You’ll never guess where we spent last Sunday night ……. at Warwick Castle, and when I say ‘at’, I actually mean ‘in’. Yep, last Sunday night Mudville was empty because, much to the delight and surprise of the Mudlets, we were all spending the night in the Rose Tower Suite, at Warwick Castle and it was an amazing experience!
Warwick Castle has long been a favourite with Mud, having visited it both as a child with his family and then as a young man and adult. As a family we have seen a few of the castles in our surrounding area but always Mud has compared them to Warwick, finishing any castle trip with the words “We’ll have to take them to Warwick one day.” But the distance has always been the stumbling block, especially with the girls being so young and an overnight stay was not a viable option for various reasons. This year however, when a fellow Land Rover owner and online buddy of Muds’ said that he, his partner and her teenage daughter were coming over for a week to the UK from the States, Mud hatched a plan which would enable us to meet up with Chuck and visit Warwick ….. but this would mean an overnight stay to make the most of the occasion.
With a meet up date agreed Mud and I started to investigate accommodation options and were stunned to discover that Warwick Castle itself offered accommodation, albeit at a price: Glamping in medieval style tents, for around £300 for a one night stay/two day pass, with breakfast and evening entertainment included; or a stay in one of the Tower Suites from £500.
We opted to book the family Tower Suite (the Rose Suite) for a cost of £600 for a one night stay but this included:
- VIP parking for two days;
- Two day pass to the castle and its’ attractions (normally £71.40 on the gate or £53.55 booked on line, for family of 4, per day);
- A concierge service;
- Cooked or continental breakfast;
- A private tour of the castle which included areas not normally open to visitors;
- Free passes to the dungeon experience (usually £9 each);
- All day dining pass which enables you to eat as much as you want from the food stands/restaurants on the Castle site (normally £71.95 for a family of four, per day); and
- A bottle of champagne, access to the grounds and battlements before/after opening hours.
On the face of it £600 is a ‘sharp intake of breath’ amount but work out the cost of the included extras and, actually, for the opportunity to stay in a luxurious medieval room, steeped in history but with mod cons such as wet room, separate toilet, TV (which the girls were amazed to see popped out of the cabinet at the foot of the fourposter bed) and free wifi, it isn’t that much at all really.
We didn’t tell the girls that we were actually staying in the castle and so right up to the moment when the Concierge met us at the car on Sunday morning, they thought we were staying at a B&B in the town which was exciting enough for them anyway, especially for Little Mudlet, who, up until this point, had never spent a single night away from home in her entire 8 and a half years. Not even on the day she was born – born 4.08am, home by 3pm.
The first benefit of the package we had booked, was that free car parking in the VIP spots, in the car park right next to the stables entrance, was included from 10am on the morning of our arrival, even though we were not due to check in until 3pm , until 5pm on the day of departure, even though check out was 10am. The Concierge met us at the car, at 10am, gave us our all day dining passes, information on what was included, where things were, arranged our castle tour time and then took our bags to the office for safe keeping, until the suite was cleaned, at which point the bags were moved into the securely locked suite. As the Concierge picked up our bags, it began to dawn on the girls that things weren’t as we had told them and as he continued to explain things, bemused realisation began to show on their faces, as they grasped the fact that we were actually staying in the castle for the night, in a room which had, at one point, served as a prison (albeit a luxurious one) for King Edward IV, during the War of the Roses.
Being able to spring a surprise like this on your children, has to be one of the best feelings ever and as we watched them take in this information, we knew that in terms of value for money, this experience was going to be priceless!
Part 2: – “Warwick Castle: Castles, Cake and Teddy Bears”