A medieval castle deep in the heartland of England that gives a fully immersive experience of a long past time
Of the many castles still around in the UK, Warwick Castle is the closest to my heart. I spent four of my most formative years at the University of Warwick – which is actually closer to the city of Coventry, but still I spent a lot of time in the town of Warwick and the castle was a constant backdrop to many of my happier memories of my youth.
Warwick (pronounced War-rick – the second “w” is silent) is the county town of Warwickshire in England. The town itself is very quaint with plenty of small shops to visit and you can of course find a tearoom to enjoy the traditional English tea experience complete with scones, jam and clotted cream. If you are coming to Warwick to see the castle I would highly recommend spending some time looking around the town. Another interesting building to check out is the Lord Leycester Hospital. If you are planning a wedding this is a great place to stage the reception!
Another prominent feature of the town is the River Avon which runs right past the castle. There is also a large public park on the opposite bank of the river which gives some great, unobstructed views of the castle walls.
The History of Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle is a medieval castle developed from a wooden fort, originally built by William the Conqueror during 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 during the 12th century. During the Hundred Years War, the facade opposite the town was refortified, resulting in one of the most recognizable 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.
Warwick Castle Today
|Warwick, Warwickshire, UK||10 am to 5 pm||See paragraph below|
It is a pricey to get into the castle – around £28 per person for the basic tickets, and £33 if you also want to visit the dungeons (well worth it). If you buy the tickets online they are currently much cheaper; £19 and £24 respectively. You will also save time not standing inline to get in on the day. The online tickets also come with a “rainy day” guarantee (much needed in the UK) which means if it rains for one hour or more during your visit you get a free return within 60 days.
We decided to explore the grounds and outside of the castle first. The castle remains in excellent condition and much if it remains open to the public. The formal gardens are magnificent and are almost worth the price of the entry alone. As we toured the grounds we came across a group of men demonstrating the use of a trebuchet, a type of catapult used as a siege engine in medieval times which uses a swinging arm to throw a projectile (including cows and dead people).
After exploring the grounds we returned to the castle and entered inside the main keep. Having suffered a major battering during a siege in 1315 the castle was restored and has not since suffered any major damage. We entered one of the tower which takes you up on to the castle’s ramparts where we had great views across the castle, its grounds and roof tops and churches of the town of Warwick. Towers were the main defensive system for any castle. Also because of their height and position above and out from the main castle wall, they gave archers a clear view to target the enemy below.
Finally, we exit the castle’s interior. Inside the main area of the castle is a bustle of activity. During the summer months there is a lot going on with live reenactments of jousting competitions and falconry exhibitions and lots of folks dressed up in period costumers doing period things. Loads of fun!