We had spent a few weeks now with the family and, as things were on an even keel for a bit, we had a break and booked ourselves onto the racecourse campsite at Warwick. The campsite is perfectly situated for walking into Warwick and for catching buses to Stratford-on-Avon and Coventry.
We were well entertained exploring the lovely old town of Warwick with it’s attractive old buildings and history seeping from its pores.
The castle is a real highlight and we remarked upon it’s invisibility. In the Spanish towns, the castles were always on a hilltop and easily visible for miles around. Oddly, it seemed, we could not see Warwick Castle until we were almost upon it. I imagine it would have been more visible from the countryside beyond.
Warwick Castle has a chequered history which moves from its construction as a Wooden Motte and Bailey castle by William the Conqueror to a massive stone fortress. It is situated on a strategically planned location at the bend of the River Avon.
After the Norman conquest of England, William the Conqueror established a motte-and-bailey castle at Warwick in 1068 to maintain control of the Midlands as he advanced northwards.
In 1153, the wife of Roger de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Warwick, mistakenly handed the castle over to the invading army of Henry of Anjou (later Henry II) after she was tricked into believing her husband was dead. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Roger de Beaumont actually did collapse and die when he heard what she had done.
The original wooden motte-and-bailey castle was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century, during the reign of King Henry II (1154–89). In more recent history it was used as a stately home.
We were a bit shocked at the entry fee, which we had booked online the day before. However, after spending an extremely enjoyable day there, we felt that it had been worth the price. After all, there is a considerable amount of maintenance to be done on such an old and historic building.
There are a number of free tours throughout the day which adds to the pleasure and helps with understanding the history of the place. There were also two bird of prey demonstrations on the day we were there. I believe that during the main tourist months there may be more.
They also have special event days such as the jousting tournament. We were really impressed when we entered the Great Hall. It is full of displays of armour and weaponry.
Although we had focussed on the castle, we also enjoyed wandering around the town with its small independent shops and historic buildings. Altogether an interesting place to visit and there was plenty that we left for another time.
Lord Leycester Hospital – Mediaeval buildings which were never a hospital! We did not go inside as we needed to pay another fee. We would like to go on another occasion.
Collegiate Church of St Mary – The Collegiate Church of St Mary is a Church of England parish church in the town of Warwick, England. It is in the centre of the town just east of the market place.
Whilst in Warwick we enjoyed lunch in a small cafe full of locals and shopped in an independent bookshop where the staff were helpful and welcoming. Numerous parks and a riverside walk would be on the agenda for a longer visit. Unfortunately, we ran out of time as we were due back on Grandparent duty in Bedfordshire for the weekend. We will almost certainly return one day.