Christmas at the Castle

Helen Annetts and family get festive at Warwick Castle.

A month ahead of Christmas Eve – yes, there is a month to go to the big day – we went on a festive adventure to Warwick Castle for their Christmas at the Castle preview and it was MAGICAL.

Joe and I have been lucky enough to visit Warwick Castle a couple of times this year, and we both agreed the Castle was truly transformed for Christmas. It felt like a whole new experience, one filled with twinkly lights, festive decoration and seasonal magic.

We arrived just after 6pm and the boys received a welcome gift – it is Christmas after all – and we were presented with our Festive Evening Itinerary which included the Light Trail, Ice Skating and Stories with Santa. We could also visit the festive food and drink village as well as the Great Hall and Staterooms, all decorated for the season.

After a long-ish journey (Friday night traffic), we headed for refreshments, and with hot chocolates in hand, we made our way over to the Castle itself to take a look at the Great Hall and State Rooms and they were stunning. The decorations throughout the Hall and Rooms were so beautiful: garlands, baubles, twinkly lights, and Christmas trees. We definitely now have decoration envy! Only one of our group has their decorations up already; the rest of us decided we would need to up our game this year.

Next up we headed to the Ice Skating rink nestled at the side of the Castle, outside the courtyard in the grounds in the East Front. Before we took to the ice ourselves, we were treated to a performance from actual Dancing on Ice star Tippy Packard, which was thrilling. It also made us very aware, before we stepped onto the ice, of the true extent of our abilities. The rink was a great size, not too busy and we had a great time. For those less confident, there are the ‘penguins’ to hold on to and of course Dancing on Ice’s Tippy was available for pointers, advice and photos as we skated. For those of us who had skated on outdoor rinks before agreed that this was our favourite, good quality ice and a beautiful setting.

The highlight for me, and the thing I had most looked forward to, came next: the Light Trail that takes your through the whole 64-acre castle grounds and includes half a million twinkling lights. I was blown away; I loved it! Light tunnels; lights on all the bushes in The Peacock Gardens; lights reacting to music beautifully creating a soundscape of Christmas past and present; lights telling the story of the 12 Days of Christmas; lights on the lake; lights projected onto the Castle walls; lights in the shape of trees; laser lights! It was wonderful, beautiful, totally magical and incredibly well done, with so much to experience that even after ice skating for 45minutes not one person moaned about the cold or about being tired.

I confess we that didn’t see Santa, though we did spot a couple of cheeky Elves in the Great Hall, but you can book for a story with Santa and Mrs Claus and a workshop with the Elves and I think this activity would have topped our itinerary had our party included younger children.

There are a number of different packages available including: Castle and Santa, Castle and Skate and the After Dark Light Trail so you can have the festive experience that most suits you and we would totally recommend visiting. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable and there are Christmassy photo opportunities at every turn.

It really was magical and, if you do just one thing we say do the Light Trail; you won’t be sorry and you’ll come away feeling just the right amount of festive.

Find out more here.