We have previously visited LEGOLAND Windsor for Halloween but this year we used our Premium Merlin Annual Passes to visit Warwick Castle for their Halloween offerings – as I thought it would be better suited for their age. We arrived early to ensure a parking space and to book our tickets for additional Halloween attractions (these were included with a Premium Merlin Annual Pass). The attractions are split into three categories to represent their suitability for the audiences – Scaredy Squires which is suitable for all; Daring Dukes for those over around the age of 10 and Brave Knights for those ages 12 and over. I actually only took the youngest two (ages 9 and 11) who are really brave (and they have been lucky enough to experience quite a few adventurous activities) and we experienced them all except we were unable to get tickets for the very popular Escape Room (a quest to save a tortured soul from the War of the Roses) as it had sold out. In hindsight the Séance was not at all suitable and as there’s not a lot that can be done until the experience is over I strongly suggest that children are NOT taken in.
We checked out what was happening on the DEAD Centre Stage throughout the day (Story Time, Wizard School, Thriller Dance, Trial of Joan of Arc, The Maid of Orleans and Fire Performer Show) before checking out the Haunted Hallows, The Castle Dungeon** the Horrible Histories Maze**, The House of Wax, the Séance, the Towers** and the Witches’ Castle.
If you are planning a trip to Warwick Castle you may be interested in this post by Natalie on What to do at Warwick Castle.
The Haunted Hallows at Warwick Castle – Scaredy Squires
We went through the Haunted Hallows at Warwick Castle first thing in the morning (so just after 10am) and I have to say it is on the best walk through Halloween attractions for families I have seen. I do think it would have had a whole different feel in the dark mind! A mix of great places for selfies, horror (well more little frights) and humour; with props and real life actors.
House of Wax – Daring Dukes
We collected a timed ticket for the House of Wax but it ended up that people did not need one. I think this was a very cleverly done attraction – and especially good if you are familiar with Madame Tussauds. It told the story of the fact that actually she hadn’t made her models from wax but actually she had murderer the subjects themselves! There was a very good mix of very realistic wax models and live actors – which in the dark you really could not tell which was which until one jumped out on you! There is some strobe lighting which reveals a young woman trying to escape with all her face cut open. We found many a child up to around 14 years old left early screaming. It was also unfortunate for myself, that one person ignored the request to keep all mobile phones off – which really lit up where I was going! My 9 year old was a little scared at this attraction but coped fine.
The Séance – Brave Knights
You are taken into a room and given the opportunity to ask any questions before you go in. Once you are in the room has a couple of lamps at the end of a really long table with chairs around it. You place on headsets and the lights go off. To say it is dark is an understatement. You are plunged into this darkness for around 15 minutes. It makes no difference if you close your eyes or open them – it is that dark!
Then through the audio (developed by theatrical company Darkfield) a Séance begins. It starts slowly and builds up and up. If at any point it gets too much you can remove the audio and you will just head background noises and still be plunged in darkness.
This is NOT child friendly and I sat near the end of the attraction just hoping that my youngest had taken the headset off! As it happened he was trying to comfort his brother in the dark who was crying! I could not hear or see him. Again luckily they had got scared quite near to the start – as I say it really builds up (from me actually thinking it was a bit lame to OMFG!).
Witches Tower – Scaredy Squires
After coming out of the Séance we headed to book a slot at The Witches Tower. Although this attraction is really for those ages 3-8 I felt that a calming story may help settle my very frightened child. We had to book a time slot and return. They had transformed the Princess Tower to be taken over by witches – but if you have been before it is pretty much the same but with a witches twist on things. You hear a story and have to help with a spell and find the objects around the room.
Now we just need to decide if we are going to go back and do Christmas at Warwick Castle!
Warwick Castle, Warwick, Warwickshire, CV34 4QU
Stratford Road Car Park CV34 6AH (free with Premium Merlin Annual Pass); Stables Car Park (Express Parking) CV34 4QU
Most of the attractions did not allow the use of mobile phones and photography.
*We were gifted Premium Merlin Annual Passes which not only saved us money on our entry and parking but also gave us discount on things such as food and merchandise. All opinions, however, are honest and my own.
**Obviously these aren’t Halloween attractions and can be visited all the time.