Visiting All The English Counties 15/48 – Exploring Warwick, Warwickshire

You know me, I love a good castle hunting expedition…or so I thought!  All the photos I’d seen of Warwick Castle had me weak at the knees so when I decided to visit Warwickshire, Warwick Castle seemed a no brainer however it was exploring Warwick itself that had me smiling.

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

I arrived early at Warwick Castle (way before opening time!); strangely the night before when I was finally doing some research, I read that the castle could be a bit hit or miss for folks.  Warwick Castle is part of Merlin Entertainment that runs The Dungeons, Madame Tussauds and Thorpe Park to name a few…this should have caused the warning bells to start along with the eye watering ticket price…£25.20 if bought on the day (which I stupidly did!)…my advice…don’t visit this castle if you love castles and only visit if you hold a Merlin Pass!

I’m going to say it right at the start, I personally think Warwick Castle is England’s most overrated and overpriced tourist attraction that I’ve ever visited!

As the castle wasn’t open, I decided to wander into Warwick, the town itself is only a few moments away…it’s rather cute…full of cheerful bunting…

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

…and has plenty of wobbly buildings to photograph….

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

…oh yes and doors…

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

…plenty of pretty doors and flowers…

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

…rainbow houses…

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

…little bricked lanes (seriously Brick Lane in London needs to sort it’s sh*t out!).

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

Unfortunately the museum held inside Lord Leycester Hospital wasn’t open either…I got on the road a tad too early…but it was still lovely to see the building from the outside…

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

…as it’s wobbly!  What’s not to love really!

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

^^I’m going to put it out there…photographing wobbly buildings isn’t easy!

In my rush to leave the house early, I didn’t have breakfast so I thought it was perfectly reasonably to have afternoon tea at the Thomas Oken Tea Rooms for breakfast…at 10am…since we’re all friends, let’s just call it morning tea (and I wonder why I’m fat…porridge vs a tiered cake stand…hmmm let’s see which one I would choose!)…

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

…the Thomas Oken Tea Rooms are located right by the entrance of Warwick Castle in Warwick itself and if you’ve visited Warwick before, it’s in the old Dolls Museum…the building is wobbly (yes!)

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

…and serves a bloody fine gluten free afternoon tea on request which I highly recommend!

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

I’ll give you a little close up of the cake stand…

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

…and the gluten free scones at Thomas Oken Tea Rooms passed my scone test with flying colours (they were easy to cut into, they didn’t break any teeth and they were scummy!).

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

Suddenly realising that Warwick Castle was finally open (I may have left half a scone behind!), I popped through the castle wall and into the grounds (after buying that silly priced ticket!)…

 

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

…the castle is magnificent from the outside however be prepared for lots of little people…you know the ones…they run wild and push to get you out of the way (I got pushed in the fanny area twice by the group of kids speaking Spanish and my feet where stood on by the English speaking ones)...you can start to see one reason why I didn’t enjoy Warwick Castle…

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

…entering the middle of the castle caused me to lose my breathe for a second…it was rather wonderful until I spotted the gift shop and food trailers…

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

…and then the map basically shows you why I hated Warwick Castle so much…they had cash machines on site and listed on the map?!?! WTF!?!?!  It’s way tooooooo commercial!

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

The castle has had a major refurbishment and it does look good from the outside however I found the interior to be…TACKY…strangely quite a few people agreed with this statement when I posted about it on instagram after my visit…

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

…all those millions and you get things like this…

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

…and this…

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

…oh and Helen Mirren turned up in her Queen outfit!

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

I totally get that they have turned Warwick Castle into an English version of Disneyland (and to be fair I visited Disneyland last week and I didn’t find it anywhere near as tacky as Warwick Castle so that says something!)...they have dumbed things down for the kids and it’s very focussed towards families which is perfectly fine to get kids into learning about history etc…BUT DID YOU NEED TO WRECK A BEAUTIFUL CASTLE TO DO THIS!

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

^^Another perfect English summer…take a down jacket and sunhat wherever you go and that’s how an English summer should be!

There are some lovely areas in the castle, don’t get me wrong…

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

…like these areas…

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

however these are outnumbered by truly awful displays in others.

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

There are a number of events taking place around the castle during the day which made it impossible to get to some of the areas that I wanted to visit…

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

…I did feel like I was getting herded around the castle and left in under 45 minutes…that’s how much I didn’t enjoy my visit.  I was hoping to have a wander around to take in the views like this one from the bedroom window but everything was blocked off!

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

Even seeing King Henry VIII didn’t cheer me up…and you know how much I love this naughty ol’ King…he would be on my “who would you have at your dinner party list, dead or alive”…King Henry VIII and Julie Andrews without a doubt…and thinking about things now, my family and as many of my ancestors that we could find…I normally cook enough to feed an army anyway…learning about history including your own family history is so important.

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

Okay so I didn’t love Warwick Castle however I did think Warwick was super cute and I had an extremely yummy afternoon tea at Thomas Oken Tea Rooms.  I think I would head back to Warwickshire at some point in the future as I definitely picked the wrong place to explore this county; where would you recommend?

Travel Tips for Warwickshire

  • I can’t recommend the Thomas Oken Tea Rooms in Warwick enough for their gluten free options, pop in for a visit and you won’t be disappointed.
  • Take time to wander around Warwick as it’s a sweet little town with plenty of wobbly buildings to enjoy
  • If you plan to visit Warwick Castle then look at finding discounted ticket prices or purchasing a Merlin Pass or book well in advance (do not pay £25.20 at the gate for entrance like me!)…it’s not a cheap day out.  You can buy tickets online in advance which are cheaper – do this 5+ days in advance to get the best deal. 
  • Take flat comfortable shoes as there is some climbing to do around the castle
  • There is plenty of parking at Warwick Castle
  • If you want to spend a night at a castle then I would highly recommend staying at Thornbury Castle in Gloucestershire rather than at Warwick Castle; it’s totally worth it to be princess for a night!
  • You can read more about Warwickshire at the official website.

England Travel Inspiration - Exploring Warwick in Warwickshire; a delightful town with it's own castle! I give my honest thoughts on Warwick Castle and also where to find a very yummy gluten free afternoon tea in Warwick. Click through to read my travel tips for Warwick, Warwickshire including where to find gluten free food in the town.

xx

If you liked this post on Visiting All The English Counties 15/48 – Exploring Warwick, Warwickshire then why not come and join me on TwitterGoogle+InstagramFacebook and Pinterest – I won’t bite!

14 Comments

  1. September 19, 2016 / 9:47 PM

    Good to know, I wouldn’t have thought it would be so touristy! I hate how some of the castles are so expensive, Leeds Castle was the same (though I did enjoy it). I just want to be able to use my NT membership everywhere!
    Jasmin Charlotte recently posted…JC Travels: A Rural Escape with Red Letter DaysMy Profile

    • September 20, 2016 / 7:42 AM

      Leeds Castle is darn expensive but I doesn’t feel too commercial which is good. You should get the a Historic Houses card Jasmin, you get free entry into all the big houses and it’s so affordable! Xx

  2. September 20, 2016 / 7:54 AM

    I took a selfie in that mirror too! A long, long time ago (in 2008!).

    I wonder if I would enjoy Warwick Castle today – it was one of the first castles I visited and one of the very first things I blogged about. I enjoyed it back then because it was a castle and I’ve always loved castles but I’ve been to many that are just a shell and I quite enjoy those. I’m beginning to be over massively expensive entrance fees, that’s for sure.
    Mandy recently posted…Jacobean Splendour at Charlton HouseMy Profile

    • September 20, 2016 / 8:12 AM

      I need to read your blog post Mandy! So am I, feel like people are starting to get very greedy and seeing families as a money pit which they aren’t. I’m a big fan of the Historical Houses membership as you get free entry into many castles and houses so it’s a cheap day but Warwick castle was just ridiculous xx

  3. September 20, 2016 / 1:53 PM

    I’ve visited Warwick castle 6 years ago. I liked it but found it to be a bit too commercial:) I also visited nearby Kenilworth castle which is way better:) but I didn’t walk around Warwick town sadly.
    Tanja (the Red phone box travels) recently posted…Sky Garden, LondonMy Profile

    • September 20, 2016 / 2:19 PM

      All the locals recommended Kenilworth castle so need to visit that I think next xx

  4. September 20, 2016 / 5:37 PM

    Warwick is an underrated little town for sure. I was there on business once many years ago and I was so surprised to find out how pretty it is and how easy to wander around and admire. I’m not a castle person, to be fair, I like them from the outside and they make the British landscape very impressive but I’ve never seen one that’s impressed me much on the inside and this one certainly wouldn’t – ugh. Were the figures in the drawing room actually labelled ‘Lady Mary’ and ‘Lady Edith’ or was it left to the imagination? I suppose we must be glad the didn’t stick Henry VIII in there with them.

    • September 21, 2016 / 4:09 PM

      I agree! Haha it was left to your imagination but oh so tacky…the groups of men were even more tacky! I wished they had, it may have made the £25.20 ticket price more bearable x

  5. September 21, 2016 / 1:47 PM

    Oh so that’s where they put all the stuff ups from Madame Tussauds…

    I second the Kenilworth recommendation, also there are some fabulous places to eat and stay there should you require. Leamington is pretty to walk around and your love of doors will be thoroughly rewarded, Charlecote Park (NT) is absolutely GORGEOUS, Compton Verney has some great sculptures in its gardens and is nice and peaceful with a good restaurant, I could go on – my family are from all around there so I’ve been quite a bit.
    Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad recently posted…5 things I learned about ChicagoMy Profile

    • September 21, 2016 / 4:08 PM

      Bugger Rachel, I should have asked your for suggestions! I will definitely keep these in mind for my next visit xx

    • September 22, 2016 / 10:57 AM

      Yip and so sad really! I saw a family forking out over £100 on toys for their kids – the accountant in me understands however I don’t agree with it!

  6. September 23, 2016 / 12:01 PM

    Oh dear, an example of when diversifying your core business goes horribly wrong! A few weeks ago a read a blog (a freebie stay) about the accommodation village (“lodges” and glamping) in the grounds of Warwich castle and concluded that it wouldn’t be for me. Castles are great as they are, kids don’t need so much commercialised distractions. And honestly, an ATM! Seriously.
    Siân recently posted…Gluten Free Guide To Italy: Tips and ResourcesMy Profile

    • September 23, 2016 / 12:07 PM

      Oh dear, I think the review would make me roll my eyes. I saw people getting escorted to the accommodation and thought to myself why here…there are so many wonderful castles to stay in that aren’t tacky like this one. Yeah the atm and poor parents forking out over £100 on treats had me frustrated and thinking how material the world has really got! Xx