Monday, September 14, 2015

An American Family in Europe: Day 12, Warwick Castle

(Previously: Day 11, Blists Hill and Ironbridge)

After leaving our Telford apartment, we thought we could pick up some sandwiches for our visit that day to Warwick Castle. But this was a Sunday and we found none of the grocery stores opened until 10 a.m. That was too bad, but we did have some food with us that could make for a partial picnic.

A nicely timed Tripadvisor post I'd found the night before helped us as we arrived at Warwick. It directed us to the "Racetrack" parking lot -- only 1 pound to park all day -- from where we walked 20 minutes to the castle.  Parking in the official lots is 6 to 10 pounds.

Warwick Castle is a real castle that has been turned into a real theme park. If you're a serious student of history, you may be dismayed at the carnival atmosphere here. It can also be expensive, though you can find discounts. We got half off with our English Heritage Pass.

Still, Warwick Castle looks cool and has a lot of fun features: They had jousting the day we went, plus a show of large birds (including an enormous Andean condor), and a funny "Horrible Histories" stage show. The archery show, however, was dull.

A tour of the state apartment features a lot armor and paintings, and offers some of the history in the castle. You can climb the stairs to the castle towers for a good view of the area.

Warwick Castle is an outstanding place for a picnic, so by all means bring in your food (there's no restrictions on it). You can buy food there, but you may end up standing in line and you will pay dearly for it.

Still, it may not have been the best idea to visit Warwick Castle on a pleasantly warm, summer Sunday. It was crowded, and that kind of wore down on all our patience. And as much as I wanted to see the jousting, they had it set up in such a way -- with a stream between the crowd and the action -- that you couldn't get very close.

All in all, I enjoyed Dover and Windsor castles more.

We drove on to Oxford for the night.

Next: Day 13, Oxford and Harry Potter Studio Tour

The full trip, by day: 

Days 1 and 2, Los Angeles to Paris

Day 3, Paris

Day 4, the Palace of Versailles

Day 5, the Eiffel Tower

Day 6, Goodbye France, hello England

Day 7, Windsor Castle & Stonehenge

Day 8, Bath

Day 9, Doctor Who and Swansea's LC

Day 10, the waterfalls of Wales

Day 11, Blists Hill and Ironbridge

Day 12, Warwick Castle

Day 13, Oxford and Harry Potter Studio Tour

Day 14, this is London

Day 15, British Museum and British Library

Day 16, the Tube goes on strike

Day 17, Greenwich, the Thames and Westminster Abbey

Day 18, the Tower of London

Day 19, heading home  


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