Weird and Wonderful Warwick CastleBy Niamh Duffy -
I’m not usually the type of person to say yes to voluntarily being scared so The Haunted Castle at Warwick Castle was slightly out of my comfort zone. But after being pestered by my friends I finally agreed to just go for it.
The attractions mainly centre around the main courtyard which is flat and paved, some entrances being cobbled floors that should probably be avoided unless you fancy being thrown about a bit. This is not an issue if you walk around the castle as there are flat bridges that cross over the River Avon making it easily accessible. Maids, peasants and knights are located all around the castle grounds immersing you in the culture of the medieval period, providing facts and offering help when needed.
The dungeons begin with the jester explaining and chatting to you while the rest of your group climbs the stairs of the castle before letting you into the courtroom. Even though only the last four rooms of the dungeons were accessible the actors do make the experience as inclusive as possible. Throughout the rooms the actors stay in character whilst explaining the accessibility making the experience feel as real and lifelike as it is for everyone else, but also making you feel comfortable and at ease. With pitch black rooms, characters jumping out and mirrored walls, you leave feeling spooked but also as if you have actually learnt about life in the past. At one point we were sat against the wall when it suddenly went dark and silent, changing to a dim light to reveal a witch stood a foot away from our faces. Something that the kids in our group found funny but for us was absolutely terrifying!
The scariest attractions are Tormented and Outbreak 1389 which are in the Great Halls of the castle. Tormented is based on a young woman who is trapped inside the castle forever and, Outbreak, on a plague spreading across England. Both include two flights of stairs as you go on a tour of the rooms meaning that they advise wheelchair users to miss this one out. Although my friends helped me around the house and up the stairs, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. We have just always been determined that I will never miss out if I don’t have to. Both attractions are scary to say the least, the location in the Great Hall setting an eerie atmosphere straight away. They are both your typical scare maze – actors jumping out, pieces of set moving and smoke machines making seeing the floor difficult.
The maze is a series of walkways lined with bushes and doors meaning it is confusing from the minute you step in. It is paved and wide meaning making it probably one of the most wheelchair accessible attractions at Warwick Castle. By following the clues, you eventually reach the centre of the maze and find a large, wooden Viking ship perfect for a little rest break before you try and work your way back out.
Definitely worth a visit if you and your friends fancy getting into the Halloween spirit without it costing a fortune. Your night is filled with spooks, scares and laughter making it memorable for everyone!