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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Warwick, UK

Our first adventure in the new year was to Warwick. Some friends of ours told us about Warwick Castle & how it wasn't to be missed. Before we go anywhere I usually try and do research about it before hand so we know what to look out for, what to skip with 3 young kids, etc. One of my favorite things to do is to find the treasure's that others have missed, and it is even doable with the kiddos. So here are my thoughts & opinions  on Warwick. First, we went early January, it was a gorgeous day and there weren't any crowds.
Warwick is about a 2 hour drive from where we live, about an hour into it the kids started asking "Are we almost there?" This coming from my kids who often take an hour drive four times a week to the base and back. This means 2 things; the drive was very boring, & we haven't taken long day trips in a while. That must be changed. 

We started our journey at 9:30 and arrived around 11:45.Once we arrived, we headed straight to Warwick Castle. Our thoughts on this were since we had to pay admission we would do everything we could at the castle and if there was any time remaining we would venture out.

Parking for Warwick Castle was £6. The walk from the Car park to the castle was about 5 minutes but it reminded me of a scene from the movie The Labyrinth.

Once we got to the ticket counter I asked if there was a discount for English Heritage members and it turns out there is; 50% off so it cost us £43 for all 4 of us, Dylan was free since he's under 3. That equals out to be approx. $70 with today's exchange rate. Initial reaction was that it was expensive just to see a Castle. Here are some more pictures with descriptions of our exciting adventure at Warwick Castle.

The Great Hall, the largest room in the Castle
The State Dining Room. 1763; George IV & Edward VII dined here among many others.

Queen Elizabeth I Saddle & handkerchief

The Cedar Drawing Room; everything in the room dates to 1670
The Queen Anne Bedroom; Queen Anne sent her bed ahead of her and her trip ended up being cancelled but the bed stayed at the castle. The Leather Chest also belonged to Queen Anne. Another interesting fact she had 17 children and only 1 survived infancy.

the Library 

The Ladies Boudoir; french inspired room

Built in the 1600's on top of a site of another chapel founded in 1119. There was a TINY area marked off by a partition that was where the servants were required to attend chapel.
The Music Room

Countess of Warwick's Bedroom;1800's

3 towers & the tower Wall. Total of 530 steps! Elora started crying about 1/2 way through and said  "We're going to die, we're never getting home!"

530 steps & Steve carried Dylan up and down all of them. I'd highly suggest if you have younger kids,  do not climb the towers, you can still see great views from the top of the mound which is much easier for the little ones to climb. 

Kid's Favorite things:
Elora age 6- The Princess Tower; no photography was allowed in there but it was a short 10 minute show about a Princess getting ready for a wedding.
Derek age 4- The dueling show; again a short 10 minute instruction on the dueling gents & the tower climbing
Dylan age 2- The playground & The Bird show.

After we had seen, walked, & climbed all that we could at Warwick Castle, without paying extra and doing everything that was age appropriate for our Children we were done around 3:30. I knew for sure I wanted to visit St. Mary's Church, there is just something about Cathedrals that draw me to them, the architecture, the religion, the history, probably all of the above. Entrance was free, but we donated £4.

Interior Looking East

Close up of the stained Glass

Earl of Warwick & his wife Katherine entombed together

Richard Beuchamp, Earl of Warwick's tomb. He oversaw the execution of Joan of Arc.

Beuchamp Chapel 

Interior Looking West
William Parr; brother of Queen Katherine Parr and leading courtier during the reigns of Edward VI and Elizabeth I more in next pic

By the time we were done at St. Mary's everything was closing, so that ended our day. We had a great time,  we built some memories, and we took a step back into time. Would I say that Warwick Castle was worth the 1/2 off admission, not really. $70 is really expensive for 4 people to see a castle, but I'm glad we did it once & got to see as much as we did, but there is so much more to see and do around England.


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