We love all things spooky – Halloween is bigger than Christmas in this household and so we jumped at the chance to attend a press day at Warwick Castle at the launch of their Halloween extravaganza. With all sorts of spooky attractions there’s great fun for all the family to enjoy with the castle providing the perfect backdrop to events.
We arrived before lunch time on a crisp Autumn day and were given our map and information about new events attractions for the half term and so spent a little time checking this out, planning our day and deciding which way to walk – there’s a handy app to download with all of this information and we booked some of the free attractions using the app but the team are abandoning this process for a walk up process.
So first things first – the boys wanted to see the Falconers Quest. This is the birds of prey show which takes place on the lawns at the back of the castle in front of the boat house and I have to say as a bird fan, it’s truly magnificent to behold. The show is the most exciting bird show I have ever been lucky enough to see with a sound system playing out an immersive story about the quest of a young man who dreams of working at the castle and has to prove himself. The birds swoop overhead throughout to the delight of the audience and I can’t put into words how breathtaking this experience truly is.
As the show finished we ambled up the lawn and to the castle – taking a rather backwards route and we quickly started to notice some strange happenings. With a headless horseman standing proudly in the shadow of the keep Arlo was quickly immersed in to Halloween mode. The team of animators working in the grounds really made the day special – we found that wearing costumes helped us to stand out and that they all wanted to engage in conversations about how to find the horseman’s head and who could have possibly cut it off.
On the lawn at intervals throughout the day were troll hunting and spell casting sessions held by more characters which delighted the children who gathered around to wave swords and wands around frantically. Arlo’s four so was just the right age for this and nothing was too “spooky” for him. We sat at nearby picnic tables to enjoy our packed lunch but noticed families around us enjoying pizzas from a street food stall which smelt amazing. There are various outlets dotted around for food and hot drinks.
In the courtyard grounds of the castle was “dead centre stage” and all long day various performances kept the crowd entertained – from puppets to a ghoulish disco and more. There was plenty of bench seating available for us to sit down and enjoy the shows – most of the time the kids were jumping around at the front and enjoying the music accompanied by ghoulish knights and ladies. It was here Arlo met the court Jester who I have to say was the kindest soul we met all day and he really took the time to engage with all the children who were shrieking with delight.
We went and walked along the castle ramparts to take in the views – this isn’t for the faint hearted because the spiral staircases and dizzying heights combined with the spooky Halloween vibe do send shivers down your spine but we felt proud (and somewhat relieved) to have made it!
Upstairs down scares was set up in the main Castle. I’ve done lots of scary mazes at various attractions so had a little idea of what to expect but for Arlo this was a first. The team who set this event up must have had so much fun coming up with concepts for each room, and again a fabulous team of actors and animators entertained us with more spooky humour which was pitched just right for kids – apart from the final room and jump scare with ghosts which had me screaming and running for the doors. I’d avoid this one if you have kids who are easily scared. I won’t ruin the surprises with pictures, it will take about fifteen to twenty minutes to wander around through the rooms and enjoy the experience.
The witches tower was the attraction which was in highest demand. There was no filming allowed for this experience which was truly unique – essentially an immersive story time for little ones with “Nightshade” the witch telling us all about her plans to turn a prince in to a frog and then getting us involved in the trouble. Again the attention to detail with the staging of the entire tower experience, from decor running up the stair well to the props in the entrance was magnificent – there was something spooky to spot everywhere you looked and I admire the creativity.
The Warwick witches are just fabulous. Staying in character seamlessly and pausing for photos with every single person who asked whilst also managing the entrance to the attraction. There are so many awesome opportunities to take pictures at the Castle that I’ll be sharing Halloween content for days. I’m not sure they expected a mid thirties witch to join the queue of five year olds in fancy dress but I felt right at home next to the cauldron!
Thank you so much to the team at White Tiger PR for inviting us again to enjoy this experience – we had a great time and highly recommend the Castle at Halloween for families looking to book a spooky adventure and also enjoy a full day out. We managed to clock up 14,000 steps through the day and didn’t leave until 5pm. There’s also a whole host of castle after dark experiences to book and of course the grounds and usual exhibits to explore and enjoy too.
Warwick Castle, Warwick, Warwickshire, CV34 6AH
The Haunted Castle runs from 23 -31 October 2021, from 10am to 5pm daily and features over 20 spellbinding shows and attractions.
www.warwick-castle.com, 01926 406610
Day tickets from £26 per person (3+).
Children under three receive free entry.
Visitors can download the Warwick Castle app to see showtimes and a detailed map to make visits even easier