Castles can sometimes get a bad reputation as a bit boring. Big old buildings with not much else. But that couldn’t be further from the truth at Warwick Castle, which has proven itself to be one of the most exciting castles you’ll find in the country. Yes, the medieval castle is over a thousand years old, but it’s jam-packed with modern-day activities and thrilling history. From action-packed entertainment and live shows to interactive activities and adventures, Warwick Castle is fun for all ages.
What is Warwick Castle?
Warwick Castle has played an incredible role in British history. Tracing its history back to the Norman conquest of England, William the Conqueror established a motte-and-bailey castle at Warwick in 1068 to maintain control of the Midlands. It wasn’t until during the reign of King Henry II (1154–89), it was then replaced with a stone castle.
The medieval castle underwent many changes over the next centuries, while also becoming a stronghold during the Wars of the Roses – briefly holding King Edward IV as prisoner – and the English Civil War. It was massively damaged by a fire in 1871, needing huge restoration in the following years.
People have been visiting Warwick Castle since the end of the 17th century but didn’t become a proper tourist destination until the 1900s. It stayed in the hands of the Earl of Warwick until 1978 when it was sold and opened as a tourist attraction. The Grade I listed building now attracts over half a million tourists each year, filled with action-packed adventure everywhere you turn.
What is there to do at Warwick Castle?
Don’t just expect a load of old stones and things to read off a wall, Warwick Castle is as close to a living-breathing castle as you’ll find in the UK. You’ll find Britain’s biggest working trebuchet, the UK’s largest bird of prey display and even huge jousting competitions set against the backdrop of the castle. While guided talks and tours of the grounds and dungeons, provide plenty for history buffs.
Just some of the areas you’ll want to make sure you stop by include The Great Hall, which was constructed in the 14th century and is the largest room in the castle, standing as a monument to the original medieval hall; and the Mound, the oldest surviving part of the castle, having stood since William the Conqueror – the views from up here are spectacular, stretching across Warwick town.
You’ll also want to seek out The Peacock Gardens, named for the birds that live there; the impressive defences of Guy’s Tower; and the working Mill and Engine House. But little ones will want to explore the mythical and magical Zog Playland or journey back in time with the interactive Horrible Histories maze. Those with a steady hand can even learn archery! (We might be skipping that last one.)
A lot of what happens at Warwick Castle revolves around the seasons too, so you’re never likely to feel cheated upon repeat visits. At Halloween, it transforms into The Haunted Castle, with spooky surprises hidden around every corner, while for Christmas at the Castle it becomes a winter wonderland of joy – with its own Christmas light trail and open-air ice rink.
What is there eat at Warwick Castle?
The whole town of Warwick is full of incredible places to eat in the evening, like the seafood-focused Thai eatery Giggling Squid or the French-inspired 7 Square Restaurant. But inside of the castle itself, you’ll find two fantastic places to eat during the daytime.
The Conservatory Tea House in the Peacock Garden is perfect for a light lunch, cream tea, ice cream or hot drink – it’s also where you treat yourself to some afternoon tea. Meanwhile, hidden within the lower level of the castle, the Undercroft Café offers a range of hot and cold snacks. On your way around you’ll also come across Courtyard Refreshments for takeaway treats, as well as a Fish & Chips stall.
Where can I stay?
Believe it or not, you can stay on the grounds of Warwick Castle! Sleep under the stars with a glamping experience set within the stunning surrounding woodland; stay in a medieval-inspired lodge, complete with private terraces; or spend the night like a king or queen with a suite within the castle’s 14th-century tower. You’ll also find plenty of nearby hotels and BnBs to stay at too.
How much does it cost?
Tickets to Warwick Castle start at £21, but children aged 3 and younger can go for free! Caregivers accompanying visitors with disabilities can also enter for free, with tickets provided on-site. Extras, like access to the castle dungeon, can be purchased on-site. To purchase your tickets to Warwick Castle head here.
How to get to Warwick Castle?
The easiest way to get to Warwick Castle is probably by car – taking less than an hour (around 45 minutes) from Birmingham City Centre – via M42 and M40. But public transport is just as good of an option. From Birmingham Moor Street, you can ride the train towards London Marleybone, which will stop in the town of Warwick. From there it’s a 15-minute walk to the castle.