A couple of years ago I didn’t have a blog so couldn’t write about our family trip, Glamping at Warwick Castle and visiting the Harry Potter Studios. So, I thought I’d share our experience now. Better late than never!
Warwick Castle & Glamping
The first stop was Warwick Castle, for a day exploring the castle and its grounds, and a night of glamping. When we entered we didn’t realise that Horrible Histories would be there, so that was a nice surprise. The actors were brilliant and it’s a great way of learning about history whilst keeping the children interested.
At the entrance was Queen Elizabeth, with a tea party/fancy dress area which showcased makeup of that era. She was very loud and I felt a little nervous to approach the area in case she shouted at me!
Moving on, there was a lovely cafe and surrounding gardens to enjoy. We then went over to see the birds of prey, which was actually interesting. My partner is a big fan of birds, so this stop was more for him than anyone else. As well as telling you about the birds you get to see them flying in from different areas, and some of them are a lot bigger than expected.
Heading towards the school you get to experience a Victorian classroom and as Horrible Histories were there, there was obviously a teacher present. As well as teaching you about the era the actor also gets you involved, just don’t answer a question wrong otherwise you’ll have to wear the dunce hat whilst everyone sings and points at you.
Once out of the school area we were greeted by the Stewards, Tudors, Vikings and probably some more but I don’t remember them. Honestly, the stewards seemed the grubbiest and I’m very happy I wasn’t alive then.
The Vikings were interesting with a long outline of a ship they were teaching the audience how to row whilst telling everyone about their hygiene and adventures.
My favourite was a Robin Hood type fellow who taught everyone about the unrealistic movie characters who die instantly when hit with an arrow. He was extremely funny and made some adult jokes whilst not being too rude in front of the children. He also explained why we use our middle finger as a swear word.
After exploring the grounds we then entered the castle itself, we walked around the turrets and along the walls. The castle itself is large and in good condition. There was so much going on including princess’s story times for the young girls, the Dungeons, some sort of dragon tower and much more. One thing is for sure it’s definitely worth a visit and there’s something for everyone, especially when Horrible Histories is there.
Once we’d finished walking around we headed to the glamping site. Now, I’m not one for camping so this was a troubling time for me and I can say that glamping is not for me either – I just don’t like using communal toilets.
The glamping tents were brilliant and again it ended up being a great experience and one I’m happy we had. During the evening we had, what they called a medieval banquet – which was just a buffet. I was disappointed by this as I was expecting a king and queen, jester and much more and the food wasn’t great either.
Outside there were many activities taking place, mainly learning to be a jester, which was fun. If you wanted something a little more peaceful one of the tents located just off the main area would be better as you can enjoy the view of the castle and stream whilst relaxing.
Sleeping was a bit difficult due to the noise from other tents, but that’s only an issue if you have noisy neighbours. The young children next door to us woke up un the night for the toilet and entered our tent instead of their own -this was funny and they laughed for ages -we could hear everything.
Harry Potter Studio Tour
Once we left the castle it was a one and a half hour drive to Leavesden where we were staying in a Premier Inn – with our own toilet and shower! The studio was only 15 minutes from the hotel and was very easy to get to.
We had pre-booked our tickets, so I didn’t think we’d have to wait – but we did and for quite some time. Eventually, after passing some of the props, we got to a room where we were shown a video. Then we entered another room which was like a cinema, where we sat down and watched the cast discuss their time at the studios. Once the video had finished the theme tune came on, the screen rolled up and the Great Hall doors were there.
Once the doors were opened we all walked in to take a look around. The hall was smaller than I was expecting but it was still good to see. The people who worked there told us how the effects were added to the room on camera.
Leaving the hall we saw many of the props and green screens. I found this very interesting but my son – not so much. He was more interested in the house, bridge, costumes and the shop at the end.
Throughout the experience, you can take part in some activities including, green screens of you on a broom, the family in a car, wand lessons and much more. All of us enjoyed this experience.
My favourite area was Diagon Alley, which was smaller than I expected but never the less interesting to see. Again, we were told how the sky was added as an effect and the street was made to look longer.
Outside we saw the Dudley’s house on Privet Drive, the double decker bus and much more.
At the end, the shop was great we bought a chocolate frog (that didn’t hop), a wand, and some tops. I wanted to buy a robe but it’s quite expensive and I didn’t even buy my own graduation cap and gown so I wasn’t buying a movie replica.
There’s a lot to see here but it’s mostly props and design work so I don’t really want to go into too much detail. This year I would have liked to have gone back, for the dark forest, train and maybe even Halloween but maybe another time as I have a wedding to pay for.
This Christmas I’m heading to a Harry Potter themed Christmas party at Ruthin Castle, and then one day Florida Universal Studios!