Review: Our Tiny Knights Midweek Break At Warwick Castle

As a family always keen to find new places to visit and explore, I was chuffed to be asked to be a blogging ambassador for Warwick Castle during 2017. I’ve only ever been there once before – back in 2006 ish when the missus and I were fresh faced, less grey and enjoyed copious amounts of sleep.

To be honest, I couldn’t really remember much about Warwick Castle. I could picture a bit of a turret and some grass, but I’m pretty sure it had more to offer than that! As such, I was looking forward to taking us back at some point in the near future. That time came sooner than I expected as we were invited along for a Tiny Knights midweek break during mid-March.

With it being a Wednesday and Thursday, unfortunately the missus couldn’t make it due to work. This meant that it was just Toddler L and I on our medieval adventure. Below, you’ll find my review of the Tiny Knights midweek break at Warwick Castle:

Description

Learn, play and get creative with a Tiny Knights midweek break at Warwick Castle. Perfect for tots and toddlers from just £169 for 2 adults and a little knight or princess under 3.

There’s plenty to entertain the most active of little knights or princesses at Warwick Castle, from the Horrible Histories Adventure maze and Pageant Playground to an amazing birds of prey show.

After a day of history, magic and myth at Warwick Castle, carry on the adventure to Knight’s Village, a short walk from the Castle, and continue your journey into medieval history. Here you’ll find your very own theme medieval lodge complete with cable TV and free wifi.

And the adventure doesn’t end there! In the morning, enjoy a breakfast fit for kings and queens in the Medieval Banqueting Hall, then your little ones can enjoy our Tiny Knight’s Club. Hosted by the Castle jester your tiny knights and princesses can enjoy a host of activities, including storytelling, arts and crafts and building. Following this, you can head back in time, with free second day Castle tickets.

Tiny Knights midweek breaks take place on selected dates in March and May. 

Experience

Warwick Castle is about 1.5 hours away from us, so I set off late morning in the hope that Toddler L would nap in the car. My genius plan worked and she woke up just as we arrived at around 12.30pm. I parked in Bay 8 as it was signposted for The Knight’s Village, then made the few minutes walk to reception.

We couldn’t get into the lodge until 4pm, but was given our Warwick Castle tickets and a few other bits of paper, including a personalised letter for Toddler L inviting her to the Tiny Knights activities at 10.30am the next day. With that, we headed over to the castle to have a look around before it closed at 4pm.

Exploring Warwick Castle

Having not been to Warwick Castle in a long time, our first stop was a map to check out what was on offer. As expected, there were a number of things which jumped out, namely the Horrible Histories Adventure maze, a Birds Of Prey Show, the Pageant Playground and various gardens.

We decided to have a wander around first to get our bearings. This included walking passed the commanding Guy’s Tower and into the Central Courtyard, which provides a great view of the buildings, towers and turrets which make up some of the Castle’s 1,100 years of history.

From here, we went into the Great Hall / State Rooms. This was a series of large rooms – bedrooms, drawing rooms and dining rooms – with lavish interior to match the grand scale. As well as interior decorations like fireplaces, portraits and tapestries, we saw plenty of artefacts such as suits of armour and weapons. I’m not really sure Toddler L got the history due to her age, but she enjoyed running around and looking at the stuff inside.

Just before 2.30pm, we headed over to the Birds of Prey Lawn for the show. This lasted for around half an hour as we saw a number of different birds – including an owl, eagle and vultures – fly back and forth from the castle wall. The show was interesting, the birds were impressive and Toddler L loved watching them fly towards her. If you walk down towards the river, you can also see various birds in their ‘houses’ when they’re not doing the shows.

From here, we had a wander over to the nearby Conservatory and Peacock Garden to see how many of the large, colourful birds we could spot. Toddler L managed to count six, although this was ‘toddler counting’ and we actually saw four.

Next, we headed over to the Horrible Histories Maze which was new to Warwick Castle in 2016. This is a walk-through experience where you face challenges and obstacles as you visit different periods in time such as the Vikings, Tudors and Normans.

You can pick up a time passport at the start, then as you discover the different time periods within the maze, you’re able to stamp your passport to show you’ve completed it. With things like props and special effects, it makes a pretty cool interactive thing to do at Warwick Castle. As to be expected, Toddler L was a bit young to understand the time periods and information, but she enjoyed looking around and stamping her passport.

As it was off-peak, there was a fair bit of building work going on which restricted what we could do. For instance, the Pageant Playground was closed, as was the bridge over the River Avon which leads to the island where the trebuchet is located. This was slightly disappointing, but we’ll get to see these bits when we return in the future, along with other bits like Time Tower and maybe the Castle Dungeon depending on how brave we feel (not suitable for toddlers!).

Accommodation In A Woodland Lodge At Knight’s Village

As mentioned, the Knight’s Village reception is a short walk from the car park and you get free parking when staying over. Parking in Bays 8 and 9 mean that you’re the closest you can be to Knight’s Village. Having already checked in earlier, I was given my key when I returned to reception, then told the directions to our lodge by the friendly staff.

Our Woodland Lodge was number 122, which was one of the furthest away from reception. However, this is still only a couple of minutes walk stroll a timber walkway which runs through the Knight’s Village. All of the lodges – both Woodland and the slightly bigger Knight – looked great from the outside with their wooden finish and individual flags.

Outside the lodge on the porch was a bench for taking in the picturesque view – ours looked directly over the nearby river and provided a real sense of being in the middle of nowhere.

Review Warwick Castle Tiny Knights Midweek break Knight's Village woodland lodge looking outside from inside

The Woodland Lodge is suitable for five people (and a cot) and is fully set-up and ready to go. Inside, there was a definite medieval feel to the room with themed decorations such as shields, swords and arrows, alongside a pretty grand looking double bed.

The kids bedroom featured bunk beds, along with a truckle bed which can be pulled out from under the bunk bed. Toddler L wanted to sleep on the top bunk, but I instead put her on the pull out bed to eliminate any chance of falling – however, having said that, she did wake in the night as she’d somehow wiggled half under the bunk bed! On the wall was a fantastically detailed picture depicting a medieval scene which gave the bedroom some great character.

The bathroom was nicely done and had everything needed, including toiletries and towels. There’s not really much more I can say without going into too much detail, e.g. the softness of the bog roll.

Other things to note include tea and coffee making facilities, hairdryer, cable TV, free WIFI and heating controlled by a thermostat. I was expecting things to be a little more basic, but it was just like staying in a hotel room – albeit one with weapons on the wall. Oh, and the beds are really comfy – so comfy that Toddler L chose to come and join me a little after 6. Bloody kids.

The lodges are situated within a really nice, wooded area. After settling into the room, we had a bit of a wander to check out what was around. Within the Knight’s Village, there’s a number of ‘old’ things, be it barrels stacked up, shields or old carts which give a sense of ‘medievalness’.

You’ve then got a nice little walk down to the river where you can see ducks, swans and geese, as well as a glimpse of Warwick Castle on the top of the hill in the distance. It was nice weather when we were there, so we were able to be outside for a bit. However, come summer, I imagine it’d be awesome being there – I can just picture being sat on your porch with a beer as you watch your kids run around playing.

Dining In The Grand Banqueting Hall

After a tiring first day, I’d considered just popping into nearby Warwick to grab a takeaway or something easy from the supermarket. However, having looked at the menu, I knew that the all-you-can-eat medieval dinner feast would provide a more realistic experience of being a knight. Dining is on-site in the Grand Banqueting Hall, which is in the same building as reception. As had come to be expected, it was medieval-themed with huge lights, shields and even thrones.

We were shown to a table and given a menu. The feast was pretty simple – costing £18.95 for adults and £9.95 for kids, you could have as many starters as you wanted, followed by a huge Sunday dinner and dessert. I thought it’d be rude not to try all the starters, so we had things like ham hock terrine, garlic mushrooms and pulled pork croquettes. All of it was nice. As we ate, a knight came over to our table and conversed with Toddler L. He was in full outfit and talked about training her up to become a fellow knight after we’d finished our food.

After turning down the offer of more starters, our main meal came. I’d decided that we’d share this between the two of us rather than get her own food and I’m pleased I did – the thing was bloody massive! In the skillet pan, we had chicken, pork and rib, along with onion rings, Yorkshire puds, stuffing balls, roasted and steamed veg, roast potatoes and gravy.

The food was nice – particularly the rib – but Toddler L decided not to eat much which left me with a gargantuan task. Despite eating loads of food, it looked like I’d not even touched the dish! Unsurprisingly, we didn’t have a dessert.

Just as we were about to go, the knight returned with some little swords. I wasn’t expecting him to keep his promise, but I guess he is a knight after all. The kids went to the front, chose a sword and then were trained in how to sword fight. Toddler L was the youngest of the four kids, but she more than held her own as she followed the knight’s instructions. It was brilliant to see and was a great – and unexpected – way to finish our day.

Breakfast the next day was also held in the Grand Banqueting Hall between 7.30am and 9.30am, if I remember rightly. Here, you have the option of continental, cooked or vegetarian breakfasts, however it was a buffet so you could just help yourself. There was ample choice, it was all nice and it’s included as part of your stay which makes it even better.

Tiny Knights Experience

The Tiny Knights aspect of the midweek break didn’t kick in until the following morning. Recommended for children 4 and under, this is a session of around two hours in length which has various activities. We went to the Banqueting Hall for 10.30am, where we were greeted by Princess Helena who wore a full-on medieval costume. She introduced herself to the kids, taught them how to bow / curtsy, then told them a bit more about what they’d do – namely a treasure hunt, painting and listening to a story.

The first activity was the treasure hunt which took place around the Knight’s Village. A number of boxes had been hidden and the kids – with the princess’ help – solved clues to find them.

The last thing to be discovered was back at the start – a wooden Warwick Castle shield. Each kid was given their own, then we went back inside to decorate them as part of the second activity. There was a number of different paint brushes and colours to let the little knights and princesses decorate them how they wished. Unsurprisingly, Toddler L went for the ‘messy’ look.

Once the shields were painted, the kids gathered at the front for the princess to read them a story. I was only part listening to the story, but it focused on a knight and a dragon. It was quite an inclusive story with various bits like roaring like a dragon or buzzing like a bee, which Toddler L was quite captivated by.

The whole Tiny Knights experience lasted about 1.5 hours – I imagine it would have been slightly longer with more kids involved. It was a fun morning and the three different activities, along with the princess host, all helped add to the medieval theme. Unfortunately Toddler L was a bit ill, so although she still got involved with it all, she was a little subdued and needed me more than usual. She still enjoyed it though, but If she was 100%, she’d have got even more out of it. After this, we headed back to Warwick Castle for the second day.

Cost

Warwick Castle advertise a Tiny Knights midweek break for two adults and a child (under three) from £169. The word “from” is the important thing as you could obviously spend more than the advertised rate. For this, you get two days entry to Warwick Castle, parking, breakfast, your own lodge and the Tiny Knights activity.

If you can get it at – or close to – the advertised rate, I personally think it’s a great deal. For two adults and an under three, you’re looking at £80 for two days access to Warwick Castle. A themed-lodge like this could set you back a minimum £100 for a night, then you’ve got the medieval entertainment for the kids, which is arguably priceless if it means you get a few hours off to have a hot drink and a sit down!

Summary

With lots to see and do at the castle, plus the added benefit of the Tiny Knights activities and chance to stay in a medieval-themed lodge, I think a stay at Warwick Castle is great. Despite us both being under the weather, Toddler L and I had a really good time finding our inner knights and princesses.

We found a lot of things to do at Warwick Castle itself, including the Horrible Histories Maze and Birds Of Prey show which were the highlights. I was also really impressed with the Knight’s Village and our Woodland Lodge. It had everything we needed and the area was nice – I wouldn’t hesitate to stay again. The Tiny Knights activities – treasure hunt, shield painting and story – were well thought out, entertaining and fun, so this was an added bonus to our stay.

The DADventurer Star Rating

4.5 out of 5 stars

 

N.B. This review was written by me (Dave) and represents my honest opinion. The Tiny Knights midweek break was provided to us as part of our role as Warwick Castle ambassadors with the purpose of writing an honest product review in exchange for sharing our experiences.

  • Nige

    Fab review Dave and this looks amazing fun and very reasonable. The girls would love it. Looks like you all had a great time especially toddler L

  • But how soft was the loo roll?? Ha, this looks brilliant Dave and congrats on the ambassadorship!

    Stevie 🙂