Birmingham’s Essential Entertainment Guide
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One of the first Midlands venues to announce its reopening as lockdown rules eased was Warwick Castle. Boasting history tours, detailed exhibits, programmed activities and 64 acres of landscaped garden, the venue offers a combination of attractions that makes for a fabulous family day out.
The castle benefits from being run by Merlin Entertainments, a global company renowned for its wide range of visitor attractions. As might therefore be expected, a considerable amount of thought has gone into the challenge of bringing the venue’s long and illustrious history to life.
Journey through the one-way system of the castle’s Great Hall & State Rooms to uncover a wealth of historically significant artefacts. These include a weapons and armoury collection amassed by the Earls of Warwick through the centuries, famous Van Dyck portraiture, and the bed in which Queen Anne is said to have met her demise at Kensington Palace in 1714.
Meanwhile, the Kingmaker exhibit sees visitors being guided through an underground labyrinth, where they will learn about the preparations made by Warwick’s army ahead of its battle in 1471. This interactive journey - complete with authentic sounds and smells - provides a real sense of medieval England. Along the way it also highlights the work undertaken not only by the castle’s bowmen and soldiers but also by its blacksmith, stonemason, treasurer, seamstress and cobbler.
Make sure you allow plenty of time to marvel at the mannequins - so perfectly formed and lifelike that they look as though they’re going to leap into action at any minute!
Certain to capture the attention of younger visitors is the castle’s Horrible Histories © Maze. An innovative way in which to trek back in time, the attraction guides families through England’s often gruesome past - from the ‘Stormin’ Normans’ to the ‘Frightful First World War’, with the ‘Terrifying Tudors’ and ‘Slimy Stuarts’ popping up in between.
Again, a one-way system ensures everyone can access the attraction safely.
A day out at the castle wouldn’t be complete without checking out its much-loved Birds of Prey Show - the biggest of its kind in the UK.
Species of birds from across the world - the largest, heaviest and fastest - feature in a magnificent action-packed display of impressive acrobatics. New health & safety guidelines have meant changes to the structuring of all Falconer’s Quest shows. Visitors will now be directed to an allocated space on the riverside viewing area. The 360-degree arena presents a perfect vantage point for all, so there’s no need to worry about missing out. Show times are daily at 11.30am and 2.30pm.
Social distancing also means that the princesses will no longer be able to host their popular storytelling sessions in The Princess Tower. Instead they’ll be wandering the grounds to share their magical tales with visitors.
Youngsters wishing to learn the skills required to become a knight can do so at Knight School. A sword and shield (which can be purchased onsite or brought along from home) are needed to partake in this ever-popular interactive show.
Knight School runs at selected times during key school holiday dates only, and is included with all entry tickets.
While the castle’s extensive grounds very much lend themselves to the delights of a home-made picnic, there are also plenty of on-site places to purchase food & drink should you prefer. Check the castle website to see what’s open ahead of your visit.
With staycations the preferred choice of many Brits this year, a family break at Warwick Castle is certainly worth considering. Tucked away in a secluded woodland grove, The Knight’s Village comprises 28 themed lodges with views over the River Avon. Lodges sleep up to seven people and each is spaciously separated by wooden walkways. Packages include overnight stays, two-day entry to the castle, themed evening entertainment, a cooked or continental breakfast, car parking and unlimited WiFi.
Warwick Castle has been awarded the VisitEngland We're Good To Go charter mark, demonstrating that all of the requisite health & safety processes are in place to ensure that visitors have a safe and enjoyable visit.
As part of the venue’s enhanced safety measures, all tickets and stays must be booked in advance online at warwick-castle.com
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