Shakespeare, stunts, swords and royalty in the new attractions at Warwick Castle
SUMMER has arrived and with it comes a new show at Warwick Castle… and this one has horses, stunts, royalty and a Shakespeare theme.
It’s been put together – along with other attractions – to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Elizabeth I’s visit to the castle.
Welcome to Warwick’s Midsummer Carnival, a collection of shows, games and events fit for a queen.
Elizabeth is central to a lot of the carnival entertainment and can be seen leading a parade while members of her court wander the grounds and even host a quiz.
Her Majesty also takes a seat in the royal box for the Midsummer Horse Show, a retelling of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream which takes place in the riverside arena (you may have seen knights jousting in the arena during a previous visit).
This is not a full Shakespeare play. Far from it. It’s a fast-paced horse riding stunt show that provides ‘wow’ moments for the audience as four daring riders gallop at speed, sometimes on the horses but more often hanging off them, clinging on with just an arm or a leg.
At one point a rider clings on underneath a galloping horse for a full circle of the arena, a stunt which is said to be a UK first.
The riders from The Knights of Middle England and their incredibly skilled stunts are entwined with Puck’s search for a purple flower which Oberon wants to present to Titania.
Elsewhere there’s sword fighting skills to learn, jugglers and fire-breathers, and garden games to bring out a family’s competitive side (if your family is anything like my own).
A wander around the castle’s mansion is also a must. We’ve been a few times but a lot of the living areas and bedrooms were not open to the public, so we enjoyed having a snoop inside some lavish rooms where waxworks of some very famous faces have been posed – Queen Elizabeth II and Winston Churchill are just two to spot.
For the younger visitors there’s a new Zog-themed playground to try out. It opened earlier this year and as well as featuring Julia Donaldson’s loveable dragon, it offers traditional slides, climbing frames and a zip wire as well as accessibility for wheelchair users.
There’s also the new Zog Live Show.
The tried and tested favourites also feature: the Falconer’s Quest live bird of prey show, the dungeon experience, the Horrible Histories Maze and the Princess Tower to name just some.
And, of course, there’s the castle itself. It really is an amazing building and we never tire of climbing the many steps up to the top of the battlements and the towers for stunning views over the River Avon and Warwick.
- Midsummer Carnival runs until 10th July. For more information and ticket prices, visit www.warwick-castle.com. While you’re on the website take a look at the Dragon Slayer light show which is returning to the castle in August for the first time since 2019. It looks spectacular.