Bank holiday weekends usually mean a day out for us as we all have a few days off together, so last weekend we took a trip to Warwick Castle, somewhere I have never actually been before, to see the castle and grounds and to check out their new Bird of Prey show, The Falconer's Quest.
After a bit of a trek from where we had been directed to park the car in a field, we arrived at Warwick Castle entrance. We checked out the activities and events board deciding what everyone wanted to do, where we needed to be and when, then picked up a map and headed on in.
We happened to arrive out the front of the princess tower part of the castle just as they were about to start a storytime, with the two youngest keen to go in we ascended the stairs into a room to wait for the princess. Photography was not allowed in the tower rooms so there are no photos of the story time but the Little Ones took part in a short session where they had to answer a riddle and help the princess free a prince, even Little 1 who said she was a bit old for princess stories came out smiling.
We went to the arena area and listened to the Trebuchet talk and were pretty glad we didn't live in the olden times as we found out why enemies used to fling poo over each other and admired the giant machine across the river.
The new show is the biggest bird of prey show in the UK with Cheeky Red Kites right up to the Andean Condor who stands at 3 feet tall and with a wingspan of 10 feet he looks pretty impressive in the sky. The show combines the story of 'The Falconer's Quest' alongside stunning birds and aerial acrobatics with a few bird facts thrown in, it is much more entertaining than an ordinary Bird of Prey show.
Birds appeared from the side or back of the arena in time to the story rather than being collected and brought out like most shows I have been to, this made it all the more enjoyable as I wasn't quite sure where a bird was going to appear next.
The show contained at least 7 or 8 different breeds of bird, some smaller and well known like the Barn Owl and Peregrine Falcon and others like the Vulture and Condor I had not seen before. The wingspan on several of the birds was huge and every one of them circled the spectators, flying low across the river or high up to platforms, it was quite a sight.
As the show was coming to an end something happened that I was really not expecting, we were concentrating on the last bird and suddenly there were 10 (maybe a dozen) birds in the air all circling around the Falconer and filling the sky, the audience, including me, were awed and gasps of 'Wow' could be heard from all around. The sight was so spectacular that I had to go back and watch the second show later in the afternoon as I really wanted to see it again. It was well worth it and I really enjoyed both shows.
With the show over we headed back to the castle to have a look around at the 1100 year old history to see what was in the Great Hall and if we could picture ourselves years ago using the fancy staterooms.
There was plenty to look at indoors from suits of armour, even a child sized one, to beautiful stained glass windows, pictures and artefacts. The Little ones took it all in and admired the views from the windows too.
Outside again we climbed the Conqueror's fortress and read about the history of weapons which Little 1 was particularly interested about as she is doing the Saxons and Vikings in school at the moment.
It was nearing the end of the day and we still had a few things to do, we set off to climb the battlements, over 530 steps up the top of the towers, down again and across to the next tower.
All too soon it was almost closing time, we didn't actually get time to see everything and missed a couple of tower exhibits and the Mill and Engine house but one thing the Little Ones wanted to do was visit the Horrible histories maze.
We found our way around collecting stamps on our maze cards and having a laugh as the Little Ones cheated and nipped through the gaps in the hedge while Daddy and I had to work out how to go the long way around and get back to them. On the way out we showed our maze cards in the shop to get a free badge which the Little Ones liked.
We were gifted tickets to the castle in order to review The Falconer's Quest but rest assured everything I have said is true we really did enjoy our day out.