Visiting Warwick CastlePosted: 2011-05-29
I had the opportunity to visit Warwick Castle over this bank holiday weekend. A good friend was visiting from Canada and was keen to see a bit of English history. with some trepidation I suggested Warwick. Trepidation? Why? Well, I suppose I considered Warwick something of an acquired taste.
Oh, it is impressive, no question, and it is hard to imagine a more complete, more 'perfect' medieval castle, or one with such an utterly fascinating history. So why my hesitation? Well, let's just say that I've not been a big fan of how Warwick has transformed into something of a 'capital A' Attraction, a bit of a medieval theme park. But, hey, I'm a good host, so off we went to Warwick Castle.
And you know what? I was wrong. My friend not only had a great time - she went so far as to say that it was an afternoon she'd remember for the rest of her life - I had a great time, too. Warwick has a constantly changing programme of themed events, and for our visit, there were jousts and medieval swordfights, falconry exhibits, and hordes of costumed performers showing off everything from medieval cooking to weaponry.
And these weren't just students picking up spare cash by putting on some old-fashioned clothes and wandering about - these folks knew their business. I have an honours degree in English history, and I learned more in 5 minutes listening to a costumed chap showing different medieval weapons than I did reading all the dry textbooks on my bookshelf.
It was highly entertaining and informative. And what is more, the crowds loved it. I saw families having a good time, kids learning history in a fun way, and people simply enjoying themselves in a historic setting. My daughter had her photo taken with a costumed Countess of Warwick performer, and the performers were without exception courteous, interesting, and helpful, not to mention educational! So, I take my hat off to Warwick Castle; though it was as crowded as you might expect on a sunny bank holiday weekend, I had a great time, and would not hesitate to visit again.