The owners of Warwick Castle also run Madame Tussauds in London and now call Warwick “Britain’s ultimate castle”. It has become a leading British tourist attraction with hundreds of thousands of visitors a year… but note that it also one of Britain’s most expensive castles to visit.
That’s because the 1,100-year-old site has virtually become an historical theme park, with special interactive attractions such as ‘The Castle Dungeon’ and ‘Merlin and the Dragon Tower’. There is also a full calendar of historical re-enactments and celebrations, including jousting contests, archery and falconry.
This makes it a prime day out for families. Yet don’t let that put you off, there’s plenty of serious history at the castle, too. In fact, the castle site was first fortified by King Alfred’s daughter against the Danes and this hill fort was later improved by William the Conqueror. Over the centuries the castle became an important strategic point in controlling the Midlands. It was attacked by Simon de Montfort, besieged by Cavaliers and hosted many royal visitors, including Edward IV who was held prisoner here by Richard Neville or ‘Warwick the Kingmaker’. At least three owners of the castle have died in battle: two were executed and one was murdered.
The castle’s site is impressive too, standing high above a bend in the River Avon. The medieval stone walls, towers and defensive works are among Britain’s most complete and the collection of armour and weapons on display at Warwick is second only to that of the Tower of London.
Warwick Castle, Warwick, Warwickshire CV34 4QU. Tel: 0871 265 2000. www.warwick-castle.com