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Visiting Warwick Castle 1000 years of turbulent history

11 Centuries, can you imagine it? As a Canadian (and a massive history nut) my Warwick Castle visit was a dream come true.  I had prepared myself by watching documentaries on the history of Warwick Castle and taking in all I could on the history of the historic Castle.

These days Warwick Castle’s owners, are the Merlin Entertainments Group, who own Madame Tussaud’s. They have spent over $20 million dollars in restoration work.

view of Warwick Castle from the riverbank

Thanks to Shakespeare’s England and Warwick Castle for providing a complimentary entry for the purpose of this honest review. All opinions expressed are my own and as usual brutally honest lol.

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How to get to Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle from London

Driving to Warwick Castle: The Castle is well-signposted, and less than two miles from junction 15 of the M40. The address is Warwick Castle, Warwick, Warwickshire, CV34 6AH.  Or using what3words, the entrance to the main carpark is ///acid.decks.speaks

Train to Warwick Castle: Warwick Railway Station is approximately one mile from the Castle. A direct service into London Marylebone (1 hour 45 minutes) or Birmingham Snow Hill is available. For information visit or

Top Tips for Visiting Warwick Castle

  • Book your tickets online and save
  • Wear really comfortable shoes, and expect to walk a LOT
  • Remember much of the Castle is NOT accessible
  • Take a picnic
  • Some attractions cost extra be prepared
  • Tourists take your disabled sticker with you
  • Don’t shop there the tourist tat is overpriced
  • Get to the Dungeon tour early
  • Book your “Princess” Tower tickets early if you must go
  • Keep your ticket if it rains
  • Take water and snacks
  • Take a picnic 
  • Take cash the ATM is expensive

Xyuandbeyond is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. You can read my privacy policy here.

FAQS about Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle information: Warwick Castle tickets

Tickets cost a substantial £37 on the day or if purchased online in advance tickets can range from £20 -24 so book online before you go. This price is for anyone over the age of 3.

Attractions that cost extra include Dungeon Tour and Dragon Slayer and you can see all the information on the Warwick Castle website.

Most tourist attractions in the UK are jam-packed during the summer months when the kids are off school. We did not have any problem visiting Warwick Castle and there were no real crowds when we visited in mid-August. You can also purchase Warwick Castle annual passes if you live in the area.

view of the courtyard of Warwick Castle

Opening times for Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle is open every day from 10 am until 4 pm.

Food at Warwick Castle

Take a picnic with you. The range of food available at Warwick Castle is pretty poor. There is a pizza buffet for £7.50 per child and £12.95 per adult but the quality leaves a lot to be desired. The Courtyard Restaurant offers Costa coffee but again the pricing is outrageous and it’s a hell of a long walk back to the Courtyard from the farthest reaches of the Castle.

Warwick Castle Plan and map of grounds

Visiting Warwick Castle 1000 years of turbulent history

Wear your best walking shoes. There is a LOT of walking and over 600 stairs to manoeuvre if you want to get some of the best views. There are not a lot of benches or places where you can rest anywhere on the grounds.

Souvenirs and gifts – don’t bother wasting your money. The gift shops are full of throw-away kids’ toys. We saw a paper Knights mask for £8, lots of stuffed anime figures that bore no relation to the Castle and the usually cheap tacky tourist gifts.

 Warwick Castle has one cash machine, queues can get quite long in the summer months and the charges for using the machine is really high. 

The gift shops and restaurants all accept major credit and debit cards but it’s advisable to take cash for water, ice creams and other small purchases.

Parking at Warwick Castle

Parking for Warwick Castle costs £6 and the parking lot is about 2km away from the Castle entrance. It is a BRUTAL walk let me tell you. If you are a tourist planning on renting a car bring your disabled sticker with you so you can park in the accessible lot which is much closer to the Castle itself. No staff member bothers to tell you there is a drop-off area for those with mobility issues or challenges near the admissions area.

It is noted on the Castle’s website if you know to look for it. We saw many older and disabled tourists on the path that were having a very hard time on the walk to the Castle. Merlin Entertainments should be putting on some sort of transportation from these parking lots to the main gates of the Castle but I can’t say that any of the staff on the grounds of the walk to the Castle gave a damn about people struggling on the path.

Warwick Castle History

The original Warwick Castle or rather a fortification was built by the Saxon Ethelfleda who was the daughter of Alfred the Great. The fortification was used to defend against the invading Vikings.

Warwick Castle

The Castle sits proudly on a sandstone bluff at a bend of the River Avon. The river, which runs below the castle on the east side, has eroded the rock the castle stands on, forming a cliff. The river and cliff form natural defences.

It was in 1068 that William the Conqueror built a motte and bailey which was a wooden fortification on the hilltop. In the 12th century, a stone castle replaced the wooden fortification and it became one of Britain’s most impressive strongholds.

Of course, during the period from the 13th century to the 17th century, Warwick Castle survived many dramas. In 1153, the wife of the 2nd Earl of Warwick was tricked into believing her husband was dead and so handed the castle over to Henry of Anjou who was to become King Henry II. Unfortunately, when the Earl heard what his wife had done he did drop dead. 

King Henry fortified Warwick Castle and introduced a new layout to the Castle with buildings inside the castle walls.  It wasn’t until the 11th Earl that Warwick Castle’s defences were enhanced which was around 1330-60.

What to see at Warwick Castle

The Barbican

A fortified gateway called a barbican was added and towers were built on either side of the wall which became known as Caesar’s Tower and Guy’s Tower. During this period the Watergate Tower was also added to the Castle’s defences.

The Gatehouse

The gatehouse features murder holes, two drawbridges, a gate, and portcullises – gates made from wood or metal.  

Caesar’s Tower

Caesar’s Tower is the original Gaol and it is 147 feet tall, this is the tallest tower at the castle and has 3 stories excluding the Gaol. On the walls of the Gaol, you will see graffiti left by prisoners who scratched their names into the walls while they awaited their sentencing.  

Caesar’s Tower at Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle Gardens

Within the 64 acres of rolling landscaped gardens, discover the sculptured topiary peacocks and an island with a secret past. Entry to the Gardens is included in all Warwick Castle Tickets! 

Visiting Warwick Castle 1000 years of turbulent history
Peacock strolling at Warwick Castle, United Kingdom

What to do at Warwick Castle – Warwick Castle Tours

Warwick Castle Including Return Train Tickets from London

Immerse yourself in 1,100 years of at one of England’s finest medieval castles and explore the grounds at your own pace on this fantastic self-guided tour. Travel back in time with the impressive audio-visual experience at the Time Tower. See graffiti left behind by prisoners from hundreds of years ago. Admire the beauty of the Rose & Peacock Gardens. Watch a live display of jousting or archery.

Read more about Warwick Castle Including Return Train Tickets from London

Warwick Castle dungeon

This is also the area where you can take the Dungeon Tour. Instead of wax dummies, you get actors in costumes from the Monk to the Plaque Doctor it’s all here. Children under 10 aren’t allowed and if you suffer from claustrophobia or have some mobility issues don’t go. The tour is dark, and dank and the actors are a little “disnified” but not dignified. The place sort of smells mildewy and the overacting is a little too much for my taste. It is also dangerous, with narrow, close stairs that are quite worn out.

Visiting Warwick Castle 1000 years of turbulent history

The cost of the Warwick Dungeon Tour is included in your ticket is £27 if you buy online and £34 at the gate. If you want to add the Dungeon tour later it will cost you an extra £10.

Guy’s Tower

Solomons Tower at Warwick CAstle

Guy’s Tower is twelve-sided, stands 128 feet tall and has five storeys. The first four storeys consist of a central stone-vaulted chamber with two small side rooms; a garderobe (toilet), and the other was probably used as a bedchamber. The fifth storey is a hexagonal guardroom. 

The Bear and Clarence Towers

In the early 1480s, King Richard III had two gun towers built. The Bear and Clarence Towers were left unfinished on his death in 1485. 

Visiting Warwick Castle 1000 years of turbulent history

Warwick Castle’s residential buildings are on the eastern side of the castle facing gorgeous views of the Avon. These buildings include the Great Hall, the library and the Chapel.  

Warwick Castle interior

The Great Hall Warwick

The Great Hall is the largest room in Warwick Castle and it is the most impressive area of the Castle. You cannot take strollers into the Great Hall so be warned. Although the Great Hall and State Rooms are up a flight of 11 steps, there is a wheelchair lift.

the Great Hall display of armour at Warwick Castle

There is a short staircase to the Great Hall and when you enter it is pretty spectacular. Its immense vaulted ceilings and incredible displays of weaponry are pretty amazing. The Great Hall itself dates back to the 1300s and there is a superb display of armour within the Hall including armoured horses.

mounted display of horse and armed rider in Warwick Castles Great Hall

Today it’s home to some splendid suits of armour – including armour for horses, and a tiny one made for the four-year-old son of the Earl of Leicester.

Look out for the magnificent Kenilworth Buffet, a wonderful piece of furniture, carved by local craftsmen from a single oak tree from the grounds of Kenilworth Castle, for the Great Exhibition of 1851. The buffet is made from a single oak tree that grew at Kenilworth Castle and was cut down in 1842.

Kenilworth Buffet in the Great Hall of Warwick Castle

The carvings represent scenes from Sir Walter Scott’s historical novel, ‘Kenilworth’.  It was published in 1821 and centres on the secret marriage between Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and Amy Robsart. The central panel shows the entry of Queen Elizabeth I into Kenilworth Castle through Dudley’s gatehouse in 1575 as part of a three-week visit.

Dudley was in love with Queen Elizabeth and wanted her to marry him, unfortunately, he had a wife who died shortly afterwards under strange circumstances.

Exploring the State Rooms at Warwick Castle

Many a crowned head has eaten dinner in the State Dining room. The room was commissioned in 1763 and has entertained King George IV and Queen Victoria.

State Rooms at Warwick Castle with ornately gilded ceilings and table set for dinner

There is a Cedar Drawing Room in an Italianate style.

portrait of Henry VIII in the state rooms at Warwick Castle

The Blue Boudoir has silk wallpaper and the Green Drawing Room with its superb works of art.

In the 1600’s Sir Fulke Greville built a small chapel on the site of what is believed to have been the location of a chapel dating back to 1119. There is a beautiful little Chapel tucked away with its own pipe organ. Greville was granted Warwick Castle—situated on a bend of the River Avon in Warwickshire—by King James I in 1604. The castle was in a dilapidated condition when he took possession of it, and he spent £20,000 to restore it to its former glory.

detail of entry to Chapel at Warwick Castle

The rooms upstairs have been set up with MadameTussaud style figures and tableaux of dinner parties and entertainments in the house when it was a family “home”. The exhibit is called “The Weekend Party”. Guests include the Prince of Wales, Winston Churchill and other luminaries of the era.

The Weekend Party exhibit at Warwick Castle

The exhibit is spread over 12 of the previous family apartments that have been decorated with items from the period.

a wax figure of Winston Churchill as a young man at the Weekend Party exhibit in the State rooms of Warwick Castle

Kingmaker Exhibit

Travel back in time to the civil war of 1471 with Richard Neville the most powerful and richest peer in England. One of the original leaders of the War of the Roses and originally a Yorkist (the White Rose) he switched sides to the Red Rose (Lancastrian) and earned his nickname of the Kingmaker by helping the Tudors come to the throne of England.

Visiting Warwick Castle 1000 years of turbulent history

Warwick Castle Events 

The Mighty Trebuchet

Warwick Castle is home to one of the largest working siege engines in the world the Trebuchet is capable of flinging cannonballs weighing in at over 13kg. Sadly if you have mobility issues it is difficult to get to the area where the Trebuchet stands and is demonstrated. It is around a 10-15 minute walk or push (strollers or wheelchairs) to the main areas.  For safety reasons, the trebuchet is set up on the opposite side of the river to the Castle.

The great trebuchet at Warwick Castle in action

It takes a team of 8 people to operate the machine which stands 59 feet tall and weighs in at 22 tons. As it is so large you can see it from quite a distance.

It takes around 15-20 to get the trebuchet set up and the operators are quite entertaining.

The Falconer’s Quest

In the summer months and main tourist times, Warwick Castle hosts a fabulous display of birds of prey. There are owls flying over you, a bald eagle and an Egyptian Vulture to name a few.

Visiting Warwick Castle 1000 years of turbulent history
Falconer with an Egyptian vulture

It’s pretty dramatic watching kites landing on the towers and flying back to the falconer I have to say. It was probably the best display I’ve seen since the one at Birr Castle in Ireland.

Time Tower at Warwick Castle

Enter the Time Tower ( Caesar’s Tower ) & witness the birth of Warwick Castle, which once controlled the middle of England for over a thousand years. These ages have now passed along with their stories…until now.

Visiting Warwick Castle 1000 years of turbulent history

Join characters from the Castle’s past as they travel through time on an adventure quest through Warwick Castle’s dark history of bloodshed, death, betrayal & destruction and discover for yourselves the true story of 1,100 years of Warwick Castle through the Ages.

Time Tower is an immersive audiovisual multimedia experience capturing the essence of Warwick Castle’s rich and vibrant history!

Warwick Castle Princess Tower

Okay so I’ve never been known to admire a Princess and this “entertainment” sort of does my feminist head in. It is utterly sexist and exclusionary as they don’t allow boys in.

It’s a sappy Disney experience, no boys allowed exhibit/quest, god only knows what. The usual nonsense of brave knights and Princess breaking curses and solving riddles and all that crap.

Visiting Warwick Castle 1000 years of turbulent history

A few of the Princess Tower rules:

  • You must have a ticket and book a time slot
  • Many stairs to the tower so no strollers you have to carry the little ones
  • No photography or mobile phone use
  • We heard boys being turned away

Bowman and Archers Show

Held in front of the Castle as you are exiting from the admissions area. This guy is pretty damned impressive and you learn quite a bit which means in future when watching archers or longbowmen in movies you will be much more critical.

Visiting Warwick Castle 1000 years of turbulent history

Dragon Slayer

A summer-only show taking place in the evening at an extra cost of £20. This is an evening show complete with fire jousting, stunts and battles on horseback and by the light of torches. There is a twilight procession to the courtyard of the knights and their beautiful horses. A spectacular light show finale with mythical monsters and pyrotechnics. 

The Horrible Histories Maze

You will pass this on your way to the Castle again just outside the admissions area. It’s an interactive walkthrough experience that combines obstacles, quests, special effects and some interesting “movements” and smoke effects. Again a load of rules, no high heels, no eating, no drinking, no strollers but it is wheelchair accessible.

Tussauds wax dummies of Henry VIII and a couple of his wives

For the kiddies, there are areas dedicated to Vicious Vikings and Stormin’ Normans Terrifying Tudors, Slimy Stuarts and the Frightful First World War educational and fun for them.

Visiting Warwick Castle 1000 years of turbulent history

Seasonal Events at Warwick Castle

The War of the Roses is usually held in the main summer months of tourist season and is quite the spectacle. Watch and learn about the clash between York and Lancaster and how that led to a new royal regime.

jousting at Warwick Castle for the War of the Roses

Staying at Warwick Castle

Fancy a night in Warwick Castle? Well, it’s possible you can stay in one of the luxury tower suites in Caesar’s Tower. £600 per night. However, the price is for two and does include champagne, fresh flowers and fruit, a 24-hour concierge service, two days’ unlimited access to the castle with all-day dining and parking and posh breakfast brought to your room or served in the grand dining room.

Visiting Warwick Castle 1000 years of turbulent history
©Warwick Castle

There are at least 50+ steps up to the rooms so you had better be fit although they do carry your luggage up for you.

Or how about some glamping? A stay in the King’s Luxury tent costs around £95 per person per night. Now that does include 2 thrones and a good breakfast.

Visiting Warwick Castle 1000 years of turbulent history
©Warwick Castle

Medieval-themed Lodge is pretty luxurious but starts at £160 per night for a family with 2 kids under the age of 12.

Visiting Warwick Castle 1000 years of turbulent history
©Warwick Castle

Fortunately, all stays do include a 2-day ticket to the Castle and breakfast.

How to get to Warwick castle

Easy to get to by car the Castle is right off the M40 and well-signed. As mentioned before parking is a pain in the feet as it is a hell of a long way from the actual castle entrance.

You can also get to the Castle by train to Warwick station which is about a 25-minute walk from the Castle.

How to get to Warwick Castle from London

If you’re getting the train to Warwick Castle there are direct trains to Warwick station from London Marylebone, taking around 1 hour 45 minutes. For most visitors in the west and the north, the best option is to change at Birmingham Snow Hill for direct trains to Warwick.

The station is about a mile from the Castle so you can either take a taxi or you can get the 16 bus which will take you to the Castle. 

Visiting Warwick Castle 1000 years of turbulent history

Travel on the Warwick Castle Express – Departing from London every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, from April – November. Depart at 8.30 am, relax on board a luxury air-conditioned Golden Tours coach with free Wi-Fi and enjoy the journey. Packages include Castle entry. 

I have to admit to being disappointed by my trip to Warwick Castle. As a person with mobility issues, the walk was cruel and it didn’t put me in a great state to actually enjoy the Castle. We were given 2 complimentary tickets to the Castle itself which were gratefully received as the cost of them and parking were very off-putting and we would have been horrendously disappointed if we had paid the entry fee.

Visiting Warwick Castle 1000 years of turbulent history

All in all, Warwick Castle is disappointing, the lack of decent food and places to sit, and the tacky cheap tat in the stores. The fact you have to pay extra to park and there is no transportation of any kind on the grounds to be able to access areas outside the castle for special events. The cost is really outrageous as well and to charge a 4-year-old child the same as an adult is simply gouging. 

On the other hand, it is an incredible historic location, I just wish in their attempt to be all things to all people they would up their game a lot given the entry fee.

Visiting Warwick Castle 1000 years of turbulent history

I was also very surprised by the lack of guest assistance and the treatment of guests attempting to sort out tickets. There was only 1 person at the ticket booth at the first entrance to the Castle and no signage telling you there were more ticket booths inside. In fact, it took us over 45 minutes of waiting in lines to get to where our complimentary tickets were being held.

I always feel a bit sad about not giving a great review when my entry tickets have been provided at no charge, but then it wouldn’t be a brutally honest review. There is much that needs to be done at Warwick Castle to make it worth the ticket price. I would highly recommend a visit to Kenilworth Castle when you are in the area.

Have you been to Warwick Castle and what did you think?

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Visiting Warwick Castle 1000 years of turbulent history


  • Faith was born in Ireland raised in Canada and has lived in over 10 countries in Europe including England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Northern Ireland, Wales, along with Mexico, Antigua, the US and has slow travelled to over 40 countries around the world. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Women's Studies Faith is a student of history, culture, community and food and has written about these topics for over 40 years.

3 thoughts on “Visiting Warwick Castle 1000 years of turbulent history”

  1. I love how articulate and savvy the whole article is written. After reading, I was intrigued. Thanks for a wonderful and exiting introduction .

  2. We visited Warwick Castle in August with two children. Very expensive, having to pay extra for the dungeon . Waited to see the Trebochet , could hardly hear the cast , then it was cancelled as it was not working. The birds of prey was good however only three of them were on display as a tree had fallen previously. My grandson went to buy a chocolate bar, handed over £1 to be told credit cards only !
    However the Wars of the Roses was the best .

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