Thursday 15 October 2015

48h in Warwick

A little while back, we booked a weekend away in Warwick not knowing that Jason would still have an uncomfortable 28cm tube in his kidney. We kind of thought about cancelling and leaving it for another occasion, but we were so looking forward to it that in the end we still went and promised ourselves to take it easy.

We did take it easy (kind of...) and had an amazing time in this small but full of character old town. During the first day, we strolled around the town centre, admiring these amazing Tudor styled houses. The hospital is still completely intact and looks like it's from a Tim Burton's drawing as nothing is straight! We stayed at the Westham B&B, which was really friendly and reasonably priced. Plus, it was so close to the town centre you could walk there no problem. There's an extra charge for the breakfast but I have to say it was really good so definitely worth it.

It was really nice to not have plans for the whole afternoon so we went wherever the wind was taking us. The Collegiate Church of St Mary was open (and free!) so we couldn't resist exploring it. The weather wasn't really on our side during the whole weekend so it was also nice to find shelter in this stunning 15th century building.

We ended our afternoon in the cosy Thomas Oken Tea Rooms, where everything seemed like it was out of a period movie but with some quirky and modern touches added to it. We loved the experience and the fact that there was both local ales and coffees on the menu (it's really rare when we come across a tea room that serves beer!). The setting was just perfect.

We woke up the next day feeling refreshed from our nice night at the B&B and ready to tackle our big day at Warwick Castle. It opens at 10am, so were there for 10am (haha when we're booking somewhere, we always make sure to be there the moment it opens and leave only when it's closing!).

Because it was bought in the 70s by Madame Tussauds, the whole castle is full of wax sculptures looking (creepily) very real and arranged in various settings. The photos above show how people lived there during the year 1471 when Richard Neville (known as the Kingmaker) was preparing his army for battle. Except for his clothes, I think Jason looks like he could be part of the setting with this helmet!

We were lucky enough to be just on time for a tour of the stately home part of the castle that was owned by the Greville family for generations. We learnt a lot of anecdotes and stories about the prestigious great hall and other highly decorated state rooms that the family redecorated to show the world how wealthy they were. As you might know now, that's the kind of historical interiors I love exploring and this part didn't disappoint me at all. Everything to the last detail was thought about and the restoration they went through to make the rooms exactly the same as they were at the time was truly beautiful.

With the weather starting to clear up, we decided to go around the castle wall and climb many many stairs to go up various towers that had amazing views awaiting for us. The Time Tower experience was a really good short attraction that told us a bit more about the story of the castle since its construction.

We made sure to not miss the Flight of the Eagles show in the afternoon and we were pleasantly surprised at how close the birds would fly over our heads! Birds of prey are so fascinating, it was great to see a proper show taking place in such a magical surrounding. I tried very hard to take some good photos but they were going so fast that it was really tricky!

And finally, to end our day on a good note as the sun was shining, we went around the castle to the Victorian Mill which was changed to one of the earliest hydroelectric power stations in the country.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention the Castle Dungeon that you can book as an extra experience with your ticket. If you like being terrified then go for it. This was definitely not my cup of tea, but Jason loved it! It was so well done that some parts just scared me to death! Other than that, the castle is really family friendly with plenty of activities available. I would recommend to go on a sunny day for the shows that are taking place outdoors, and you definitely need to plan a whole day there if you want to see everything!

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