It’s likely that you’ve visited Warwick Castle; either with your own children, or as a child yourself. The castle was built in 1069 by William the Conqueror and is now one of the top tourist attractions in the UK. The grand historical setting will capture the imagination of children – and adults – and you can now make a whole weekend of your trip by staying overnight in the Knight’s Village, home to the Avenue of Kings with its new, luxury glamping tents.
Warwick Castle is located right in the middle of Warwick; if you’re arriving by train as we did then it’s a short walk from the station. The Knight’s Village accommodation is in the grounds of Warwick Castle, in secluded woodlands by the river. The check-in desk is located in the main hall, where there’s a small shop selling essentials, as well as the medieval-themed dining room with restaurant and bar. You then follow the raised wooden walkway round to the village of wooden lodges and tents.
We stayed in a new luxury King’s Tent on the Avenue of Kings. If you were expecting an old-school style tiny triangle tent, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised. As someone with childhood camping memories of being cold and uncomfortable, the idea of staying out under canvas is something I’ve been reluctant to try with my own children. But the Knight’s Tents are set on raised wooden platforms so there’s no fear of waterlogged sleeping bags. Each tent is big enough to house a full size double bed and two separate singles, with pillows and duvets and even towels, so there’s no need to take anything with you. The tents have a medieval theme, with tapestries and furniture to match. The focal point of the room is the four-poster double bed with velvet curtains and a secret switch to activate disco lights in the coat-of-arms headboard. There are also chairs, a chest and even a full-sized mirror.
Fans of home comfort, don’t worry – there are lights, plug sockets, free Wi-Fi and even phone charging points in the tents. And if, like me, you’re haunted by memories of damp camping trips in years gone by, then rest assured – each tent is fully lined and waterproofed so there’s no danger of waking up with wet feet; the weekend we visited there were epic thunderstorms and no leaks at all. Each tent sleeps four (one double and two singles). For larger families, an airbed is available and you can also request a travel cot for the more junior members of your family. Outside, the tents have their own sheltered porch area with seating, lanterns and even a chess table. It’s a peaceful place to relax and watch the ducks swim by.
The site is located in woodland next to the river and feels peaceful and private. Wooden walkways line the site, so you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in a puddle. At night, festoon lights lanterns light up the paths, making even a quick midnight trip to the loo look magical.
There are a couple of different accommodation options; you can stay in lodges, glamping tents and now the new Knight’s Village tents. While the lodges have their own bathrooms (and even a TV) for those in the tents there’s a separate toilet and shower block; think glam festival toilets.
Medieval entertainment also takes place on the site, depending on when you visit, which could include archery, lessons at the Knight’s and Jester’s School and the bird of prey experience. We took part in the free archery session in the morning which my eldest daughter (6) loved.
We chose to eat in the Medieval Dinner Hall, which is the same place breakfast is served. Dinner is a set menu of a starter and medieval-style meal, with a separate children’s menu (predictably, ours went for the chicken nuggets). There’s also a bar, which stays open as long as people are in the restaurant. There is entertainment each night during dinner. On the night we visited, two knights greeted the diners and then had a spectacular sword and axe show fight in the dining room where everyone had to pick a side to cheer for.
If you don’t want to eat here then The Knight’s Village is close to the centre of Warwick, and a selection of restaurants and pubs are in walking distance. From 3rd August you can also take part in Dragon Slayer, the new evening entertainment experience at the Castle. Breakfast is included in the price of camping. Served in the main room, it’s buffet-style with cooked breakfast too.
Staying in the tents gives you two days of free access to the castle, accessed through a secret gate in the gardens which adds to the fun. There’s more than enough shows and displays to keep everyone busy in the castle. You can walk around the castle, up and around the ramparts, go down in the dungeon, get lost in the Horrible Histories maze and take part in the free interactive Princess Tower experience (we won’t spoil the details, but both children were captivated). There are also plenty of activities and shows throughout the day including the Wars of the Rose Live at weekends, where the audience picks a side and cheers on live sword battles and jousting.
It was brilliant to visit the castle and then get to stay over in a place with such a grand historical setting and a fun medieval theme. Although as my children’s first experience of sleeping under canvas, it means the bar has been set really high.
Website: Warwick Castle
Prices: Avenue of Kings premium glamping tents start from £259 per night and are available until September.
What’s included: Short breaks all include two days entry to the Castle; car parking; buffet breakfast; one night’s accommodation and entertainment in the Knight’s Village. Dinner additional (£18.95 for adults; £9.95 for kids)
Dragon Slayer tickets start from £15 for show only with dining packages also available.