Warwick castle

Cheese

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Helix, Liseberg
Rowe said:
After several years of elusively missing out on Warwick Castle, I'm surprised to find that I'm having a lovely time with Dave in summery weather. The Undercroft carvery for lunch was particularly gorgeous, roughly £10 for said carvery with a dessert and a drink of choice.

The merchandising, inability to locate a car park (we spent half an hour looking for one in confusing Warwick!) and busy nature of today are the only downsides so far.

We're about to do Castle Dungeon next, sadly no time for the Trebuchet but heh, tomorrow we'll be doing what we're missing today! (So there is a point in visiting twice!)

I should point out for the benefit of anyone that's never visited that although we've decided to go back and finish it tomorrow, I'd certainly consider Warwick Castle to be a one day attraction. Had we arrived at the start of the day we'd have got around everything. As it was I got to Rowe's new place late, she was running late, and then due to a diversion and the useless signposting for the car parks we managed to get sort of lost and not arrive until 12 o'clock. The place was also fairly busy, so on the ramparts walk for example we were having to wait for crowds of very slow people to navigate the nasty spiral staircases.

I've enjoyed today, but I'm not sure what to make of the castle. As an attraction it's a strange mixture of old Tussauds-style walkthroughs, a modern Merlin midway very similar to its London counterpart and an opportunity to walk around the massive masonry of a castle, all garnished with typical Merlin features (food offerings, merchandise etc.).

Kingmaker, the state rooms and the Royal Weekend Party ("Marvellous fellow. Oh, and I had an affair with him once, but that's a secret!") were surprisingly open. I was expecting a lot more rope keeping you away from waxworks and pieces of ornate furniture. It was a shame a few places were looking a bit worse for wear; the red room's ceiling seemed to be peeling a bit, but I can appreciate that repairing that sort of thing must be both difficult and hideously expensive.

The Castle Dungeon's layout was very similar to the London Dungeon which I've experienced twice, so there weren't too many surprises. However, the actors were fantastic and Witches of Warwick had me sat there feeling more worked up by the second! My only criticism of the experience was that we spent a bit too long in the Labyrinth of Lost Souls; everybody was just stood around for about five minutes after realising that there was no way out yet. All in all I wouldn't have paid £9.00 for it even if it had been more different to the other Dungeons, but I'd certainly recommend that premium passholders try it.

There was less stuff I'd usually associate with visiting castles to explore than I'd expected. That probably comes down to the way in which the castle has been used and altered over the centuries. As the rooms for example were repeatedly modernised for so long you still feel like you're getting a glimpse of the past, but not as distant or focused on defence as you might assume when visiting a castle. The walk through the towers and ramparts is worth doing, but it's hard work and could be downright dangerous on the wrong day; all the more reason to visit in nice weather I guess.

Finally, the Merlin-ness of the place. It's everywhere when you know what you're looking for. With regards to merch there's no way I'm going to stump up for the same stuff the theme parks sell with a different logo on it. I'm pleased to report though that despite what I've heard about upselling at Warwick, the staff I dealt with today were all very pleasant and didn't attempt to upsell.

Food is a similarly typical of Merlin fare elsewhere, but that proved to be a good thing. The Undercroft restaurant does an amazing carvery much like that offered by Duplo Family Restaurant at Legoland last year and as part of the buffet this year. I opted for a mixture of the two meats on offer (beef and some sort of gammon/bacon), and it's possibly the best meal I've had at a Merlin attraction. It was huge, ridiculously tasty and easily worth the £10 or so it cost with dessert (a nice if slightly cinnamon-heavy apple pie).

The trebuchet was the main draw and we missed that due to our Dungeon timeslot, so I'm looking forward to seeing that do its thing tomorrow and finishing off the other stuff (Mill & Engine House, Dragon Tower). After that I suspect I won't be back for a year or two as it's a bit of a 'done that now' place. I question whether I'd recommend it to non-passholders; I haven't paid the gate prices any attention, but I suspect they're a bit steep. However, if you've got a pass and haven't been before it's worth going along once.
 

Rowe

TS Member
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Matterhorn Blitz (with an Aperol Spritz!)
Would just like to point out the inclusion of unlimited hot drinks at the Undercroft restaurant for £6, assuming Merlin are trying and testing at one of their biggest (mostly outdoor) attraction as well as Alton Towers. They didn't seem to have any of the thermos mugs in sight however so they must just be relying on receipts.

Sent from my GT-S5830 using Tapatalk 2
 

D4n

TS Member
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Taron
Details on Warwick Castle's upcoming Christmas event, which begins on December 1st.

1st December 2012 - 6th January 2013
A warm winter welcome awaits you at Britain's Ultimate Castle. This year from 1st December – 6th January, Warwick Castle will be decorated in all its festive glory, including a magnificent 25ft Christmas tree in the Great Hall and a special Victorian celebration in the Royal Weekend Party.

Santa and his elves will also be here during selected dates this festive season:

1st/2nd December
8th/9th December
15th/16th December
22nd, 23rd, 24th December
What better way to begin your family Christmas celebrations!

To add that extra festive magic to your Christmas celebrations, come and take part in one of our wonderful Christmas events including Breakfast with Santa, Christmas Lunches and Winter Torchlit Tours. All available throughout December.

Have you thought about hosting your Christmas Party at Warwick Castle? Whether you fancy a decadent Mediaeval Banquet or celebrating New Years Eve, Warwick Castle can add that extra magic touch this festive season. Make sure to book early to avoid any disappointment.

I must say that, honestly, I'm incredibly disappointed by the continued downsizing of Warwick Castle's previously gorgeous winter event, which has always made the theme park close season worth it for me. Memories of the ice-skating rink, field of 1000 Christmas trees and fairground rides aplenty between 2008-2010 are undoubtedly the best that I have from the attraction but, unfortunately, I can only assume that the event simply has never been popular enough to warrant anything more than this pathetic excuse for festivities.

Despite being one of the few members on here who absolutely adores Warwick Castle, I really find the lack of ambition on display to be incredibly disappointing at times; it seems that both the Summer and Winter festivities are becoming more underwhelming with every passing year (and the Halloween event this year amounted to literally nothing but upselling for the dungeons), and more emphasis instead placed upon the additional charge attractions. Indeed, even the winter event this year seems to revolve entirely around paid lunches and expensive tours (£16!? £16!)... urgh. I'll still visit the place during the event (more than once), and hope to be impressed, but consider me disappointed.

-----

Sidenote
On the subject of merchandise, I would have to disagree with the majority in that I feel the variety available to be quite substantial and actually of a very high quality. I would suggest that, in the case of merchandise (and indeed eateries, which are also quite often criticised at Warwick Castle), we shouldn't be drawing comparisons to other theme parks. The likes of National Trust owned stately homes, the Tower of London et cetera should instead be the guideline. Warwick Castle surpasses this by an absolute country mile; the merchandise is cheaper, more relevant and of higher quality than at rivals, and in terms of food offering it really is in a different league. Granted, there are perhaps too many shops selling 'tat', but I don't think the content is the problem whatsoever. Much as the content of the Castle itself is top notch if you know where to look. :)

Please, somebody, tell me that this mug isn't utterly gorgeous.
559214_131268527025873_2039436103_n.jpg



#fanboy
 

T

TS Member
Just a heads up, been to see Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger. Halfway through the film they arrived at a castle, that happened to be filmed at Warwick Castle!
The rest of the film is set there!

Fantastic!
 

D4n

TS Member
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Taron
Just thought this might be worth posting to the thread, I noticed it on Warwick Castle's Facebook page just now (though the photo was taken a week ago), and the photo clearly shows pretty much the entirety of the Trebuchet / Jousting Island being completely underwater following recent flooding:
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I was there on Saturday and, fortunately, the water has slightly subsided, with the vast majority of the island still covered nonetheless. However, from what I've heard there are concerns regarding the Boathouse (which makes money through boat rentals over the Summer months), and obviously the area (which actually constitutes about a quarter of the Castle grounds, all things considered) remains closed to the public. Rather shocking, really.
 

Dave

TS Founding Member
It is very dramatic, that's two Merlin properties badly affected by flooding this year (the other being York Dungeons).
 

Islander

TS Member
I was with D4n Saturday, and it really was surprising just how high the river was, and how much it had encroached on the island, and yet by that point the waters had already subsided greatly.

Scary stuff.
 

thefatone

TS Member
Dave said:
It is very dramatic, that's two Merlin properties badly affected by flooding this year (the other being York Dungeons).

At least it just affects one of the show grounds - rather than the main attraction itself being ruined like York.
 

Sam

TS Member
RideRater said:
Four new areas of Warwick Castle to be unlocked

Warwick Castle will open up four new rooms to the public for the first time in February next year.

They are known as the Barbican Battlements & Captain’s Room; Bear Tower; Watergate Room; and the Guards’ Room in Guy’s Tower

According to the Castle, they will “unlock defining chapters in the Warwick Castle story to reveal tales of battle, siege, murder, power struggles and hauntings.”

The Barbican Battlements will demonstrate how boiling tar and human waste were poured on attacking forces, while the Bear Tower will showcase a ‘bear pit’ where a live bear was kept.

The Guards’ Room will show how live cannons were added to the castle’s defences in the seventeenth century and the Watergate Tower will focus on ghosts and hauntings.

No additional charges will be incurred for the rooms, which can be visited at any time while guests are at the castle.
 

JoshC.

TS Member
^Especially in the case of Warwick Castle, where some of the highlights of the place have additional charges!
 

D4n

TS Member
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Taron
In addition to these rather exciting investments (about which there is now more information available on the Warwick Castle website) I recieved the following rather exciting e-mail from the park a couple of days ago.

Warwick Castle said:
We have recently invested £1 million on one of our pathways to ensure that this remains safe for use by the public, as well as restoring one of the bedrooms in the Secrets and Scandals attraction fully, which was partially funded by the second gate attractions such as Merlin: Dragon Tower and the Castle Dungeon.

Next year, we have two new products. Over the peak holiday seasons, we will have Horrible History themed areas of the Castle for all of the family to enjoy, as well as our brand new ‘Castle Unlocked’ product, where we will be opening up 4 never-seen-before rooms and areas of the Castle, including one of the rooms in Guy’s Tower and the walkway through the Gatehouse and Barbican. This requires considerable investment as restoring areas of the Castle such as these to make them safe and entertaining is a large undertaking, and means that these areas will be available for Guests to enjoy all year round, rather than just seasonally like some of our other shows.

It seems as though Warwick are really going to town with regards to investment in the new season, and the introduction of a popular IP over the summer campaign certainly won't do any harm either. I fully intend to be in attendance on the opening day of Castle Unlocked and will no longer frequent the Castle once more over the 2013 season. :D If only they could bring back the high standard of events, which they boasted just a couple of years back, on top of this...

For those saying that Merlin don't know how to run historical attractions; this is an 'issue' that seems to be recognised within the attraction itself. Something which, indeed, they seem intent on changing.

We have in fact concentrated our efforts on areas that our customers have previously informed us that they would like to see more of, such as the history of the Castle. We have therefore created a brand new History Team this year, who have conducted huge amounts of research to be able to write and run regular tours on the history of the Castle every day of the year. As well as this, we have had more shows taking place consistently throughout the year than ever before, for example the Warwick Warriors or Duelling Gents and the Birds of Prey show here for every peak season rather than just summer as in previous years, however I can appreciate that we have lowered the level of theming around the site, which may be disappointing.

It's a shame that we'll no doubt be seeing another year of Merlin Tower too; I got my hopes up, considering that the show finished this evening.
 

TPMC

TS Member
Visited Warwick Castle last weekend. Good as usual - kids love it. Been to visit dungeon as well - not as good as London or Blackpool one, but stil good - due to authentic surroundings - quite short (about 40 minutes)

I did some short highlight video from my trip you can see it here:

Visit WARWICK CASTLE Virtual Tour HD
 

Rowe

TS Member
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Matterhorn Blitz (with an Aperol Spritz!)
Went over to Warwick Castle this morning for a brief stroll and have a few updates on their season so far.

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They're introducing camping accommodation for the Summer which is bound to pull in many families for two day trips. Considering how Warwick is just a direct 40 minute train journey away from Birmingham, they could probably pull off a deal with Sea Life too.

The previously closed path from the Mound towards the Birds of Prey green is now open and has some fairly decent views over towards the Trebuchet.

And as I didn't know if this existed beforehand but might as well elaborate anyway, they also now have their own mini Roast & Relish called Roast and Roll next to the Birds of Prey green. You can get a roll stuffed with braised beef or pork with a choice of chutney or apple sauce. The meal deal they have going on there is £5.75 (presumably including drink and crisps) but I can't quite remember if that's more expensive than Thorpe's R&R.
 

khalichanan

TS Member
Rowe said:
They're introducing camping accommodation for the Summer which is bound to pull in many families for two day trips. Considering how Warwick is just a direct 40 minute train journey away from Birmingham, they could probably pull off a deal with Sea Life too.

They already have deals with Sea Life :)
 

Jables

TS Member
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Stormforce 10
I went there on a trip as part of my coursework and overall you can tell the castle has been turned into more of a theme park. With the Dungeons and Dragon Tower I feel like Warwick is loosing some of it's historical value. It is a great place with a genuinely story and a great way to study the development of castles. Too bad Merlin has removed some of it's historical value.
 

Thomas

TS Member
I visited ages ago and part of one of the tours I tagged onto the end of mentioned how the previous owners were selling off large parts of the castle to wealthy visitors who would make on the spot offers for heirlooms which they would then buy. I know that Merlin have transformed it into a money making pit of blandness, but once you look past the constant upselling, pay for attractions and money grabbing you see that they have spent money to refurbish and maintain the castle.

So, yes Merlin have used it for their benefit, but I couldn't think of anyone that wouldn't do the same, English Heritage would do the same as would the National Trust. The only difference being is that we recognise it more as we see it at our favourite theme park as well as Warwick Castle.
 

jules070603

TS Member
Hi,

Bit of a long shot but we are visiting Warwick Castle over the Easter weekend. Staying on a caravan site nearby and could visit on the Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Does anyone have any advice on which day might be best crowd wise? We won't be going in the dungeons as our children are too young for that.

Thanks.
 

TheMan

TS Member
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NemiLerVion
Warwick castle have planning application for accommodation turned down:

http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/local-news/warwick-castle-holiday-home-scheme-8097867

This goes back, but again from this parkworld issue:
http://content.yudu.com/A3bkd6/PWDe...?referrerUrl=http://www.parkworld-online.com/

(thanks to @Maelstrom for posting)

Councillor Holland apparently told a planning meeting:
Warwick Castle is not Legoland

I'd not heard anything about this or seen it anywhere on the forum.
 
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