TRAVEL REVIEW: Exclusive sleepover at one of the country's biggest historical castles
The chance to stay in one of the country's biggest castles with the promise of Knight School, Horrible Histories and huge looming turrets to explore was like music to my eight-year-old audience's ears.
“So we get to play all day, then have a knights’ sleepover as well?” Even with mum and dad in tow he knew he was in for something special. And I wasn’t unexcited myself.
At over 1,100 years old Warwick Castle offers its 21st century visitors free reign to explore magnificent stately rooms, dungeons and impressive grounds.
And its owners, Merlin Entertainments have brought history to life with a flaming fireball launch from the trebuchet (the largest in the world ), breath taking displays from enormous birds of prey, blood and guts from the Horrible Histories, spooks and ghouls undergrounds, jousting, archery, knights and endlessly more.
But the best part? Now, you don’t even have to go home. When the castle closes its gates the fun is only just beginning as another exciting adventure awaits – the promise of a sleepover in the shadows of kings.
The castle has been home - and imprisonment - to kings and earls, hosted royal banquets and parties and even has links to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. So the latest addition of year-round camping lodges at Knight’s Village really does mean a sleepover steeped in history.
No time to make it round the maze or see the joust? We can come back tomorrow morning after breakfast. The words are like magic to my little knight-in-training. And even mum and dad are tingling to wake up in such magnificent grounds after enjoying an evening by the river and some of the best views you could ever wish for.
An afternoon arrival showed us that a day at the castle just isn’t enough. But once evening arrived there really was a whole new adventure waiting.
Families can banquet in the great food hall where majestic thrones, flags and plates of armour take you right back hundreds of years. But what really grabbed our attention was the entertainment and chance for children to go wild.
The castle’s brilliant staff pulled everything out of the bag for the youngsters. Circus skills, archery, more knight and sword training – it was a summer Kids Club, but one where the grown-ups are elbowing to get involved as well. Though the less interested still get to enjoy a superb evening relaxing on the porch, watching the fun and basking in the last of the sunshine.
But of course, the centrepiece of Knight’s Village - the lodges. They’re great. With everything from mod-cons (plugs, and WiFi) to replica weaponry and armour, there’s something to keep all ages happy.
Unless you go for the premium, they’re on the cosy side. But with hundreds of years of history on your doorstep, there’s certainly no reason to want to cram inside and watch television.
And of course if it’s sunny and you have a taste for something a bit more medieval, you can get yourself booked up for Glamping and take on a huge cloth tent, complete with four-poster beds and a pair of thrones to watch over the evening entertainment as the sun sets.
It was as peaceful and entertaining a night as you could hope for, with happy children and happy mum and dad all looking forward to a return to the banquet for a hearty breakfast and another go at flag spotting.
The best bit about sleeping among the trees where inspiring history once unfolded? Waking up to stunning views in complete tranquillity. Looking out over the new camping village (which prides itself on not harming the historic grounds in any way and that not one tree was felled in its construction), you really can imagine yourself hundreds of years back in time.
And being able to head back through the gates to do it all again for a second day of exploring.
Warwick Castle’s Knight’s Village is as magical as you could expect from a stay in a truly historic location, and with activities continuing well into the night, acres of grounds to explore, and a historic town just metres outside, there’s no reason not to be excited.
Earning an excited thumbs up from mesmerised children, the stay really delivered as the perfect place to enjoy history on your doorstep this summer.
Warwick Castle’s Knight’s Village offers seasonal stays in Glamping tents or year-round accommodation in its wooden lodges. Prices start from £41.30 per person.
Visit www.warwick-castle.com/accommodation/stay-over-at-warwick-castle.aspx for more information.