They don’t call it a picnic, they call it a ‘family fun day’ and they don’t have it at the local park, they have it AT WARWICK CASTLE! How cool is that?

The castle was founded in 1068 by William the Conqueror:

Legend has it that the first fortification of significance on the grounds of Warwick Castle was erected by Ethelfleda, the daughter of Alfred the Great, in the year 914. This almost certainly replaced older wooden fortifications which had proven ineffective against marauding Danes who sacked the town during the reign of her father. This fortification was part of a network built to protect the Kingdom of Wessex.

The remains of this ancient fortification can still be seen on Ethelfleda’s Mound, a mound of earth at the southern end of the castle’s courtyard. As intriguing as this legend is, the majority of the remains date from the period of Norman rule.

After the Norman Conquest of England in the 11th century, William the Conqueror appointed Henry de Newburgh as Earl of Warwick. During this time of change, a Norman motte-and-bailey fort was erected.

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The castle is amazing because it is owned by an event company who has converted the site into a tourist attraction. You can climb the walls and towers, visit the dungeon, go through the Ghosts Alive Exhibit (which scared the pants off me), explore the apartments and interior of the castle .. it is amazing. Then, you walk out to the company common area and enjoy food, drink, a hands on circus area, falconry demonstrations, train as a knight and try out armor and weapons of the era. Now .. that is a company picnic!

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A picture from the top of the mound.

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From the top of the highest tower – Guy’s Tower c. 1395:

Towers were the mainstay of a castle’s defensive system. Because they projected above and out from the wall, they gave archers a clear view downwards and sideways.

Guy’s Tower was built in the 14th century. It is twelve-sided, stands 39 metres high and has five storeys.

The first four storeys consist of a central stone-vaulted chamber with two small side rooms – one a gardrobe (toilet), the other probably a bedchamber.

The fifth storey is a hexagonal guardroom. During the Civil War the windows here were enlarged so that they could take small hand-held cannons.

To get to Guy’s tower you go on a 530 step journey that involves a crazy climb up the steepest steps I have ever climbed (Think of circular steps that wind around a very tight circumference for 39 metres .. tighter than this because the step goes from wide on the outside to tiny on the center).  They have this big warning sign (which I should have photographed about health – i.e. if not healthy, don’t do this. I am sure they lug 1 or 2 people down a month) …

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The jousting .. and I thought Medieval Times was cool ….

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Inside, lot of armor and bad pictures because I was using my uber compact and handy Xacti (which I love)

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Another from Guy’s tower. Imagine climbing up there in armor! As we were standing on the battlements I also commented to the family – imagine being up here, fighting a battle, with no railing behind you, blood and chaos around. We then looked over edge (i.e. if you were to fall backward into the center of the castle). It was 30 feet up .. a long, long, back breaking way.

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From the conservatory, a playful peacock.

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Breath taking stained glass is everywhere in the UK.

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I have the bridge covered.

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If you can read this, it is commenting on a display of Churchill who spent time in his youth at the castle.

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Explore the history here, and a ton of great photos of the castle here.