We spent the entire day at Warwick Castle and had a terrific time. The castle is beautiful and has been “converted” to a family oriented medieval theme park. While the conversion offered the opportunity to ruin the experience, we thought they owners (it is privately owned unlike the other castles we visited) did a fantastic job in keeping the integrity of the castle and creating activities that appeal to a broad range of ages.
The Castle Dungeon was our first stop and it provided a tongue and cheek look at dungeons in the middle ages. We had people give talks and demonstrations at various locations in the dungeon which sprinkled in humor with fact.
As mentioned, the castle is in wonderful shape and we were able to walk around much of castle in its walls.
While the forecast called for gray skies and rain, it turned out to be a lovely day which was good because we spent the entire day outside.
The venue was set up with a variety of demonstrations such as “The Warwick Warriors” shown below. Again, some tongue in cheek but they also discussed the myths versus reality of medieval combat. For example, shields were always made of wood, not metal. Sword fights typically were short, bloody affairs with ten seconds being a long sword fight, and fighting swords were exceptionally light, about 2.75 pounds.
There is a TV show in Great Britain called “Merlin” and the castle had a venue that catered to it. Fun but not as entertaining as the rest of the venues.
The castle had a wonderful bird of prey exhibition/demonstration that featured a large owl and two eagles including a bald eagle featured below.
More views of the castle and its interior. Warwick Castle is a big place.
They had a jousting tournament which was great and the riders demonstrated skill in the jousting and other competitive games on horse back. The tongue and cheek part was the English making fun of the French.
They had an excellent trebuchet demonstration which featured no tongue and cheek commentary. The audience was walked through the construction and operation of the trebuchet which was fascinating. The first photo below shows the trebuchet before if its ready to fire. Its arm is “cocked” by have two people walk in the wheels at the sides of the device.
The explanation of the wheel mechanism was interesting because it was common for the wheel walkers to experience a sort of motion sickness which caused significant problems if they became physically ill and became sick in the wheel. None of the wheel walkers today became sick and the trebuchet launched a flaming projectile.
The boys went to knight school where they were training for about ten minutes using a hand sword. They learned to slice and gouge with their swords and I had no idea that swords were such versatile weapons. There are a number of ways you can injure, maim, and kill your opponent other than just stabbing them.
David and Alex loved the knight training and as with all the demonstrations the tongue and cheek presentation was filled with facts about medieval warfare.
The last photo from Warwick Castle. Today was essentially our last day of the trip. We travel to Heathrow early Saturday afternoon and will stay in a hotel that night and depart on Sunday. After 37 days on the road I wanted a low key last day. Warwick Castle was a wonderful way to end our trip, much walking, terrific sites to see, a beautiful location, great weather, and overall simply a terrific visit. I’ll make one or two more posts before wrapping up our 2012 blog.