Warwick castle

Discussion in 'European Parks and Attractions' started by josht, 3rd Sep 2012.

  1. Cheese

    Cheese TowersStreet Member

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    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.
     
    Posted 8th Sep 2012
    #21
  2. Rowe

    Rowe TowersStreet Member

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    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
     
  3. D4n

    D4n TowersStreet Member

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

    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.
    [​IMG]


    #fanboy
     
  4. T

    T TowersStreet Member

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    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!
     
  5. D4n

    D4n TowersStreet Member

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    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:
    [​IMG]

    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.
     
  6. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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

    Islander TowersStreet Member

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    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.
     
  8. thefatone

    thefatone TowersStreet Member

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

    Sam TowersStreet Member

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  10. djtruefitt

    djtruefitt TS Site Team Team Member

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    Nice to see at the bottom there will be no extra charge to these extras, always good to see something added for free!
     
  11. JoshC.

    JoshC. TowersStreet Member

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    ^Especially in the case of Warwick Castle, where some of the highlights of the place have additional charges!
     
  12. D4n

    D4n TowersStreet Member

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    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.

    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.

    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.
     
  13. TPMC

    TPMC TowersStreet Member

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    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
     
  14. Rowe

    Rowe TowersStreet Member

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    Went over to Warwick Castle this morning for a brief stroll and have a few updates on their season so far.

    [​IMG]

    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.
     
  15. khalichanan

    khalichanan TowersStreet Member

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    They already have deals with Sea Life :)
     
  16. Jables

    Jables TowersStreet Member

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    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.
     
    Posted 7th Oct 2013
    #36
  17. Thomas

    Thomas TowersStreet Member

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    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.
     
    Posted 8th Oct 2013
    #37
  18. jules070603

    jules070603 TowersStreet Member

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    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.
     
  19. TheMan

    TheMan TowersStreet Member

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    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:
    I'd not heard anything about this or seen it anywhere on the forum.
     
  20. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    Why on Earth would a castle need a hotel?
     
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