Wersha Bharadwa checks in for a sleepover fit for mini Kings and Queens at Warwick Castle.
Set the whole family up for an unmissable weekend of medieval magic and splendour at Knights Village, where little ones can rule the roost like royalty during a sleepover at Warwick Castle.
Steeped in history dating back to William the Conqueror and bursting with outrageous thrills and fun, Warwick Castle is located in the centre of Warwick. It’s an easy 15 minute walk from the train station and an hour and 40 minutes from London via car.
The attractions at Warwick Castle are vast – ranging from adventurous hikes, activity trails, live-action shows, medieval artefacts and wax works of famous royals to historical tours, flagstone floors, vaulted ceilings and haunted dungeons. It’s a serious contender for one of the UK’s best days out, but a sleepover really immerses you in the history, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back 1000 years. Entrance into the castle, gardens and attractions is included when staying overnight, so after you check-in, be sure to explore the 14th century fortress, three-metre-thick curtain walls, original wooden portcullis and turrets before climbing 530 narrow steps up a tight spiral staircase to reach the top of Guy’s Tower.
Kids will love learning about notable royals who’ve bedded down here, from King Henry V and Elizabeth I to Queen Victoria while Edward IV did a short stint imprisoned in the castle during the War of The Roses. You’ll be met with unparalleled views across the castle grounds and town once you reach the top, which, by the way, stands a staggering 148ft high above the ground. Negotiating Clarence Tower (which offers a shorter route up) is easier and Conqueror’s Mound is fully accessible for wheelchairs, strollers and expectant mums while still providing views of the sprawling 64 acres of parkland, trebuchet and lazy river. Little lords and ladies will go nuts for both the roaming resident flock of peacocks in a manicured garden and The Falconer’s Quest – a show featuring over 60 birds of prey including a huge Andean Condor.
Sleeping Over at Warwick Castle
Located discreetly behind the castle in a picturesque woodland grove next to the lily pad-coated River Avon you’ll find Knight’s Village – Warwick Castle’s upscale and fun overnight retreat. The fun trails and woodland games on the way from the castle to Knight’s Village reception and then the lodges all build into the overnight adventure ahead.
Families of up to five can stay in one of 24 Medieval-themed Woodland Lodges which contain double beds in a main bedroom with faux tapestries, shields mounted on walls and heavy wood-framed beds with fluffy pillows. A second cosy room contains two bunk beds and a rollout bed for a third child. The large walk-in showers are lovely and fresh with Perspex screens and designer taps. Knight’s Lodges accommodate up to seven in an open plan setting with an additional mezzanine level.
Other highlights include flat screen TVs with Freeview and an outdoor deck perfect for stargazing after an action-packed day or to watch the sunrise. The staff are super friendly too – with housekeeping delivering extra towels and mini bath goodies on request.
Dining at Knight’s Village
Dinner is a three-course meal or a buffet option served in a lively medieval-themed dining hall exclusive to overnight guests. Interactive entertainment is provided by two duelling knights swishing swords around the stage and tables. Knight’s School runs outside for two hours in the middle of the accommodation village for aspiring mini knights: they’re guided through fun swordsmanship training sessions and games in tactical defence skills before being formally knighted in a ceremony. Experts in keeping little ones engaged, the knights continue after dinner with mythical and comedic bedtime fables of dragons, wizards, knights and princesses. Breakfast is a delicious hot Full English with continental options including yogurts, fruit, granola, freshly baked croissants and muffins. There’s a decent selection of hot and cold drinks too including super frothy hot chocolates.
More to see at Warwick Castle
• A second day reduced rate park ticket ensures you get to see all the bits you may have missed the previous day. Head for Zog and the Quest for the Golden Star, an activity trail based on the award-winning books by Julia Donaldson. Children are assigned tasks at five different stops where they help Zog complete five years at Dragon school.
• The huge collection of armoury and weaponry inside The Great Hall alongside the majestic interiors of State Rooms which include a clock from Marie Antoinette. You’ll find spectacular wax works displays of various characters in the castle’s history including King Henry and his wives too.
• The King Maker’s Exhibition: Located underneath Caeser’s Tower, travel through time to 1471 to learn about The Earl of Warwick’s role in The Battle of The Roses
• The Horrible Histories Maze: An interactive, multi-sensory and educational maze (with lots of buttons to push too!) based on the books by Terry Deary. There are four sections to master – Slimy Stuarts, Viscious Vikings, Measley Middle Ages and Frightful First World War – plus quizzes, foul facts and activities galore.
• Watch the kids rule over their subjects from the top of the mini wooden fortress in the Pageant Playground
Christmas at Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle is a year-round attraction with live jousting events and shows during the summer and extra special events centred around Christmas. Book a visit to see Santa and his merry elves before skating on a stunning open-air rink on the East Front of the castle to a soundtrack of festive favourite tunes. After dark, the castle transforms into a winter wonderland via a Light Trail which features multi-coloured illuminations, a spectacular light tunnel, installations and projections set to music.
Open daily from 10am to 4pm, visit www.warwick-castle.com/ or call 01926 406610 for more information. Stay at the Woodlands Lodges at The Knight’s Village start from £187 and include admission tickets to Warwick Castle.