From where they stood, they could see the castle – Frank Yerby.
Castles are places full of magic. They are made from stones built hundreds of centuries ago with man’s bare hand and are still standing here today. They are full of stories and legacies, of history that nations are built on and places where we can educate ourselves as well as wander in awe through a place that fascinates everyone who crosses beneath its walls. Warwick Castle is no different. It is full of bloodlust and fire, of scandal and witchcraft, of murder and hauntings – the ideal place to go hunting ghosts. Named The Haunted Castle for a limited time only, it is your chance to get involved in some Halloween mischief at the third oldest castle in England just as the lines blur between this world and the next.
WITCHES AND SPOOKS EVERYWHERE
As soon as we arrived, there was a show on at Dead Centre Stage. It was The Wizard’s Apprentice which had attracted quite the crowd of families young and old. Clad in costume, the actors talked, danced, joked and put on a show. There were light-hearted innuendos for the adults as well as laughter for the children, making it fun for everyone, no matter our age. When the stage was empty of its ghoulish characters, they were wandering and gallivanting around the castle grounds, making sure they were known in their witchy ways and ghostly presence. They were animated in both costume and character, making people of all ages want to engage with them and believe their costumes were real, that we were in a place where the dark forces of haunted grounds had risen to walk among us.
Warren and I saw a few people queuing up for something called The Paranormal Experience. It was our first encounter with something that was haunted about the castle and who doesn’t love to delve into the unknown of ghosts? Little did I know that this experience would make my heart pound and make my eyes squeeze shut in absolute terror. Bear in mind, children as young as ten can enter this experience. I would not have survived as a ten-year-old girl; some people I know wouldn’t have gone in no matter how much it intrigued them. There are warnings for epileptic sufferers as well as those who are claustrophobic. The further you enter the fifteen minute activity, the harder it is to pull you out if you are frightened, so get your brave faces on if you head into the castle and its ghostly terrors. The experience takes you through a series of rooms in the upstairs part of the castle which is usually reserved for the residents of the nineteenth century. This time, however, everything is dark, eery and full of whispers from the other side. You learn of the ghostly terrors that plague the castle and take part in a séance in the very bedroom that the residents and their guests would have lured ghostly figures from the castle’s past to tell their stories of life at Warwick Castle before they died.
GHOST STORIES AT THE CASTLE
Who doesn’t love a good ghostly tale? Instead of hiding under a blanket with only a torch as company, here at Warwick Castle, you can stand in the place that ghostly figures wander the halls. You hear stories as far back as the days that witches were tried and killed; when armies would cross fields to cause bloodshed, only to carry on fighting in ghost form year after year on the date they were ambushed; when earls would get stabbed in the back with a dying wish to see what their stately home could have been if they had continued living. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, this tour tells insightful stories of the castle’s past, of the people who lived there and the souls who wander the grounds, telling their own stories to this very day.
GRISLY & GRUESOME DEATHS
Another tour that we absolutely had to be a part of was the Grisly and Gruesome Deaths Tour. I have to commend the woman who took the tour. She was hilarious, which sometimes you just have to be when talking about blood and guts. She made sure that we were both entertained and educated about the grisly deaths that occurred in and around Warwick Castle. She even showed us high resolution images of skulls that had been dug up with gashes from battle axes and shattered jaws from war hammers. It was fascinating and horrifying to see just how brutal people were in the time of battles that would occur in a field and end in bloodshed. Other deaths were just as grisly, like the one of a man of court: close friend of King Edward II, Piers Gaveston. His days ended being stabbed in the chest and back, then beheaded with a blunt sword. This tour is not for the faint-hearted, but for those who are intrigued by the darker, bloodier side of the castle and the ghastly deaths endured during the time Warwick has reigned.
FUN FOR ALL THE FAMILY
The Princess Tower has been taken over by witches who lure children to go up the winding steps with their family in order to get up to mischief with a naughty witch and her magic mirror. There is a ghost hunt for juniors, a Halloween trail with creepy characters at every turn and shows that take the Dead Centre Stage by storm. Families can work out with two silly witches who love to jump around to fun Halloween tunes. Potential little witches and wizards – waiting for their Hogwarts letter – can improve their spellcasting technique with the wise old wizard of Warwick. What is even more incredible about Warwick Castle at Halloween is that families come dressed up as ghouls and witches, vampires and evil fairies simply because they can. It definitely adds to the fun atmosphere that clashes and entwines with its haunted edge.
I already can’t wait to visit next year! I’ll be returning in full Halloween mode, complete with ghoulish makeup, a ghastly costume and enough fright to scare the ghosts away.
Have you visited Warwick Castle lately? If you love Halloween and you’re in the area, I urge you to visit and enjoy a spectacular day at The Haunted Castle.
The next weekend of ghostly activities is the 1st – 3rd November 2019. The castle closes at 5pm.
Love, Faye xo