Christmas at Warwick Castle review: We saw a light trail, Father Christmas, ice skating and princess show

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A trip to Warwick Castle is the perfect way to get into the spirit of Christmas

A light trail, ice skating, Father Christmas and a castle - how better to get into the festive mood?

We - a six-year-old, a four-year-old and me - took a trip to Warwick Castle to experience Christmas at the Castle. Heading up from the south on a Friday night, a theoretical two-hour journey after school actually took three due to roadworks and (thankfully apparently minor) crashes, and the children had a strategic nap in the car. When they woke up on arrival, slightly groggy, they were soon plunged into a sensory treat. Walking up the path to the castle we could hear the music and see the flickering lights behind the fence, hedge and trees, but this preview of sorts did not prepare us for the experience.

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Bypassing ice skating due to my clumsiness and their smallness, the light trail was the first thing we headed for. It was a non-stop spectacle of tunnels of bulbs, Christmas-tree-esque cones, and displays that raced along the ground in sequence. As the walk took us past the Conservatory, through ornamental gardens and through some woodland, there were illuminated trees, model reindeer and plenty more to look out. The four-year-old’s favourite part was when the trail led across the river, along a path bounded by what looked like multi-coloured strands of string pulled tight, and gave us a view of the tall castle walls on which shapes were projected, with what she called ‘pattern music’ playing. It was truly breathtaking. 

Ice skating at Warwick Castle Ice skating at Warwick Castle
Ice skating at Warwick Castle | Warwick Castle

After that, on the cold evening we headed inside to see Father Christmas. A group of children waited patiently before being led along one of the state room corridors (truly one of the most grand ways to meet Santa) and into a side room to see some elves and a short message from Mother Christmas, and hunt for some missing bells, before being led to a different room to meet the man himself. About 20 youngsters watched and listened spellbound as a story was told, and then to their delight they were given a cuddly dragon each.

Eddie and Rosanna meet Father Christmas at Warwick CastleEddie and Rosanna meet Father Christmas at Warwick Castle
Eddie and Rosanna meet Father Christmas at Warwick Castle | Tom Morton

A quick stop at a food stall - a hot dog for me (as despite packing a tea for the kids to have in the car I’d forgotten to eat) and a sweet dummy each for them as it was a treat weekend away - and we strolled down to the Knight’s Village where we stayed for the night in a lodge. These wooden huts are small but beautiful to stay in. The children were in bunkbeds and I was in a double bed. The kids weren’t asleep until 10pm as we’d been out late but they slept wonderfully well, especially so as we had an elf wake-up call the next morning, when one of Santa’s helpers knocked on the door shortly after 8am, handing out another cuddly gift.

An elf wake-up call at Warwick CastleAn elf wake-up call at Warwick Castle
An elf wake-up call at Warwick Castle | Tom Morton

Breakfast at the Knights Village then fortified us for a day seeing what the castle had to offer in the daytime. And despite it understandably looking at its best after dark at the moment, there was still plenty to fill our day by light. We went to a princess show which thrilled the four-year-old, with plenty of interactive elements such as picking a key off a Christmas tree and joining in with making wishes, and also made a (return) visit to the Time Tower, which plays videos explaining the history of the castle. On a less festive note, we explored the old gaol, and also the fascinating display explaining how a castle would have prepared for battles during the War of the Roses. And of course, with two little children, we couldn’t leave without entering the Horrible Histories maze and spending a decent length of time in the Zog playground. 

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There may be several weeks until Christmas, but this was a lovely way to enter the festive season. The children absolutely loved it and want to return already. Tickets vary in price depending on which parts of the castle and which attractions, and details and prices are available here.

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