly Roasted Turkey Drumstick, carved bacon loin, and homemade jumbo pigs in blankets served with all the trimmings.
The Vegetarian Winter Feast!
Goats Cheese & Apricot Nut roast, served with Vegetarian sausages and all the trimmings!
Apple & Mincemeat Winter Crumble
A Winter Twist on the classic apple crumble is perfect for keeping warm into the night
Court Jester’s Frozen Yogurt
Create your own frozen yogurt masterpiece with the selection of toppings available!
Individual portions of Orange jelly, with pieces of orange
A Mixed Spice Biscuit Base topped with a White Chocolate & Cranberry Filling
Christmas tree Sponge
Three Layers of soft sponge topped with buttercream Icing
The next morning, after we had our breakfast we also had the chance to take part in some archery activity, this was close to our tents and open to both kids and adults and totally fun! Our kids loved this and had plenty of gos. A similar set up was also available on the Castle Grounds but you would have had to pay for that and there was a long que for it.
We have to admit…we have never gone camping with the kids before and have only stayed in hotels or kid’s friendly holiday resort such as this, hence glamping was what we needed to get our foot into camping as it gives us the best of both worlds ….to be surrounded by nature and yet still have all the creature comforts that we are used to. We would totally recommend staying at the King’s Tent as it truly has made our stay more magical and special. We also felt that the mediaeval experience did not stop once we left the castle grounds but continued throughout the night and even in the morning with all the planned activities. We have not shared all the photos in the blog due to space, hence do check out our Instagram and Facebook accounts to see more images there. If you have any tips to share or loved reading our post, please leave a comment or share the post.
- It was lovely to know that we were sleeping on the castle grounds where once Kings and Princesses walked the ground.
- We loved the fact that we were so close to nature and loved the beautiful scenery of ducks swimming in the river.
- The tents were secure (as we were given padlocks) and we felt safe from the elements such as rain, badgers or even other prying eyes.
- Our tent was warm and spacious…so much so our kids enjoying bouncing from one bed to another
- Our tent was was close to the toilets, and the path way was well lit up. The toilets were clean and well maintained
- I was woken up at 4am by happy chirping birds..can’t remember when that happened the last time, but went back to sleep easily after.
- If you are a Merlin Annual Passholders, do note that you do get up to 30% off stay with Merlin Holiday Club and other discounts at the souvenir shops on the castle ground or when you purchase entry tickets / food so don’t forget to bring your card with you.
- If your kid’s love to dress up as knights or princess then feel free to dress up. We spotted a whole family (from a grandad to the grandkids) who came in dressed for dinner as kings, knights and princess
- There is a shortcut from the tent to the castle. The code changes everyday, so remember to get it when you register on Day One and after breakfast on Day Two.
- If you lose a child on the Castle grounds, don’t panic…just report this to any member of staff who will be able to assist. They do have a designated Lost Child Point, located in the Central Courtyard.
- There isn’t a specific area for first aid at the Castle, however they do have a number of trained first aiders on site. If you are in need of a first aider then speak to a member of staff who will be able to assist you
- Discounted Castle Tickets – They do accept Nectar Card, Kellogg’s box, online discount so save these if you are planning to head to the Castle
- Do get a stamp from the attendants on the turnstiles entrance if you would like to leave and re-enter the grounds later as your ticket will not allow re-entry (if you are not staying at the Knight’s Village).
- The shower did not have hot and cold water gauge and my son did feel it was too hot for him but we could not adjust it and the shower floors were slippery.
- A sleepover at the King’s Tent is a costly affair we have to admit…but totally worth it for a special occassions and as a treat for the whole family. You would definitely come back with lots of great memories of your holiday.
- Kid’s playground at the Castle ground was closed for maintenance (so our kids were dissapointed a little)
- They do not allow pets on site at the Castle, the only exception to this are assistance dogs
- Pushchairs cannot be taken through the main house of the Castle as there are stairs leading to each point and also with narrow doorways and stairs within the exhibitions this makes it unsuitable for pushchairs. Pushchairs can be left outside at identified pushchair parks.
- Many of the activities in the Castle are weather dependent so it may be closed if it rains too heavily
How do I book my tickets and how much does it cost?
Castle Tickets cost £27 adults (age 12+), or £24 for child (3-11) or Seniors (60+). Online / advance tickets are much cheaper usually costing £18 (when booked online, min 5 days in advance). For day tickets and short breaks visit their website here.
Short breaks – All include two days entry to the Castle; car parking; buffet breakfast; one night’s accommodation and extra exclusive entertainment in the Knight’s Village. Dinner costs additional (£18.95 for adults; £9.95 for kids) – from Half Term, this is an evening buffet. All prices quoted are based on a Family of Four.
- New Avenue of Kings premium glamping tents – stay from late June to September. Starting from £259 per night
- Standard glamping tents – stay from late June to September. Starting from £139 per night
- Lodges – available year-round. Includes private bathroom (glamping has shared bathroom facilities). Starting from £159 per night.
Is it Mediaeval or Medieval?
Medieval is the more commonly used word since the twentieth-century but some say that Mediaeval is more British. We have resorted using Mediaeval in this post to match what’s being used by Warwick Castle.
Where to stay while at Warwick Castle?
There are three unique styles of guest accommodation in the Castle from Woodland Lodges and Mediaeval Glamping within the Knight’s Village, or for something extra special, try their luxurious Tower Suites which is located on their own private floors of the 14th century Caesar’s Tower.
What is Glamping?
Glamping stands for ‘glamorous camping’ and is for people who want to combine the fun and freedom of camping but with a touch of luxury! Here’s an article sharing more about Glamping vs Camping for your reading pleasure.
What’s Dragon Slayer?
This is the new explosive evening experience which starts from Friday, 3 August, with eight dates. The first evening experience designed exclusively for Warwick Castle, tickets start from £15 for show only with dining packages also available. Visit here to book your tickets which are selling fast.
What is the Castle’s Opening Hours?
Monday to Sunday – 10am until 4pm
How to get to Warwick Castle and where do I park?
The Castle is well signposted, and less than two miles from junction 15 of the M40. There are a few options for car parking but the below postcode will bring you to the Stratford Car Park which is the best parking location if you are staying in the Lodge or Tents. We did not have to pay for parking but if you are not staying at the Lodge / Tent, there would be a £6 parking charge to use this carpark.
CV34 6AH (Stratford Car Park)
About Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle is a medieval castle developed from an original built by William the Conqueror in 1068. Warwick is the county town of Warwickshire, England, situated on a bend of the River Avon. The original wooden motte-and-bailey castle was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century. During the Hundred Years War, the facade opposite the town was refortified, resulting in one of the most recognisable examples of 14th-century military architecture. It was used as a stronghold until the early 17th century, when it was granted to Sir Fulke Greville by James I in 1604. Greville converted it to a country house and it was owned by the Greville family, who became Earls of Warwick in 1759, until 1978 when it was bought by the Tussauds Group.
In 2007, the Tussauds Group was purchased by The Blackstone Group which merged it with Merlin Entertainments; Warwick Castle was then sold to Nick Leslau’s investment firm Prestbury Group under a sale and leaseback agreement. Merlin continues to operate the site under a renewable 35-year lease.
About Merlin Entertainment
Merlin Entertainments is the largest European entertainments company operating in Europe. Merlin runs 124 attractions in 25 countries across four continents. Their aim is to deliver unique, memorable and rewarding experiences to millions of visitors across their growing estate.
* We were provided with Free two-day Castle entry tickets as well as a night’s stay at the King’s Tent with breakfast in return for a review. All opinions are our own. Images without the watermark have been provided to us by the PR Team at Warwick Castle.