A weekend away in Warwick was a bit of last minute decision. We had a wedding to attend on the Sunday evening and I had taken Monday off work, so it seemed like the logical thing to do to extend the weekend.
We decided to stay at the Hilton on the outskirts of Warwick, as it was handy for the wedding and Warwick town. I wasn’t sure about it to begin with, but was swayed by the jelly beans and robes in the room (it doesn’t take much!).
After motoring up there on the Saturday afternoon, we took ourselves off into Warwick town centre for a little recce. There was a French market on in the square which was a nice surprise, it was quite large so was good for a little browse. Just round the corner from there is the Collegiate Church of St Mary in the Old Square, which is definitely worth a look.
It’s quite an imposing structure but is quite beautiful. There is no fee for entry, but they do ask for a donation in lieu of this. It’s an interesting wander, especially if you know a little about the history of Warwick and the castle. It’s worth visiting for their stain glass windows alone!
We spent about an hour just wandering around the town centre, it’s very picturesque! The hunger pangs were setting in then, but luckily we came across THE cutest fish and chip shop called The Chip Shed – it was a welcome sight.
We bought a box of large chips and wandered down the street back to the car scoffing them, they were delish! It was then time to go back to the hotel for a little rest before venturing back out for dinner.
The next day was to be devoted to visiting the castle as we had the whole day to kill before the wedding in the evening. As luck would have it, it was a gorgeous day, so we would see the castle in all its splendour.
I was a little worried as it’s been taken over and looked like it’s now run as a bit of a theme park. However, my fears were totally misguided, it’s a great day out and caters for everyone – although they do have a strong emphasis on family entertainment. It’s all done really well though and I didn’t feel like I had just walked into some cheap, tacky, tourist haunt.
That’s just as well, as the castle has a very rich history – it was the home of the Neville’s and the infamous ‘Kingmaker’, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick in the 1400’s. He was a leading figure in the politics of his time and instrumental in putting men on the English throne. That era really does interest me, so I was excited to visit his home and see what was left of it.
We entered the grounds through a rather unobtrusive entrance off a side street, but on taking a few steps down the path were confronted with the sight of the massive castle. There are manicured lawns surrounding it now, where many people were happily sat enjoying a picnic, or playing with their children.
Instead of heading straight into the castle, we took a detour down to the river which runs past it, to check out the watermill and the views.
Then it was back up to the main entrance to stroll across the moat, through the gatehouse and into the grounds.
We spent the day wandering around the inner section of the castle and exploring the grounds a bit more. We also explored inside the castle, taking in the Great Hall and the other grand (and not so grand!) rooms.
We ventured into the Horrible Histories maze which is really for kids, but we had fun getting lost and found in it! We scaled the ramparts and climbed the towers and spent time meandering through the peacock garden.
It really was such a gorgeous day and despite it being a weekend and very busy, it didn’t feel like the place was overrun.
We ended the day with a ice cream – although it was so warm (surprising I know!!) we had to gobble them down quickly, but that wasn’t really difficult!
A visit to the castle is highly recommended if you are ever in that neck of the woods!