Well, of course, first up you’d have to be IN England, or going there. And I’m mainly speaking of people with children, although most everyone would enjoy this. Especially history buffs like me. (I hate the word “buffs” used in that context. I have no idea why I just used it). But if you go to England and you can hit only ONE major tourist attraction, I highly recommend Warwick Castle, the best tourist attraction I’ve ever seen in ANY country, hands down.
Warwick Castle is one of those ancient castles the English have lying all over the place, only this one has been maintained rather than crumbling into a picturesque ruin, and they have turned it into a tourist’s, and a small child’s, dream.
At Warwick Castle, besides stunningly impressive re-created rooms populated by astonishingly lifelike waxworks representing life in the castle at different eras, there are also brilliant live displays. These include a genuine, full-size trebuchet — that’s a medieval siege engine that flings gigantic rocks through the air. (Into a deserted wooded area, not into the spectator stands, although I was concerned to notice on the map that the area where the trebuchet rocks landed was designated for “Nature Walks.” Nature Walks and Nasty Shocks, I should imagine, if you don’t time your walk carefully.) You can also see hawks hawking, try your hand at the longbow, watch some very funny fighting knights put on full plate armour (including chain-mail underpants!) and indulge in some swordplay — and best of all, you can see Real! Live! Jousting!! Complete with skillful knights and equally skillful horses decked out in surcoats — it’s amazing. All the presenters are not only knowledgeable but also funny and personable, and for my money it is the closest you will ever come to a time machine set for the middle ages.
We had a wonderful day at Warwick Castle on Wednesday, after cruising down the Grand Union Canal from Stockton through Leamington Spa to Warwick on Tuesday. On Thursday we did the trip up in reverse — which I liked much better than the trip down, because by then I’d learned to steer the boat (more or less) and Jason was able to get our and open all the locks. No word on whether Jason liked the return journey better!!
We are back in hot sweaty London now, staying in a budget hotel that entirely confirms our earlier decision to spend the bulk of our time in a nice B&B in the suburbs — you cannot get very comfy or cool accommodation on the average family budget in Central London. But it’s OK for two days, which is all we’ve got left before heading home. We’re anxious to get back to friends and family but in no hurry to leave England as we’re all still having a great time!!
NOTE: I edited my last post to add some pics of the canal boat.