Wondering what to do with the kids this October Half Term? Get your little witches and warlocks to Warwick Castle, which has had a macabre makeover. The spectacular castle, built by William the Conqueror, has been transformed into The Haunted Castle.
The castle remains open until 9pm over the Halloween period but we were lucky enough to stay overnight in one of the comfy Knights Lodges which are situated in the grounds of the castle and woods. This also meant we were able to experience all the spooky goings on in the dark.
I was with children aged five, eight and ten so we skipped the scary Séance show, which was a big hit at the Edinburgh Festival. It sounded like a thoroughly terrifying experience and definitely one best left for teenagers and adults.
First up was the Castle Dungeons. We all bowled in and were reassured we could leave at any time if it was too spooky. We all absolutely loved it. It was scary, but also belly laugh funny.
We were lead through a series of rooms in the castle, meeting a host of scary characters including the castle cook, who told us about her ‘interesting’ ingredients, a plague ridden torturer who was very proud of his instruments of pain and punishment and (the scariest of them all) the witch who seemed to disappear and reappear at random while telling eye-watering tales.
The Castle Dungeons were fantastic and we all gave it a ten out of ten. Even Milo who’s only five loved it. After all the dungeon fun and games it was time to explore the Witches’ Tower, perfect for little ones.
The kids’ mission was to help the friendly witches find the missing ingredients to their magic potion. After some rooting around we found rats, old shoes and a pea, which meant the potion could be made.
We were then whisked downstairs for another spooky encounter. This time it was Outbreak 1349 and we travelled back in time to the period of the black death. By now we were feeling a little bit cocky – another terrifying experience? How scary can it be? Oh boy, were we surprised.
Actors leapt out, causing us to jump out of our skins. The kids were screaming and wailing – they just wanted to get out of there. This one would have been best left to teenagers and adults!
Outside, we took a few gulps of fresh air and were met by the Twilight Knights, who showed off their rather energetic jousting skills. We were then led to our lodges by a huge headless horseman.
The kids were exhausted and collapsed into a restful sleep. The next day we explored the castle, with its whirl of turrets.
We dressed up, tried archery and took on the exciting Horrible Histories maze, which involves racing round historical ages to find the stamps for the kids’ stamp books, and a lesson in history to boot. All in all, it was a great but thoroughly exhausting weekend.
When: The Haunted Castle is open from 21st to 31st October 2017, with Fire Jousting available until 29 October.
Price: Book in advance online for the best prices: daytime entrance from £18.40pp; evenings from £12pp. Outbreak 1349, the Witches Tower and other attractions are included in your ticket price. Additional charges apply for the Castle Dungeon (£5pp; recommended 10 years and older; can be pre-booked online) and Séance (£3.50pp; recommended 14 years and older; book in person on the day).
Overnight stays in the Knight’s Village during Halloween star from £85 per person (based on a family of four), including two days entrance to the Castle, one night’s accommodation in a Woodland Lodge, car parkinh and breakfast.
Short breaks in the Knight’s Village include two days entrance to the Castle, one night’s accommodation in a Woodland Lodge, car parking and breakfast. Kids Go Free offer is available on selected dates in Autumn 2017. Prices from £35 per person per night. The All-You-Can-Eat Medieval Dinner is available for £18.95 per adult or £9.95 per child.