I couldn’t remember if I’d ever been to Kenilworth Castle as a child, but when something prompted me about it, I decided it would be a great place for N and I to visit. He’s not really seen ruins, so for a 3 year old, I thought they might be more interesting than actually seeing a castle all in one piece and set up for exhibiting.
Despite the weather forecast being showery, we went for the bank holiday. With it being half term, they were running Medieval activities over the weekend. Although the standard price went up a couple of pounds for this, if you stayed the whole day to see all the activities, you’d definitely have got a good deal.
We park and rode from a car park in the town. Took us ages and several circuits before finding the right car park – annoyingly, on a bank holiday you had to pay. On site, there was a bit of parking, but it would filll up quickly – I think there was overflow parking as well though. The machines were covered up, so although the bus itself was free, having free parking on site does help (it looked like the machines were broke or just turned off for the bank holiday. It looked like it was rarely used, although maybe it is used more in the warmer weather.
N spent ages climbing and walking on the ruins
He was also keen to lead the exploration around the ruins, moving from room to room, up and down stairs, leading to dark spaces and the light. I was surprised at how fearless he was striding on ahead of me and wanting to lead the way.
He quite enjoyed standing in the kitchen oven area, and wanted me to stand in there too.
The gardens were lovely there, with a smaller second garden area in front of the Leicester Tower where all the old ‘museum’ pieces are kept. No photos allowed in there, but with a toddler, you don’t get much chance to read or find out much about what’s in there.
Every half hour there were medieval focused activities – talks, demos, chances to take part. We watched some of the minstrel’s show (from under an umbrella as it started to rain then). Good fun, and both children and adults seemed to enjoy it, although I couldn’t stop looking at a certain part of his costume…was it just me!?
We also took a quick look at the archery area, where you could pay to have a go. The actual demos were later on, but it was certainly popular.
Kenilworth Castle’s a lovely place, and not too crowded. For half term, I’m presuming it’s because the weather wasn’t great. Plenty of space for a picnic (we’d taken food with us), and a few seats outside the stables where the cafe area is.
The only issue with the visit was the rain. It meant that everyone wanted to get inside and have hot drinks and eat, rather than eat outside, so people were struggling to get seats. The food was more snacky and light bites, so if you want more for your meal, you’d probably need to find somewhere in the town.
N loved the freedom to explore, climb and play on the ruins.