You can go down into The Castle Dungeon where prisoners were tortured, then relax in the lovingly tended gardens. During the summer months, archery, falconry, and jousting take place in the grounds.
I returned in 2011 with friends to see Princess Tower (collect your free timed tickets upon arrival) and Merlin: the Dragon Tower based on the BBC1 family drama.
About Warwick Castle
The Castle is well-maintained considering it's age and regular renovations keep it a viable visitor attraction.
How Long To Visit?
It is suggested to spend around 4 hours at the Castle. When I first visited I just looked around and didn't stay for lunch (although I did wish I'd brought a picnic to have in the grounds) and that visit took about 2 hours. I returned with family and friends and we stayed at least 4 hours and could easily have stayed longer.
How To Get to Warwick Castle
There is plenty of car parking available but there is a charge.
From London there are many bus companies who run day trips to the Castle and more, such as these:
- Warwick Castle, Stratford, Oxford & Cotswolds (Viator)
- Oxford, Cotswolds, Stratford & Warwick Castle (Viator)
Warwick Station is approximately one mile from the Castle (15 mins walk). The Castle is well-sign-posted but be aware the walk is uphill. A direct train service runs from London Marylebone and takes around 1 hour 45 minutes. (See: How To Find UK Train Times and Train Fares). From London, board the train promptly as it's a popular route that also stops at Bicester North (for Bicester Village) and Stratford upon Avon.
Official Website: www.warwick-castle.co.uk
You can also book tickets at the VisitBritain Shop (Buy Direct).
My Visit to Warwick Castle
I've visited Warwick Castle by train and by car from London and it makes a great day trip from London.
If you go by train, you'll have a good opportunity to see more of Warwick as it's a lovely quiet and peaceful town. I've stopped for tea at the quaint Thomas Oken Tea Rooms as they are very close to the Town Entrance for the Castle, and later visited Art & Wine which is a lovely wine bar that also sells and displays local artists' work. All visitors to Warwick Castle can go out to the town and return to the castle; just get a hand stamp at the gate.
The castle map may make you think the area is larger than it actually is, but there is plenty to see and you could fill a day seeing it all.
For me, the most castle-like areas were the Great Hall, and the walk up to the towers and rampants which offered great views of the countryside. Be aware there are a lot of steps and you can't turn back so be prepared for a bit of huffing and puffing to get you there but it is worth it.
I also enjoyed seeing the Trebuchet (giant catapult) firing so check the times of these special events throughout the day when you arrive.
'Secrets & Scandals' (previously called 'Royal Weekend Party') uses waxworks and real actors to make you feel you are a guest at the Earl of Warwick's home. What's good is that the rooms are aren't roped off and you can look all around and really feel you are 'there'. Waxworks and actors also feature in the scary Castle Dungeon for which you need to buy an extra ticket and it takes 40 minutes to get through.
The grounds are really nice to walk around and there are peacocks strolling around too. I watched a falconry display then went to see the birds in their Mews home and learnt more about them. On another visit I saw a jousting tournament. Taking a picnic was popular but there are plenty of food outlets so you don't need to bring anything.
Warwick Castle is an interesting combination of a modern visitor attraction in an historic location and I saw many happy children fulfilling princess and knight fantasies. All staff I met were fantastic, whether actors or working on the gate, in the cafe, or the shop, and all made my visits more enjoyable.