By Chris Smith 23/04 Updated: 24/04 14:43
WARWICK Castle very confidently describes itself as Britain's Ultimate Castle. And while many areas of the country still live in the shadows of what were once centres of power, I doubt few have been bought back to life as Warwick's has, writes Chris Smith.
Nestling virtually in the centre of the town, it was built in 1084 under the orders of William The Conqueror and later become the seat of the Earl of Warwick. It changed hands numerous times until being converted into a country house in the 17th century by Sir Fulke Greville, when he assumed the title, but remained his family's home until 1978 when it was sold to the Tussauds Group which turned into solely a tourist attraction. The castle had, however, been open to the public for several years up until then.
Millions of visitors have passed through its portcullis and been transported hundreds of years back in time. My family and I were lucky enough to visit during the height of the summer season. We were welcomed by a very jolly, and I might say, amorous Henry VIII and once inside the castle walls came face to face with Knights, Princesses, we even bumped into Blackadder II-styled Queen Elizabeth I in the Great Hall, and the less glamorous commoners; each played by actors who gave us visitors an amazing snapshot of life through the ages.
As well as the live action, you can also try you hand at archery, visit the magical Merlin attraction based on the popular BBC One show and the gruesome, but enthralling Castle Dungeon live show (all at extra cost I should add). There are also birds of prey demonstrations - the Eagles in full flight are an awesome sight - and historical demonstrations which are held regularly throughout the day and are included in the admission fee. If you're fit enough you can also trudge your way up, and back down, the 100 steps to the top of the tower.
So to the cost of this 'ultimate' day out. It's certainly not cheap, child entry starts at £25, £29 for adults, while a family ticket costs around £120. And there is the £5 for parking. But on the whole it is pretty good value as there is so much to do you will stay there all day.
Our fantastic day was rounded with a good old fashioned battle of good versus evil as the English Knights fought the Barbarians; complete with staged explosions and raging fires.
The outcome, while inevitable, was the one the assembled crowds wanted as England emerged victorious and the crowds emerged from the castle walls and back into reality; many, as I did, endorsing Warwick as, as it quite rightly claims itself to be: Britain's Ultimate Castle.
For opening times, ticket prices and a full programme of events see www.warwick-castle.com
A Great Day Out: Piggy backing the popularity of a child phenomenon: visit www.coventryobserver.co.uk/2011/10/11/entertainment-review-18533.html
A Great Day Out: Youth revisited at Drayton Manor: visit www.coventryobserver.co.uk/2011/10/11/entertainment-review-16766.html
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