Of legends and dragons, of fierce battles, and royal intrigue, Warwick Castle is both historic site and Disneyesque experience.
Located in the countryside about a 2-hour drive from London, if you are only going to get to see one historic castle in England, Warwick is an excellent choice.
- History: The original site dates back to 914, with fortifications built by the daughter of Alfred the Great. After the Norman conquest of England, William the Conqueror established a motte-and-bailey castle at Warwick in 1068 to maintain control of the Midlands as he advanced northwards. During the reign of King Henry II (1154–89), the motte-and-bailey was replaced with a stone keep castle. Under Thomas de Beauchamp, the castle defenses were enhanced in 1330–60. Richard Neville, “the Kingmaker,” became the Earl of Warwick through his wife’s inheritance of the title. During the summer of 1469, Neville rebelled against King Edward IV of England and imprisoned the King in Warwick Castle.
- Site: Warwick Castle is situated on a bend in the Avon River. The site consists of the castle buildings and gardens. You enter the site through the historic gated (and impressive!) entrance. The castle buildings are a fun collection of towers, great halls, staterooms, and dungeons. The buildings surround a central market square. Out beyond the buildings are gardens and sweeping meadows. Not to be missed is the replica Trebuchet. The largest siege machine in the world, this replica hurls rocks and stones to breach the castle walls.
- Activities: Warwick is all about the activities! There are people dressed in medieval costumes giving tours and demonstrations of trades and market wares. Down in the dungeon, you can take a scary 50-minute tour (not recommended for the wee travelers). Up in the Princess Tower, you can play dress up and help the Princess solve a mystery. In the Central Courtyard, you can try your hand at crafts or archery. There are also the daily theatrical productions (can you pull the sword from the stone?) and birds of prey shows. Many of the activities are included in the entrance ticket but are limited to certain times. Some activities require additional fees. When Tested Travel visited Warwick Castle we had the chance to try our hand at archery, saw some great hunting birds, and witnessed the Trebuchet in action. Best of all, one of our crew was selected to try his hand at pulling the sword from the stone. Magical!
Tickets to Warwick Castle can be purchased online.
Learn more about Warwick Castle on their website.