We visited Warwick Castle for the first time last weekend with my parents in law. All six of us had a thoroughly enjoyable day. These top tips should ensure your family also have a memorable visit to Warwick Castle…
1. Research for discounted entrance tickets. As I posted on my Legoland top tips, I recommend taking a little time to research for discounted entrance tickets. There are always discounts available for attractions and Warwick Castle is no exception. Check out Groupon, Vouchercloud, cereal boxes, Money Saving Expert and supermarket loyalty point schemes (Tesco club card and Nectar).
If you cannot find a discount voucher, you should at least buy your tickets in advance on the Warwick Castle website which will save you 30%! We visited, as per our visit to Legoland, courtesy of our Sunday Times membership subscription. We had applied for two complimentary adult passes (worth nearly £50 if we had paid at the gate) and also printed off a ‘buy one get one free pass’ for my parents in law. We therefore only had to pay full price for Charlie as children under the age of three are free.
2. Use the drop off area. There are three different car parks for Warwick Castle. The postcodes of which can be found on the website. The car park closest to the attraction is £10 and the other two car parks are £6 (free for annual pass holders) but require a 20 minute walk. My father in law struggled with the 20 minute walk we had from our car to the entrance unnecessarily as there is a drop off area for disabled, elderly or younger visitors which is closer to the entrance.
3. Take a blanket and a picnic. There is lots of grassy open space to spread out and have a picnic. We enjoyed our lunch on the main lawn whilst watching the birds of prey show which was fabulous entertainment especially as the birds were not cooperating with their trainer (Charlie and Harry of course found this very amusing!)
4. Take note of the show times. I always take a photo of the show times as I enter an attraction. The image provides a quick reference tool for making sure we do not miss out on any of the attractions activities. The show times at Warwick castle change daily but the photo below shows what was happening during our visit.
5. Book a slot for the Princess Tower upon arrival. Tickets for the Princess Tower are available on a first come, first served basis so do not miss out. This interactive show is for children between the ages of 3 – 8. Charlie was captivated by the story and got thoroughly involved in trying to free the princess. It was the highlight of his day!
6. Wear comfy footwear and pack light. If you intend to explore the castle towers, walls and expansive grounds flip flops will not suffice! I would also suggest packing carefully as pushchairs are not permitted inside the castle so be prepared to have to carry all of your belongings (and child!) for your tour inside the castle and around the walls. (There are lockers available however they are located near the Stables carpark and so a fair distance from the castle). I would definitely recommend a baby sling for parents with little ones.
7. Be prepared for some attractions to cost extra. The castle dungeon is not included in the standard entrance ticket as it is not suitable for everyone. There were also several stalls which cost extra such as firing bows and arrows. Point the kiddies in the direction of the playground if you do not want to be hounded by them for ‘pennies’!
8. Show up with your swords! Consider taking a trip to a toy shop prior to visiting the castle to pick up some cheap plastic swords. Charlie was pestering me for a wooden sword most of the day which cost a pricey £23 in the castle gift store. Before our next visit I may kit him out like a knight at Asda!
9. Do not expect to fit it all into one day! Although we arrived shortly after the attraction opened we did not have enough time to experience all of the shows and attractions. We therefore upgraded to an annual pass for Charlie and myself because to be honest we would have been silly not too! Annual passes were on sale during our visit. We upgraded two passes (one child, one adult) which cost us just short of £17 (bearing in mind two of our day pass tickets were complimentary!) As annual pass holders we received four free tickets each (eight total) plus free car parking (a saving of £12 for our visit as we had two cars with us) and 20% off the cost of food, drink and castle gifts. So in summary £5 for two annual passes and eight free tickets… great value family entertainment!
10. Check out the options for staying overnight. We took a detour and had a quick sneaky peek in the mediaeval tents on our walk from the car park. They look great fun! Really comfy looking beds and quite spacious accommodation. Glamping in the Mediaeval Village is definitely on my wish list for our next visit!
Lastly…. Relax before your journey home. We ended our visit with a drink on the terrace of the Conservatory Tea House. It was the perfect end to the day, we recharged our batteries overlooking the beautiful gardens whilst the peacocks roamed free and Charlie played knights with his new friends!
Have you visited Warwick Castle? Can you add any tips?