Sunday, January 19, 2020

Warwick Castle Brought To You By Legoland

We have many pictures hanging on the walls of our home. Although most are of family, a good number were taken during our travels, some here in the US and some in other countries.

In the hallway, near the guest bathroom, hangs a picture my daughter took on a high school trip to England and France.

She had climbed to the top of Guys Tower in Warwick Castle and shot a photograph of the Castle Mound across the open courtyard.

My wife was particularly impressed by the trip to Warwick, she has always talked about what a great day it was. She loved the peacocks, the swans and the views along the River Avon near the castle mill.

The morning came for us to move from Oxford, Northeast to Derby. Along the way we planned on stopping at Warwick Castle, then maybe head to Manchester for a quick visit to the Food and Wine Festival. A marathon 5-hours in the car, but nothing compared to the 6+ hours for our trip to Dover.
We got a pretty good start, but it seemed the weather would be the determining factor as to how we spent the day.

We hadn’t pre-purchased our tickets, so we headed to the ticket window.

As we stood in line, an Asian woman was talking to each of the groups ahead of us. She said that her group had double purchased tickets and the box office wouldn’t give a refund. She was willing to part with four tickets at a discount to recover some of her money.

I’m pretty skeptical of people hawking discount tickets outside of any venue, but we took the chance anyway, paid her cash and quickly made our way to the entrance. Turned out the tickets were real, and we went right in.

Crossing the drawbridge into the castle is impressive, but we had already been to the Tower of London and Dover Castle, so it wasn’t the first drawbridge we had seen in the five days we had been in the UK.

As we entered the courtyard, I noticed one very large change from the picture in our hallway – Food Trucks.

As we traveled deeper into the castle, we noticed that along with the food trucks, there were booth selling cheap trinkets, and other fine imported plastic bobbles.

We went down by the river and found that you cannot cross over to the island, and there is now a bird show stage. I started to think about other “castles” I’ve been to and was reminded of a certain SoCal location that is all based of the life of a mouse.

My wife wanted to find the castle mill, but it seemed that the path was gone. However, I spied a path that went behind the hot-dog stand and we found the mill.

Sometime in the 16 years since she stood above the courtyard, the castle came under the control of Merlin Entertainment. The same company that owns Madam Tussauds and Legoland. I guess I wasn’t that far off.

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