Christmas at Warwick Castle – with Joules
I can think of few places as magical in the snow as Warwick Castle – one of my favourite days out, I’ve even stayed overnight there to try to fit in all the activities and attractions for families.
But when snow swept central England a week ago, the thought of attempting a journey up the M40 was rather less magical… and so we reluctantly postponed our planned visit to check out Christmas at Warwick Castle, the site’s festive events, until this weekend.
A few small patches remained, to my daughter’s delight as she crunched across them, to get us into the seasonal spirit. And while we’d traded snow for intermittent chilly drizzle, it gave a perfect opportunity to pull on the new rainwear which Joules had sent to us as an early Christmas gift along with entry tickets.
Santa would have approved of my bright red Coast waterproof jacket and the fur trim on my fabulously named Downton premium wellies, which kept my feet snugly warm. And Minnie very very definitely approved of her new Raindance waterproof rubber coat thanks to its colourful pony print and fleecy lining, including the world’s softest pockets. Apparently.
Seeing the man in red was, of course, top of our list – especially as we had Mrs Claus reading a poem first before storytime with Santa. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group of small children sit so still and quiet!
It’s just one of the special festive attractions, and while it is included in the entry price, there’s limited availability for the timed tickets. Arriving almost bang on 10am for opening, we went straight in to join the queue and picked up spaces for the 12.30pm slot – when we returned to go in later, all spaces had gone for the rest of the day. The early bird catches the Claus.
Another of Minnie’s favourites, the tale of brave Guy of Warwick trapped in a portrait in the Princess Tower, has also had a Christmas makeover. The basic story has stayed the same, but the clues and riddles to help break the curse have had a festive tweak – a bonus if, like me, you’ve heard the original several times!
And in the Great Hall, the armoured horses have been joined by a 20ft Christmas tree, while Henry VIII and his collection of wives have been temporarily shifted down a few rooms to make way for a much more seasonal sleigh. With the opulent decoration, from four-poster beds to regal portraits galore, the castle rooms are never less than impressive anyway.
For the rainiest moments of our visit, the Time Tower videos are still as fun to watch – a swift gallop through history from Warwick’s Anglo-Saxon origins via war, plot and neglect to distinctly more stylish Edwardian times. Having seen the wonderful birds of prey show in glorious summer, we decided against watching these amazing birds in the drizzle though.
But nothing was going to stop us from climbing up onto the battlements, to look down onto the castle and out over Warwick, and contemplate just what tackling those stone spiral staircases every day might do for your leg muscles.
Need to know
Storytime with Santa is running for the rest of this week until December 24, while Christmas at the Castle takes place until December 31. The castle itself is open every day except December 25.
Entry tickets cost from £13 online, which also entitles you to the Rainy Day Offer – if it rains for one hour or more during your visit, you get a free return visit within 60 days of the original ticket date. An annual pass costs from £28.80, while joint tickets with entrance to the Dungeon (not suitable for younger children) are also available.
Disclosure: Entry to the castle and our items from the rainwear collection were courtesy of Joules. All opinions remain my own, including those on the advisability of driving in the snow.
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