Once upon a time, in a Kingdom
far, far not that far away, there was a LEGO range of bricks called ‘Kingdoms’.
It was discontinued in 2012 – now LEGO is replacing Kingdoms with a new Castle theme that will feature knights battling historical and fantasy creatures.
At the heart of the new collection is the King’s Castle, which features dragon soldiers, dungeons, a knights’ table and 7 mini-figures.
Flea and I got a chance to play with this set – along with other models from the new Castle collection – in a real-life castle this weekend. LEGO invited us to Warwick Castle for the day to celebrate all things Castle-related, and to try out the brand new LEGO Castle event, which is taking place at Warwick Castle from August 12 (today!) until the August 25th. For the next two weeks, visitors to Warwick Castle will be able to try out their LEGO building skills, and try out a new LEGO treasure hunt, solving clues that take you around the castle and grounds in search of dragon’s eggs.
If you’re not able to make it to the castle before the LEGO event ends, there’s still loads to do on a day out at Warwick Castle. Here are our top picks:
Horrible Histories at Warwick Castle: Flea has been a huge fan of Horrible Histories since we saw the live stage show last summer, and at Warwick Castle the Horrible Histories exhibits add lots of fun to the day for children. There’s the chance to whack a rat, throw a rat through a basketball hoop, perform an operation on a Tudor patient, interview an executioner and plenty more. Lots of fun.
Jousting: Twice a day, during the summer you can watch a daily jousting show, seeing two teams of knights pitch battle on the castle lawns. This was one of Flea’s highlights of the day, as it’s something even little children can see when there are busy crowds between you and the action!
Flight of the Eagles: This show takes place twice a day at 12.30pm and 3pm and features owls, eagles and vultures working with trainers on spectacular flying displays. What I would suggest is getting there early with young children as Flea really struggled to see much of anything – we’d arrived just as the show started. Another tip – if you want to go on the castle ramparts, go before this show, as the ramparts close during the show, and the queues to get to them immediately afterwards get very long.
Pageant Playground: On these sorts of days out, a good playground can be worth its weight in gold, and Flea is already asking to go back the adventure playground at Warwick Castle. There are picnic tables and a small refreshments stall, with shorter queues than elsewhere in the attraction, so this is a good spot to nip in and get drinks if you don’t want to stand in line for too long!
The Trebuchet: Imagine a giant wooden catapult that fires fireballs. Yep. Enough said.
One thing that surprised me a little about the Castle is that having booked a ticket, you’re not automatically able to see everything in the castle when you might like to. We were given free admission courtesy of LEGO but if you’re buying tickets, admission for a family of 4 costs around £69, and if you want to see the 15-minute interactive Merlin show, and visit the Dungeons, that cost goes up to £107. Kids under 3 go free, but kids aged 12 and over are classed as adults.
With some areas of the attraction, you also need to book (free) timed tickets when you arrive, and these can run out – not a big issue for us as Flea wasn’t bothered about seeing the Princess Tower, but for some families, it would be worth bearing in mind…
We had a brilliant day at Warwick and it’s definitely on our list of places to visit again. Along with the castle there are 64 acres of grounds to explore including landscaped gardens, fountains, lakes, the River Avon (of course) and huge expanses of green lawn that are perfect for that timeless child pastime of “running around in circles for no reason”. Our lunch on this occasion was provided by LEGO at the Coach House restaurant but next time, we’d definitely take a picnic and make use of the gorgeous open spaces.