With two young boys who love both castles and Halloween, our day trip to Warwick Castle ticked all the boxes and proved to be a fun-filled, family day out.
Halloween is the perfect time of year to indulge those fans who love being terrified and entertained in new and inventive ways.
And what better venue than an ancient castle whose walls are packed with legends, ghost tales and gruesome historical stories.
Warwick Castle is a wonderful place to visit at any time of year, but at Halloween, when it becomes the Haunted Castle, it really does come into its own.
It was helped by a cast of superbly talented actors who relish the challenge of dressing up as witches, ghosts, zombies and knights to bring all that history to reality.
New for 2021 is Upscares Downscares as well as the Witches School and Troll Hunter School. There are also returning favourites – the Haunted Hollows, The Witches Tower, and Wizards School.
I visited Warwick Castle with my wife and two sons, four and nine, on the first day of this year's Halloween event.
On arrival we were encouraged to use the Warwick Castle app which helps you find your way around the site and see what is happening on the day. We were warned the app was work in progress and I must admit there did appear to be a few teething problems with it, particularly when trying to book time slots for certain activities.
Our first fright of the day came in the form of the new Upscares Downscares experience which revealed spooky servant characters who have taken over the castle to cause magical mischief.
It was then a walk up The Witches Tower to watch the Witches of Warwick cast powerful spells.
The Kingmaker exhibition is tucked away in the basement area of the castle and allows visitors to experience the sights and sounds of medieval England.
Find your way through the Horrible Histories maze which allows you to uncover the gruesome truths of history. The maze is superbly designed and landscaped, ranging from First World War trenches to a Viking ship – each area scattered with lots of interactive elements.
If ghosts and gore are not your cup of tea, there are plenty of activities on for younger visitors and of course all the usual attractions such as archery, walks in the grounds, and the must-see Falconer's Quest where birds of prey swoop down over onlookers.
In between attractions the entertainment continues with shows, live music and a Halloween disco on the Dead Centre Stage. Plenty of audience participation is guaranteed!
One part of the castle we didn't get to experience was the Castle Dungeon, which will be open everyday of Halloween. For families with older children it will be worth a spine-chilling visit as guests journey through Warwick’s most gruesome and grizzly history, meeting a host of fearsome characters along their way.
The castle really does have something for everyone. It's one of those attractions where couples can have as much fun as young families.
After a tough 18 months for the tourism industry when very little has seemed normal and attractions have been bending over backwards to reopen and put on events safely, Warwick Castle has done a brilliant job laying on some Halloween fun over the October half-term holiday.
What you need to know
Warwick Castle, Warwick, Warwickshire, CV34 6AH
The Haunted Castle runs from October 23-31 2021, from 10am to 5pm daily and features over 20 spellbinding shows and attractions
Day tickets from £26 per person. Children under three receive free entry
Visitors can download the Warwick Castle app to see showtimes and a detailed map to make visits even easier
Teenage visitors and older looking for Halloween thrills can also visit the castle on selected nights between October 23-31 for ghoulishly good fun, spine-tingling tricks and terrifying new treats at The Castle After Dark
For more details visit www.warwick-castle.com or call 01926 406610.